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Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

We’re back with the next installment of the Changing Charlottesville series, where we explore some of the history and recent changes within the city and the people living its 19 neighborhoods.

(If you missed it last week, read our introduction to the project here.)

This week, we’re taking a look at Johnson Village, a neighborhood that became part of the city during a tumultuous time for Charlottesville.

With Cherry Hill and Beacon on 5th, more people live in Johnson Village than a decade ago

In 1963, the city annexed thousands of acres of land from Albemarle County, growing the city’s boundary to what it is today. Most of the land we now know as Johnson Village was part of that annexation, as well areas of The Meadows, Greenbrier, Fry’s Spring and Belmont.

The Johnson Village development, which now lends its name to a wider neighborhood, became part of Charlottesville during a tumultuous time in Charlottesville that wasn’t so long ago. In 1963, the city annexed thousands of acres of land from Albemarle County, including the Johnson Village development.
This city annexation map shows how Charlottesville grew in acreage over time.

While the city added neighborhoods like Johnson Village, it destroyed others. 

One year after Johnson Village was added to Charlottesville, the city tore down Vinegar Hill and moved some of the residents to Westhaven, the city’s first public housing community. Some Black families tried to move into Johnson Village, but for years, they were denied, said Ray Bell, then a member of the local chapter of the NAACP. 

Black families eventually moved to the neighborhood, said Bell. A decade ago, Black residents made up about 30% of Johnson Village’s population, according to Census data. But by 2020, they made up just 18%. In the same time period, Hispanic and Latino families have gone from making up zero to 15% of the neighborhood’s population. But it’s also getting whiter.

This shift in demographics by race and ethnicity is just one of the stories recent Census data tells us about Johnson Village. Read on for a few more.

And keep an eye out for even more. We’ll publish new neighborhood profiles each week, plus an interactive dashboard so that you can explore the data, too. Here’s what we’ve published so far:

Credit: Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC/Charlottesville Tomorrow

In Jefferson Park Avenue, UVA and the city of Charlottesville are finding ways to live together

Credit: Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC/Charlottesville Tomorrow

In less than a decade, more than 100 Black residents moved out of Starr Hill

On a different note, if you’re a seasoned reporter interested in covering issues in the Charlottesville area, our newsroom is hiring! We’re seeking a reporter to cover public institutions in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, serving local communities and getting their voices to the rest of the country. Not a reporter? Please help us spread the word.

Credit: Mike Kropf/Charlottesville Tomorrow

We’re hiring: Cover big stories in local news as a reporter with Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thanks for joining us!

Erin O’Hare, neighborhoods reporter

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Erin O'Hare

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's neighborhoods reporter. I’ve never met a stranger and love to listen, so, get in touch with me here. If you’re not already subscribed to our free newsletter, you can do that here, and we’ll let you know when there’s a fresh story for you to read. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of you.