Sunday, April 22, 2007

Annexation and Zoning

In 1957, five years in advance of the 12/31/62 annexation of 2514 acres of Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville hired Harland Bartholomew and Associates (HBA), an urban planning firm. HBA and the Charlottesville Planning Commission (CPC) were the architects of the City?s zoning ordinance, adopted February 17, 1958.

Harland Bartholomew (the founder of HBA) was the first ?full time planner? employed by a City in the United States, he served as the city planning commissioner of St.Louis.

January 6, 1958
Charlottesville City Council meeting, councilors A.C.Coleman, R.M.Davis, Thomas J. Michie, Louie L.Scribner and Sol. B. Weinberg were present,

Mr. David J Wood addressed the council, presenting ?the Workable Program for Urban Renewal? as prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates.

At the same meeting, Council amended City code, adopting a new chapter entitled:

?Regulations governing the subdivision of land within the corporate limits and within three miles of the City of Charlottesville?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Timberlake-Branham 1512 East Market


November 30, 1999- Lucile Branham Watson's ashes are scattered in the pasture behind the Timberlake-Branham house by her daughter, Jane Leitch. The boy behind Jane is Branham Talton, James L. Branhams great-great-grandson.

James and Bannie Branham had ten children, nine survived to adulthood.

Branham was a farmer, ultimately a farmer in the City. He died in 1970, seven years after his property was annexed into the City of Charlottesville.

The Branhams had a tradition of caring for one another and for others. James wife, Bannie, was a nurse as were their daughters Ruby and Mildred.

The Branhams son, Tom (Thomas Eugene Branham Pfc. USMCR) was killed in action on Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945. As a consequence of his sacrifice serving this country, the Branhams received funds from the government which helped facilitate the purchase of the site at 1512 East Market.

The Branhams were a close-knit family who loved their homeplace and used every bit of it, from Market Street to the C&O railroad track. Grand-daughter Dorothy Hesselton describes 1512:

1512 E. Market Street had 7 acres of land and was a little working farm. There were cows,chickens,pigs- a horse named Frank- My Grandfather plowed those fields with a plow and horse. My cousin Jane and I used to have to up pick potatoes and would hide in the corn rows to get out of work.

They produced much of their own food, they canned and preserved everything-DH. James Branham had a smokehouse, hog pen, barn, tool sheds, corn-crib, smoke-house, watering-trough and a chicken coop on site. They had two vegetable gardens, grew corn for the livestock in the field bordering the railroad tracks. The cows and Frank the plow-horse grazed in the front pasture toward the house.

Of the eight surviving children, four spent significant portions of their adult lives living under the same roof with their parents, sometimes being cared for, sometime being caretakers, always enjoying a family supper at the end of the day. The non-resident children visited with regularity, the grand-children had the run of the place and a chilled melon care of their grand-father every morning when in season. Says Hesselton- It was a life that so few are fortunate to have... we were spoiled rotten.

In addition to their devotion to each other, the Branhams were devoted to this property. It was the center of their family life.

In the 80s, Toms sisters Lucile and Mildred began to cast about for a means to recognize and preserve their homeplace. These girls, old ladies then, got the ball rolling with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. In 1981 the property was added to the Virginia Landmarks register, in 1984 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In advance of her death, Lucille asked that her ashes be scattered in the pasture behind the house.

Of James and Bannies ten children, one survives, Lilian. Lilian worked, long ago, for the Charlottesville Woolen Mills.

Many have contributed to the preservation and stewardship of this unique property, they include:

Woolen Mills neighbors Tom and Laura Parmenter
Jeff ODell, Chairman of the Charlottesville Historic Landmarks Commission, 1989
Satyendra Singh Huja
Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Charlottesville Planning Commission
Charlottesville City Council
The Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association 1988-2007
Woolen Mills Road

October 18, 1993 Charlottesville City Council extended "Individual Property Protection" to the seven acre farm, TMP-56.40.4

We thought that the entire seven acres would always be protected. 4/17/07- Dorothy Hesselton, daughter of Mary Ella Branham Frazier

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mabel Pritchett Marrs

left to right, Louise Baltimore Pritchett, Mae Pritchett, Mabell Pritchett. Louise met her husband Woodie (Mabel and Mae's brother) when they were working at the Woolen Mill

Mabel Pritchett Marrs, 88, of the Woolen Mills neighborhood, passed away Tuesday, April 10, 2007.

Born on August 16, 1918, in Proffit, she was the daughter of the late James F. and Lelia Kirby Pritchett. Her husband, George L. Marrs; six brothers, Allen, Woodie, Tony, Whitelaw, Carl and Robert Pritchett; and two sisters, Lula Moon and Alice Mae Via, also preceded her in death.

Mabel worked for Charlottesville Woolen Mills from 1941 until it closed. She retired from Sperry Marine after 20 years and was a member of the First Baptist Church on Park St.

She is survived by a daughter, Carolyn M. Morris and her husband, Donald, of Dyke; a son, Robert L. Marrs of Charlottesville; five grandchildren, Bill Sperry, Pam Toney, Robbie Marrs, Stacy Dibble, and Kate Marrs; five great grandchildren, Kristin and Michael Toney, Olivia and Ethan Sperry, and John Michael Dibble; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A graveside service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, April 13, 2007, at Riverview Cemetery with the Reverend Dave Johnson officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church, Park St. Building Fund, 735 Park St. Charlottesville, VA 22902.

Friends may send condolences to the family at

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

1915 Woolen Mills Road

City bus turns at the Woolen Mills office building, c. 1950. The sign on the bus reads Woolen Mill, Park Street.
The office building is now known as the Millhouse Condos following a residential retrofit in the 1980's.
In 1950 this location was 6/10ths of a mile deep into Albemarle County.
Inter-jurisdictional mass transit!


Sunday, April 8, 2007


Page from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Research remains to be done regarding the Woolen Mills School, located at the corner of Woolen Mills Road and Riverview Street. The Woolen Mill provided the building, the County of Albemarle supplied a teacher. The page above from a book serially owned by Woolen Mills School graduates George Marion, Thomas Baltimore and Bertha Haggard. It is dated on the front leaf "2/29/29 T.J.B".

Thomas Jefferson Baltimore was the son of John Wesley Baltimore (brick mason) and Mary Morris Starkes Baltimore. Thomas was born September 13, 1911.

Reportedly, Mamie and John named their son TJ because his birth was one of the first to take place at Martha Jefferson Hospital.

In 1909, Mamie was on the Mill payroll as a spinner earning seventy cents per day.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Place

Not all residents of "the Place" (the name applied by Woolen Mills residents to their neighborhood) worked at the Mill. This residential mill village was woven together as much by family connection as by common employment. C.M. Bibb bought his house at 1615 Woolen Mills Road from his father-in-law, George Baltimore. George was a carpenter at the Mill.
In 1920, George's daughters Bettie, Martha and Emma lived with their spouses in the Village as did his son's Harry and John. Son in law Bibb was a bridge superintendent for the railroad.

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 2, 2007

Baltimores, 1928

frontyard, Woolen Mills Road. Rear, left to right, Thomas, Louise, John, Mamie and Roy Baltimore. Roy was John and Mamie's nephew. His dad died ten years previous, in the flu epidemic of 1918. Roy was raised by his family in residence on Woolen Mills Road (four aunts, two uncles, two grandparents and his mother).
Woolen Mills Road is unpaved.

Labels: ,