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Hills & Heights

Must-See RVA! — Castlewood

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.

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AKA, Poindexter House, The Old Parsonage
10201 Iron Bridge Road
Built, between 1810 – 1820
VDHR 020-0014

Castlewood, at the eastern edge of Chesterfield Court House, is at once one of the county’s finest and most puzzling early nineteenth-century houses. The five-part building, erected in several stages of uncertain sequence, contains a highly varied group of rooms whose embellishment ranges from the north wing’s naive gouge-work trim to the elaborate, finely wrought, but equally provincial decoration of the south wing. Probably executed in the 1830s, the woodwork in the south wing is apparently the work of an unknown, but highly imaginative, itinerant craftsman. The house was built in at least two, and possibly three, stages during the second decade of the nineteenth century. It probably achieved its present form by 1820.

(VDHR) — 1976 nomination photo

The core of the dwelling house is a two-story structure with its entrance in the west one-bay-wide gable end. A modern porch, designed by Richmond architect Scott Rawlings, replaces an Eastlake-style porch which formerly sheltered the entrance. The porch is modeled on that at Keswick Powhatan County. Its general shape coincidentally resembles markings left by the original porch, discovered when the later one was removed.

June 2016

The plan of Castlewood is very simple. Each of the wings and hyphens contains a single room, while the central block has an entrance hall stretching across the front with a parlor behind it.

The north wing is the earlier of the trio and, with its hyphen, appears on the basis of its proportions and details to predate any of the other sections, offer in cause to believe that it may have been built as a part of another structure and moved to its present site after the construction of the rest of the house.

June 2016

The south wing and hyphen, though clearly built later than any of the other three sections, are set on a Flemish-bond underpinning and consequently may antedate the existence of the north wing as part of the present house.

June 2016

One early outbuilding survives in the form of a frame, pyramidal roofed structure with a coved cornice. It may once have been a dairy, although its alteration for use as a garage has made its original function impossible to determine. An early photograph shows that, for at least part of its existence, the building stood next to the east end of the main block, near the exterior entrance to the basement dining room. (VDHR)

June 2016

Castlewood changed hands many times and has served a residence, a parsonage for traveling ministers, and a bank. Today, it’s the headquarters of the Chesterfield Historical Society.

(Castlewood is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


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Must-See RVA! is a regular series
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Combining protean forces from the forbidden Zero Serum with the unbridled power of atomic fusion, to better probe the Wisdom of the Ancients and their Forgotten Culture.

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Forest Hill Park Invasive Plant Removal Work Day

Invasive plants harm the entire ecosystem.

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Spotted on Facebook. The workday is scheduled for Saturday from 10 AM – 12 PM.

Please join members of Friends of FHP for invasive plant removal. Invasive nonnative plants reduce populations of native, beneficial creatures. We will meet in the 3800 block of Forest Hill Avenue near the Forest Hill Historic District sign (east of Roanoke St. traffic light). Please bring gloves and hand pruners if you have them, and dress for the possibility of poison ivy (no open footwear). Thanks in advance for helping us restore some ecological balance in FHP!

You can see a list of invasive plants here. Hedera helix (common ivy or English Ivy) is one of the biggest and most obvious offenders in our area.

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Community

Drink Beer and Help Friends of James River Parks

Raging James Pilsner is the latest release from Legend Brewing and a portion of each sale will got to Friends of James River Park.

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Friends of James River Park announced their latest partnership today and it’s tasty.

Legend Brewing Company is the oldest operating craft brewery in Virginia. As their Vice President of Operations, Dave Gott, told us, “It’s important that you be a part of the community – not just IN the community.” Legend has hosted our board meetings and annual get-togethers. On any given weekend (and often any given day) their parking lot is full of cars carrying kayaks and bicycles, and their patio is crowded with people who have spent the day enjoying the James River Park System.

Given their proximity to the James River and our Park, we were elated when they floated the idea of creating a special beer for our organization. Raging James Pilsner is their newest release, and a portion of the sale of each can will help us continue our efforts. Legend has supported Richmond for almost 30 years, and as we approach 50 years of commitment to the Park, we’re honored to partner with them on this.

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Community

How to move a snapping turtle across the road and why.

You’re most likely to see a female Snapping Turtle on the road crossing to find a good dry spot to lay her eggs.

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Snapping Turtles are one of the scariest and coolest looking critters you can run across in the Richmond area. Unfortunately many times you’ll see them on the road and that is not a good spot for a Snapping Turtle or any turtle to be. It’s egg-laying season so female Snapping Turtles are on the move and crossing roads. Snappers travel long distances away from water to search for a nest site on dry land.

NEVER pick up a Snapping Turtle by its tail because doing so can cause spinal injury. Gloves are recommended when available. Always move turtles in the direction they were headed and do not relocate.

Snapping Turtle populations have declined significantly in recent years due to over-harvesting, poaching, and poor reproductive success.Snapping Turtles don’t reach maturity until 6 to 7 years of age and female turtles lay a single clutch of 26 to 55 eggs once a year. There is a high nest failure rate, with most of the eggs eaten by predators resulting in only 6 to 9 percent of hatchlings surviving.

If you can here is how to safely move a snapping turtle.

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