While The Meadows is one of Charlottesville’s newer neighborhoods, its population has declined in the last decade

A rearview mirror showing a row of houses and cars and a wide road. An overlay shows a purple logo with the words "Changing Charlottesville" and a gradient pattern in white.

The Meadows, one of Charlottesville’s northernmost neighborhoods, has changed drastically over the past century. It was mostly rural, as its name suggests, until the middle of the 20th century. Now, it’s a mix of residences and popular businesses — and a six-lane highway that runs through it.

Clay M. Peyton, whose family owned more than 600 acres of land in the area for many years, said in From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville Neighborhoods, 1914-1984 that there weren’t many homes in the area when he was growing up in the 1920s and ’30s, but as the University of Virginia grew, so did Charlottesville and so did the population of The Meadows. It started with the building of the US-250 bypass in the late 1940s, and with multiple widenings of Route 29.

Like many other formerly rural areas of the city, such as the Locust Grove neighborhood, The Meadows experienced a lot of growth through the 1970s. The Meadows Farm subdivision, built off of Angus Road, to the west of Route 29 North (where Best Buy is currently located), got going in the mid-1950s, with single-family homes and duplexes.

Images from Google Earth show The Meadows neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1994 and 2023.

Peyton remembered “so many trees” and hills that shielded most of the homes, including his family’s farm, from Route 29, but all of that was bulldozed not long after his family stopped farming its land in the late 1970s.

Now, a mix of renters and homeowners live in the neighborhood’s mid century ranch-style homes, duplexes and apartment buildings. In recent years, it’s been one of the more affordable neighborhoods in Charlottesville with median home sale prices just below the city’s median prices.

The Meadows is an area where the line between the city and Albemarle County gets a little blurry for anyone not looking at a map. The neighborhood straddles both the east and west sides of Route 29. The Super Amanecer Latin American market and restaurant, Bodo’s Bagels, and the English Inn are all located in Charlottesville city, as is Best Buy a bit further north. However, Trader Joe’s and the Shops at Stonefield are technically in Albemarle County, while the old Kmart and Whole Foods — directly east across 29 — and all the way up to the post office, are in Charlottesville and The Meadows. 

Residents of The Meadows are closer to a high concentration of shops, grocery stores, and other businesses, than most other city residents.

Relative to other neighborhoods in the city, The Meadows has seen fewer demographic changes over the past decade. But the number of residents in this neighborhood has declined by about 15%, from 1,731 in 2013 to 1,469 in 2021.

According to  census data, The Meadows has been one of the more ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city over the past decade.

An animation of a bar chart that shows race and ethnicity change from 2013 to 2021.

The median household income in this neighborhood has increased significantly in the past few years, from under $25,000 in 2013 to $46,250 in 2021.

A line chart shows median income under $25k in 2013 and near $45k in 2020.

One thing that appears to be unique to The Meadows compared to the rest of Charlottesville  is that a significant portion of its residents now work in the manufacturing sector. The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. is in the neighborhood and Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and military technology company, is just over the line in Albemarle County.

An animation of a bar chart that shows the changes in industries in which residents of The Meadows worked from 2013 to 2021.

Explore more data about The Meadows for yourself.