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Vinegar Hill Park: A Temporary Exhibit Presented by the City’s Historic Resources Committee

Post Date:10/09/2019 5:15 PM
City Seal
Media Contact
Madeleine Hawks
Historic Resources Committee
540-535-9632
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2019

Vinegar Hill Park: A Temporary Exhibit Presented by the City’s Historic Resources Committee

Posters will be installed tonight at 7:30 p.m. near the Omni on the Downtown Mall

20191009-VinegarHillPark-posterCHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - At 7:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, October 9, 2019, near the Omni on the Downtown Mall, members of the City’s Historic Resources Committee (HRC) will install a series of posters to highlight the story of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.

On December 5, 2016, Council designated a portion of the west end of the Downtown Mall as Vinegar Hill Park and charged the HRC with developing interpretative and wayfinding signage for the park.

In 2018, with the planning and subsequent construction of the CODE Building, the HRC decided to delay the installation of any permanent signage until the building is completed and the disturbed sections of the mall are repaired. In the interim, the HRC approached the developer of the CODE Building about locating informational posters on the construction barricade, an idea that was positively received.

These posters, intended as a temporary exhibit, attempt to tell the story of Vinegar Hill. The name Vinegar Hill likely originated with immigrants who occupied this area in the early to mid-1800s. By the late 1800s, Vinegar Hill emerged as vibrant, multicultural community and into the 20th century established itself as a commercial, social, residential, political, educational, and spiritual center for Charlottesville’s African American residents. The neighborhood’s vitality, constantly challenged by segregation and the era of Jim Crow, was ultimately destroyed by Urban Renewal in the 1960s. Vinegar Hill’s residences and commercial buildings were razed, dispersing many of the residents to public housing projects and closing the doors of many of the black-owned businesses.

This temporary exhibit highlights the story of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood - a place rich in history and community and central to the story of Charlottesville. We look forward to honoring the story of this place in a more permanent way with the creation of Vinegar Hill Park.

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