Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District

Richmond, VA
United States
Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District

Landscape Information

Located approximately two miles southeast of downtown Richmond, this 434-acre district encompasses the Chimborazo, Oakwood, and Glenwood Park residential neighborhoods, bounded by Oakwood and Evergreen Cemeteries to the north and Chimborazo Park to the south. The City of Richmond founded Oakwood Cemetery in 1855, and by 1862 the Confederate government had set aside a 7.5-acre plot within Oakwood, ultimately burying over 17,000 soldiers there. The Confederates also established a 40-acre hospital complex on Chimborazo Hill in 1861. Today Chimborazo Park occupies the former hospital site and Oakwood Cemetery, located in the northern portion of the district, has since expanded to 176 acres. Evergreen Cemetery, to the east of the Oakwood Cemetery, was established in 1891 as an African American counterpart to Hollywood Cemetery, a major rural cemetery located west of the city where Confederate soldiers and prominent Whites were buried. 

The Chimborazo street grid extends south from downtown Richmond until it abruptly shifts 45 degrees to the northeast in Oakwood, with P Street as its axis. Glenwood Park, on the southern edge of Chimborazo, retains a more park-like setting, disrupting the street grid with curvilinear avenues that meander south toward Gillie Creek. Two trolley lines served the Chimborazo and Oakwood neighborhoods beginning in 1896, prompting residential development that continued through the 1940s. Brick- and wood-frame dwellings built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century occupy small lots with shallow setbacks and comprise a variety of architectural styles, including Italianate, Late Victorian, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival. Mature canopy trees placed at regular intervals line the grassy medians between concrete sidewalks and streets. In the context of the Jim Crow South, the neighborhood shifted from predominately White in the 1940s to African American by the 1960s as Whites moved to the suburbs. The Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.