Southside (Richmond, Virginia)

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Richmond is often subdivided into North Side, Southside, East End and West End
The Chippenham Parkway (State Route 150) and Virginia State Route 288 are the main beltways through Southside Richmond, while the Powhite Parkway and I-95 are the primary limited-access highway routes into Downtown Richmond from Southside.

The Southside of Richmond is an area of the Metropolitan Statistical Area surrounding Richmond, Virginia. It generally includes all portions of the City of Richmond which lie south of the James River, and includes all of the former city of Manchester. In some contexts, the term "Southside of Richmond" may also include some northern areas of adjacent Chesterfield County, Virginia in the Richmond-Petersburg region. With a minor exceptions near Bon Air, VA, the Chippenham Parkway forms the border between Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond portions of Southside, with some news agencies using the term "South Richmond" to refer to the locations in Southside located in the city proper.

Since there is no one municipal organization that represents this specific region, the boundaries are loosely defined as being south of the James River and west of Interstate 95 (formerly Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike) with a southern border extending approximately to Chester, Virginia and extending west along Virginia State Route 288 beltway. Some portions of the Southside of Richmond closest to the downtown area north of the river are also considered part of Downtown Richmond.


Before 1910, Chesterfield County was the municipal authority for all of what is today considered Southside. Before the Westham Bridge was built (near present day Huguenot Memorial Bridge in Bon Air) in 1911, Southsiders crossing the James River had to use a boat or travel to Manchester to cross a bridge.

1700s: Warwick and River Commerce[edit]

A primary feature defining the Southside of Richmond is the James River and the limited means to cross it to get to other parts of metro Richmond. The oldest bridge across the James River in Richmond was Mayo Bridge (1788). Before that, commerce was limited to individual enterprises passing their goods in boats, bateau, and ferries over the James River as well as to fixed port areas with tobacco inspection warehouses established north of the river at Shockoe's and south of the river at Warwick. Owing to port traffic, Warwick Road thus became a major thoroughfare through Southside for the next two centuries, especially as it enabled passage around the falls at the James. After the port of Warwick was destroyed in the Revolutionary War, Warwick Road continued in use, and the port of Manchester ascended in importance.

The Rise of Manchester and the Coal Mines[edit]

In 1895, Granite was located on the Southern Railway (formerly the Richmond and Danville Railroad) about 5 miles west of Manchester and 3 miles east of Bon Air in Chesterfield County, Virginia

In 1804, Virginia built the precursor to the Midlothian Turnpike from the port of Manchester to Falling Creek to access the coal mines at Midlothian. This enabled industrial sites such as the Black Heath coal mines and Bellona Arsenal to ship goods down the James river without having to go through Warwick. The city of Manchester rose to prominence through its Chesterfield Railroad and its 1853 successor the Richmond and Danville Railroad. Suburban rail stations in Granite, Virginia, Bon Air (established 1877), Robious and Midlothian became industrial and residential centers that moved people and goods through Manchester. Manchester also benefited from being a station along the North-South Richmond and Petersburg Railroad. Manchester briefly served as the seat of Chesterfield County after the Civil War, from 1870 to 1876.

Development and Annexation in the Automobile Era[edit]

The slow decline of the Jeff Davis corridor began with the 1958 construction of the I-95 Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, paralleling it approximately 1 mile to the east.

1910 Annexation of Manchester[edit]

Before 1910, Chesterfield County was the municipal authority for all of what is today considered Southside. This changed in 1910, when Manchester agreed to be annexed by the City of Richmond. During annexation negotiation, Manchester demanded the condition that a free bridge be built to allow Manchesterians access to Richmond. This became known as the Manchester Bridge. Soon, as the automobile era began, other bridges were built to include Westham Bridge (1911), the Nickel Bridge (1925—a toll bridge) and the Lee Bridge (1933—also a toll bridge).

Automobile-based Development and 1942 Annexation of Jeff Davis Corridor[edit]

In 1927, after a decade of road improvements, the Jefferson Davis Highway officially opened as a major automobile thoroughfare[1][2][3]

These auto corridors attracted development. The DuPont Spruance plant opened in 1929 along the Jefferson Davis Highway and manufactured rayon, Cordura , and cellophane on the former site of the Ampthill Plantation.[4]

Inter-state traffic along Jefferson Davis Highway and its James River toll bridge led to Belt Boulevard by 1933 that bypassed downtown and directed some traffic to the Nickel Bridge. This easier automobile access spurred development in Southside.

During annexations in 1914 and 1942,[5] Richmond appropriated more and more land from Chesterfield County to include Westover Hills and Forest Hill to the west, and The Port of Richmond (Built 1940[6]) to the south.

Postwar growth: Bellwood, Southside Plaza, I-95 and Chippenham Pkwy[edit]

After WWII, Southside experienced a decade of massive growth. A large military supply center had been built for WWII in 1942 on the Bellwood property. The Bellwood Drive-In opened outside the city limits along the Jeff Davis corridor in 1948 and billed itself as the "largest and finest" drive-in theater in the South.[7]

The Southside Plaza opened up in 1957-58 outside the city limits on Belt Boulevard in what was then Chesterfield County.[8]

In 1958, after three years of construction, the limited access Richmond–Petersburg Turnpike tollway opened between Richmond and Petersburg.[9] The Chippenham Parkway was built in 1967 and connected much of Southside from the Midlothian Turnpike to the Defense Supply Center, Richmond.

Prior to the construction of I-95, the Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway corridor was the county’s main thoroughfare.[10] I-95 and Chippenham Pkwy siphoned traffic off the both the Jeff Davis Corridor and the Belt Boulevard.

1970 Annexation of Midlo Tpke out to Chippenham Pkwy[edit]

During another annexation in 1970, Richmond took an additional 23 square miles from Chesterfield County all the way out to the Chippenham Parkway. The racial motivations behind this expansion[11] led to a Supreme Court case City of Richmond v. United States and a moratorium on further annexations. As a part of the negotiations over the precise annexation, much of Bon Air to the west and the Ampthill property to the south (owned by DuPont) remained in Chesterfield County.[12]

Powhite Parkway and Powhite Parkway Extension to outer beltway (288)[edit]

As suburban development progressed westward out along US-60, the Southside Plaza (A) became overshadowed by Cloverleaf Mall (B) in 1972 and further eclipsed by the Chesterfield Mall (C) in 1978. The Stony Point Fashion Park (D) was built in 2004.

The Powhite Parkway opened in 1973, connecting downtown to the Chippenham Parkway.[13] With newfound highway access, the Southside suburban population continued to explode. New shopping malls were built outside the city limits (Cloverleaf Mall in 1972 and Chesterfield Mall in 1978) as well as Brandermill residential development in 1977 along the Swift Creek Reservoir. Plans were drawn up to create a Powhite Parkway Extension that would extend the road from Chippenham out to Virginia State Route 288, which was completed in 1988. In 1973, Philip Morris USA opened a cigarette manufacturing plant along I-95 at Commerce Road.[14] The McGuire VA Hospital opened in 1983.[15]

1988-2004: New bridges connect West End and Southside[edit]

Before 1988, the main way to get from the Southside to the West End was via the Huguenot Bridge or by crossing the James River inside the Richmond city limits. This led to a minor rivalry in the 1980s where the West End had a bumper sticker that said "West End -- For Members Only" and the Southside had a bumper sticker that said "South of the James -- By Invitation Only."[16] This separation began to change as road infrastructure improved. In 1988, Southside was connected to Parham Road in the west end via a Chippenham extension and the new Edward E. Willey Bridge. In 1992, the state removed toll-booths on the I-95 Richmond–Petersburg Turnpike.[17] In 2004, 288 was extended northwards through Powhatan and Goochland Counties, to cross the river at the World War II Veterans Memorial Bridge (Virginia) and complete the beltway around Richmond.

Unincorporated towns and neighborhoods[edit]

  • Adams Park
  • Beaufont
  • Bellemeade
  • Belmont Woods
  • Belt Center
  • Blackwell
  • Bon Air
  • British Camp Farms
  • Broad Rock
  • Brookbury
  • Brookhaven Farms
  • Cedarhurst
  • Cherry Gardens
  • Chippenham Forest
  • Cofer
  • Cottrell Farms
  • Cullenwood
  • Davee Gardens
  • Deerbourne
  • Elkhardt
  • Fawnbrook
  • Forest Hill / Gravel Hill
  • Forest Hill Park
  • Forest Hill Terrace
  • Forest View
  • Granite
  • Hickory Hill
  • Hillside Court
  • Hioaks
  • Huguenot
  • Jahnke
  • Jeff Davis
  • Old Town Manchester
  • Maury
  • McGuire
  • McGuire Manor
  • Meadowbrook
  • Midlothian
  • Murchies Mill
  • Northrop
  • Oak Grove
  • Oxford
  • Piney Knolls
  • Pocoshock
  • Powhite Park
  • Reedy Creek
  • Reservoir Heights
  • South Garden
  • Southampton
  • Southwood
  • Springhill
  • Stony Point
  • Stratford Hills
  • Swansboro
  • Swansboro West
  • Swanson
  • Walmsley
  • Warwick
  • Westlake Hills
  • Westover
  • Westover Hills
  • Westover Hills West
  • Willow Oaks
  • Windsor
  • Woodhaven
  • Woodland Heights
  • Worthington

Industrial and commercial sites[edit]

Commercial districts[edit]

Parks and recreation[edit]


Major streets and roads[edit]

Bridges over James River[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Full text of "Southern good roads"".
  3. ^ "The Goodrich".
  4. ^ "1929 Spruance Plant". DuPont Website. Retrieved 18 December 2018. DuPont purchased land near Richmond, Va., for a new rayon factory in 1927. The plant, named in honor of rayon pioneer William Spruance, opened two years later with 600 employees. In 1930 a cellophane plant opened at the site since both rayon and cellophane use similar production processes
  5. ^ Retrieved 13 December 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ City of Richmond. "The History of The Port of Richmond" (PDF). City of Richmond website. Retrieved 13 December 2018. he Port was completed in 1940
  7. ^ Moon, Heather (2013-12-17). "Bellwood Drive-In 1948". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 11 January 2019. This May 1948 image was taken shortly before the Bellwood Drive-In Theatre opened off Route 1 about 4 miles south of Richmond. Billed as the South’s “largest and finest” drive-in,
  8. ^ RTD Staff. "From the Archives: Southside Plaza". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  9. ^ Holmberg, Mark (6/29/2017). "25 years ago: The last toll paid on Interstate 95 in Virginia". Richmond Times dispatch. Retrieved 18 December 2018. Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike opened on June 30, 1958 Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ McConnell, Jim (2019-01-11). "County leaders seek to reinvigorate Jeff Davis by incentivizing new development". Chesterfield Observer. Retrieved 11 January 2019. Prior to the construction of Interstate 95 in the 1950s, the Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway corridor was the county’s main thoroughfare, the most traveled freeway north to Washington, D.C., and south to Miami, a kaleidoscope of motels, shopping centers, drive-in theaters and restaurants.
  11. ^ Moeser, John V.; Dennis, Rutledge M. (11/17/2018). "Moeser and Dennis column: The last annexation of Richmond". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 13 December 2018. But it is not the state’s withdrawal of annexation authority from its capital city and a few other cities that captured national attention. Rather, it’s how annexation was used by a small, but powerful group of white “Virginia gentlemen” who met secretly for several years, plotting how to maintain white control of Virginia’s capital as it was becoming increasingly black. The subterfuge was later brought to light in federal court hearings and, eventually, it got the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court itself. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ M, John. "Map showing the annexation history of Richmond". Church Hill People's News. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  13. ^ Kollatz Jr., Harry (May 27, 2009). "Po-white or Pow-hite?". Target Communications, Inc. Richmond Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2018. The first $50 million, 3.4-mile phase of the highway, wending from Cary Street to the Chippenham Parkway, opened on the bright, cold noon of Jan. 24, 1973, the culmination of plans first considered back in the late 1940s.
  14. ^ BLACKWELL, JOHN REID (8/30/2013). "Cigarette making still going strong in South Richmond". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 18 December 2018. When Philip Morris USA opened its cigarette manufacturing plant in South Richmond in 1973, the factory could produce about 200 million cigarettes per day. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ O’CONNOR, KATIE (12/17/2017). "'More than a face-lift:' Near-constant construction at McGuire VA Medical Center meant to improve care". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 18 December 2018. McGuire opened in 1983, so it was largely designed in the 1970s and early 1980s. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ Cook, Steve (3-8-2018). "Richmond's Bumper Sticker Wars". Boomer Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2018. first came a bumper sticker that read, "The West End – For Members Only." It didn't take long before those on Richmond's Southside had their own sticker: South of the James – By Invitation Only Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ Holmberg, Mark (6/29/2017). "25 years ago: The last toll paid on Interstate 95 in Virginia". Richmond Times dispatch. Retrieved 18 December 2018. The new expiration of the tolls was set for June 30, 1992. Check date values in: |date= (help)