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East End News

July newsletter from the Church Hill Association

The July newsletter from the Church Hill Association is out on doorsteps and the usual spots around the neighborhood.

Includes: a call for submissions, a back & forth re the CHA and development, crime prevention tips, real estate market news by Jeanne Bridgforth, photos from the June 17 picnic, minutes from the last meeting, and a history of baseball in the area by Eric Huffstutler:

Many local Amateur and Semipro games were played here with team names like the Church Hill Brownies (one of the first), Church Hill Giants, Church Hill Cremos, Church Hill Invincibles, Church Hill Stars (early black team), Church Hill Sluggers, Church Hill Blue Sox, and the Intercity semipro Church Hill Hilltoppers team. Some local leagues were the Church Hill Athletic Club 1900-1909, Church Hill League 1909-1911, and the East End League 1911-1952. The Intercity Semipro Baseball League lasted from 1932-1952.

The next CHA Membership Meeting will be Tuesday, July 15, 7:00 pm at St. John’s Church Parish Hall.

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35 comments

jean mcdaniel 07/10/2014 at 3:05 PM

I would like to compliment Beth Sarrett for her well thought out letter to the editor. Unfortunately, the current President of the CHA was offensive and dismissive in his response to her. Why did HE get to respond to a letter to the editor??? He far exceeded the one page limit that the rest of us have to abide by and consistant with his past imperial statements he informed Ms. Sarrett that,

“You couldn’t be more wrong”

“The views you espouse are those usually promulgated by those with unusual ideologies, those who are immature and want to act out”

Mr. Cooper goes on to state that her opinion is ,”naive and disingenous” He does not believe that the CHA is ” confrontationa “!!!

I suppose this seems logical when the person “checking in ” members at regular CHA meetings is the very person that used the CHA logo in an untruthfull attack ad recently.

Mr. Cooper goes on to pat himself on his back for his lifetime achievements.

I think you and others in the CHA should stop using your position to espouse YOUR views. Ms. Sarrett had and has every right to express her opinions without being belittled by you.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/10/2014 at 4:32 PM

Thanks John for the baseball highlight blurb. The story as with most of mine submitted, could stretch on for even a couple of more pages but the CHA has been gracious enough to allow me to have 3 valuable pages every month. This restricts content and you often see a “Reader’s Digest” version of my article. That said, here is a cut scene from this month’s article which may help answer some questions about the demise of C.C.A. Field.

This was inspired by John Murden’s own article about the Fairmount District. He is also a great investigator and writer who is passionate about Church Hill.

On January 16, 1891, the Fairmount Land Company was incorporated (inactive charter revoked in 1912) and the building of homes began. Fairmount was one of many planned communities surrounding Richmond following the Civil War and Reconstruction. From 1902 until 1906, Fairmount was an independent city, before its leadership petitioned to become part of Richmond. A 1902 newspaper article headlined of how the town had only one Negro family and that the company had placed a contract stipulation that no property could be sold to them for at least the next 15-years. City mayor Thomas Walker Jeter Sr. (1868-1946) said that this one family who settled prior to the company’s formation “won’t get out”. The act of steering was a common practice during the era of segregation and Fairmount was an all-white community up until 1958. This is when the Fairmount Elementary School (now part of Fairmount House) had went to being an all-black school from being an all-white one previously named the Helen Dickinson School since 1925. White students were bused out until families moved away and white churches also uprooted. This is when a well-known sandlot field was also abandoned starting in 1955.

Neighbor 07/10/2014 at 5:18 PM

I thought the CHA President’s response to Ms. Sarrett’s letter to the editor was arrogant in tone and insulting in content. After reviewing the President’s patronizing effort to educate Ms. Sarrett (since she was so “misinformed”), I still agree with much of her letter. So count me among those with “unusual ideologies” (or maybe I’m just “immature and want to act out”).

jean mcdaniel 07/11/2014 at 6:02 AM

The CHA is not showing itself to be a very good “neighborhood” organization of late. The focus is misplaced, mostly CYA activity.

The neighborhood Crime Watch has recently been soliciting funds, something which I don’t recall happening before. So I asked Shelby why. It is because of funding cuts (in part) by the CHA.

What is more important than supporting the neighborhood Crime Watch?

Bill 3 07/11/2014 at 7:33 AM

Geoffrey Cooper really needs to check the arrogance at the door. The CHA is a bunch of dinosaurs, they do not represent the “true” Church Hill. I for one sit patiently waiting for their extinction, perhaps by meteor strike or diabeetus!

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 8:14 AM

Jean… I thought the Crime Watch was a totally volunteer setup ran or sponsored by good Samaritans? What are the costs involved?

I am North of Broad and still haven’t received my hard copy of the newsletter. What is going on with that? Will read the news commentary when I get my copy.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 9:59 AM

Hey Bill 3… what is your take in making a statement that the CHA is a bunch of dinosaurs and hope the group dies out? What would you have in its place to get the word out about and rally community involvement and updates about construction or crime issues?

Keep in mind that Church Hill was founded by those dinosaurs and it is these people who still care about what happens in our Historic community that needs to be preserved and protected by listening to the elders. Are you hoping for community genocide or something?

Also, not everyone reads these blogs nor know they even exist. Some older people who were born here or have lived in CH most of their lives (there is a elderly woman across the street from me who has lived in her house around 60-years) do not use the internet so rely on print.

Bill 3 07/11/2014 at 12:30 PM

Eric my dinosaur metaphor has nothing to do with a person’s actual age, it’s about their antiquated views, ideologies & they way they handle themselves. They have a history of self-sabotage upon their own image. In my opinion they use the guise of the “Church Hill Association” to push the agenda’s of a select few (i.e., petanque, Buzzy’s, Pear Street/Stadium, etc.).

I have a massive amount of respect for the founders of this area & those who came before me. I am in no way knocking the elderly, which is how you seemed to read it. Church Hill was here long before Geoffrey Cooper & the rest of the current CHA, which was the subject of my comment.

I’d like to see a civic association which is more community-minded & better represents the overall neighborhood while leaving the elitist attitude & condescending letters at the door.

Karen 07/11/2014 at 1:35 PM

Eric, your hard copy was delivered today. The regular deliverer is not available and I did not deliver yesterday due to rainstorms and not knowing what each porch was like. Enjoy!

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 2:07 PM

Thanks Karen. I understand the regular person could not do it and hope a new volunteer will step up for next month. I asked Kelley if she needed me to help on our street but she doesn’t handle distribution and looks like you took care of it, thanks.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 2:48 PM

Bill3

The dinosaur analogy I got but probably blurred the lines of my thoughts a bit as I was stating that dinosaur thinking is a result of dinosaurs who have lived and preserved our neighborhood.

I was finally able to read the two letters and I see in Jeff’s responds pros and cons, but mainly pros. I do want the stadium and I am not totally opposed to the Pear Street project either since it is being built in a non protected area. Those who built the tobacco plants along Dock Street I am sure got a lot of flack as well from nearby residents for multiple reason from river traffic, noise, smells, etc… But they eventually learned to live together and now those factories are apartments and condos.

Anyone who has seen my posts over the years also know that I am a staunch believer in preservation. There are reasons why we have rules and restrictions in historic neighborhoods. If you continue to add and replace things on a 19th century structure it will eventually change in character to a point it will no longer be recognizable and lost forever. Our CAR and Zoning and Planning Commissions has been very lax in their stance concerning older structures over the years. take for example the 401 N 27th Street (Wills Grocery Store) building – the oldest commercial building in the city built in 1815. It was condemned in 2004, slated for demolition in 2008 which I stopped only for the owner(s) to start playing games and the city allowed it to a point it still remains a completely hollow shell on the first floor 10-years later! They are asking a ridiculously high price to sell it but at one time the city was ready to seize the property and sell it for fair market value but wimped out. Who knows how long it will continue to remain the way it is, complete with a very old condemned building notice on the door because of lead paint on it which was never addressed or followed up on. But I digress. The bottom line is that this IS a historical neighborhood. To protect it you have to have restrictions. Anyone who moves into such neighborhoods should also know what they are getting into and if they don’t ’want the responsibility then move somewhere else. It isn’t being “elitist” nor “old fashioned”. It is simply a matter of fact. Historic is Historic and outside those boundaries you can do what you want. I am for developing empty blighted areas because they are void of historic structures. But we must tray and hold on to what we have within the boundaries or why even try.

I have to also disagree with Jeff about our “pristine” – (not sure where he gets that), 19th century neighborhood is a valued resource – (the city has yet to embrace these to support them) that draws in tourists? Years ago I use to see buses go down our street. Our house was part of the historic attractions and even horse drawn carts rode by on N 27th Street but it has been many years for either. What happened? Where are all of these tourists coming to see our neighborhoods? Not even walking tours come by any longer. Whatever happened to groups like Neighborhoods In Bloom that were to draw in potential buyers via tours? Or even Garden Tours of years past? All I see is traffic for Dutch & Co or the UPS driver and that is it. If the city was so concerned about tourists and wanted to make a buck then they need to invest some to make some but their views are set on progress rather than preservation within the historic areas. Counter productive.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 3:06 PM

The only other thing I find a bit objectionable that jumps out is his repeated mention of “members” as though the CHA is only for “members” and not concerned for the well being of “all” Church Hill citizens and its structures. To me who experienced a cliquish club-like attitude from CHA when I first moved to the Hill in 1999, strikes a cord and hope his wording is just misplaced?

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 4:21 PM

Let me leave this thread with one last thought about large projects.

If everyone was to scream NIMBY then that would be all you will have… a back yard. No neighbors, no businesses only trees and country meaning no progress.

jean mcdaniel 07/11/2014 at 4:32 PM

Bill 3
THANK YOU

Well said! Please contact me at garnettjean@verizon.net

jean mcdaniel 07/11/2014 at 4:38 PM

Etic
The church Hill Crime Watch is and always has been run by volunteers and SPONSORED by good samaritains. There are costs in any effort, paper, computer, copying. You should ask Shelby if you want to know specifics.

I know you are not saying that she should foot the bill for the neighborhood although she did for a while, and so did I.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/11/2014 at 7:04 PM

No, not saying anyone should pick up the tab but only curious of what expenses are occured since I figured this was all digitally done (phone or email) and not aware of all involved.

crd 07/11/2014 at 8:16 PM

@11 Bill3, the tour buses regularly stop at Libby Hill Park, at the statue, as well as at St. John’s Church. When I say regularly, I mean several times a week. And it’s not unusual to find tourists at the Libby Hill statue looking at the view in individual cars, too.

KatManDo 07/11/2014 at 9:30 PM

#11 Eric, there are a lot of tourists coming to see our neighborhoods in the trolleys and tour buses especially on N 29th Street multiple times a day. School trips abound and walking tours come by quite frequently as well. And, don’t forget the Segue tours.

And how about the large number of people who come for fireworks and other events that can be watched from Libby Hill Park?

I don’t want to be challenging, just want to add a different view.

KatManDo 07/11/2014 at 10:26 PM

Bill 3: “The CHA is a bunch of dinosaurs, they do not represent the “true” Church Hill. I for one sit patiently waiting for their extinction, perhaps by meteor strike or diabeetus!”

Stop sitting on your fat, oops, butt and do something constructive rather than just waiting for people to die.

I for one, find your point of view to be useless at best and arrogant at worst.

Wasn’t Beth part of the masthead a short while back?

jean mcdaniel 07/12/2014 at 8:12 AM

Eric
We are supposed to be able to see and read the Newsletters, CHA meeting, Board meeting, and Zoning meeting minutes. This is not the case. No agenda is being circulated either.

At the last posted Board meeting minutes (May) , the Board “reviewed March and April Board and CHA minutes, edited and corrected them and THEN voted to publish them” What do they not want us to know?

At the same Board meeting, the Board voted to pay four VCU students for illustrations. It doesn’t say how much. Is this in addition to the $5000.00?
Was a fee determined before they did the illustrations? How much?

Was CHA money spent “intertaining” artist that are all from out of town and are here for one day? How much?

Meanwhile the Church Hill Crime Watch is reduced to asking the community for money!!

Mr. Cooper states that, ” the City asked the CHA to weigh in on issues that are not in our immediate area, they come to us”. What documentation exists to prove this? NOWHERE in any printed record of the CHA has this been recorded!!! Are there more secret meetings being held and not recorded? What has the City sought out the CHA opinion on?

EDS 07/12/2014 at 9:42 AM

Erik, I understand there are fees involved to have the programming to do the auto calls and maintaining the system.

My question : this system is how old when will it need up grading or replaced?

EDS 07/12/2014 at 9:44 AM

Kat
Beth used to be part of the CHA board and ran a very good Christmas Festival the year she was involved.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2014 at 9:47 AM

Re tour buses and other tourist events… You are seeing them South of Broad correct? North of Broad is a larger area of Church Hill and even has some of the older structures but do you see the tourists coming through it as you did 10-15 years ago? I don’t – at least not the 300- 400 block of N 27th which I use to see all of the examples mentioned then but not now.

john_m 07/12/2014 at 9:50 AM

Anecdotally: I’ve been working Saturday evenings at WPA bakery for the past year or so, and I’ve definitely met a ton of regional tourists – folks in from Chesterfield or DC coming around for the history, architecture, and food.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2014 at 9:55 AM

John, yes… food will bring them in but when I think of “tourist” I am thinking of people coming to purposely see the “city” and its architecture. That is what I am talking about in which we use to see 10-15 years ago but no longer do in our area. Things like the bus and horse cart tours, walking tours, etc…

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2014 at 9:56 AM

At least on this side of Broad.

jean mcdaniel 07/12/2014 at 10:14 AM

There is no question that we live in a unique, historical, architectural gem of a neighborhood! THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was born here at St. John’s Church.

The point is, IT IS NOT OWNED BY THE CHA.

Many dedicated, intelligent, giving, creative residents have provided good, HONEST leadership as members of the CHA. Most of those people are no longer involved with an organization that is so lacking in honesty, integrity, or openess.

I am in the process of working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to determine how all the Petanque courts got put in against the wishes of the community. A list of “friends of Chimbrazo Park” has people listed at addresses around the park that they NEVER lived at!! Three money donations were made to FOCP with no explanation as to what it was to be used for or
the intended purpose. Numerous members of FOCP do not and never have lived anywhere near Church Hill!

The CHA does not own my house, my opinions or MY neighborhood!

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2014 at 10:29 AM

I am going to check on some history and background on this so I can be more informed about when and why I am no longer seeing these NOB.

Eric S. Huffstutler 07/12/2014 at 11:41 AM

Jean, have you contacted David Cooley or Trish Bernal directly about your budget questions? I know Trish is one of the older members since she was there when I had my issues with CHA in 1999.
Not everyone is unapproachable but do know that I have asked Cooper and Wilds a question (twice) and go no response. Rather you agree or not about a person’s position on a subject should be irrelevant when representing a community group that is supposed to be servicing ALL of its residents and not just members.

In 1956 the Historic Richmond Foundation was essentially formed to preserve the area around St. John’s church and there has been decades of contention between residents South of Broad and North of Broad. Those South thumbing their noses at the North side and still does. And in general one reason why there is extremely little to no historical reference artifacts for the area from Marshall Street and onwards.

But Church Hill North is another 107 acres of history often overlooked due to demographic stigmas. This needs to change but the bigger picture is the city needs to start taking an interest in these areas and invest in preservation of districts to bring in tourists.

jean mcdaniel 07/12/2014 at 1:02 PM

Eric
I have requested information from the appropriate person within the current CHA, and have not received the courtsey of a response.

It has been stated by the CHA that, “all official positions adopted by the CHA are recorded in the newsletter”. However when I requested access to back issues of the CHA Newsletter, I was told that there was no “archive”.

So once the “official” record is “edited, changed and otherwise corrected”, there is no way to go back and verify information.

I think a case for injunctive relief is in order!

KatManDo 07/12/2014 at 1:42 PM

#27 “I am in the process of working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to determine how all the Petanque courts got put in against the wishes of the community.”

Really?

I’m sure you’ll find that the wishes of the community are reflected in the reconfiguration of the Playground. You could have had input if you had been there. So, my best advice to you is find something else to do.

jean mcdaniel 07/12/2014 at 3:01 PM

Kat
You are correct in that I was not there. However plenty of other people were there and OBJECTED to such a land grab.

The wishes of the community ARE NOT REFLECTED in the playground.

I will give your “best advice” the same consideration that the children got when the playground was “reconfigured”!

jean mcdaniel 07/12/2014 at 3:12 PM

AND
from my initial research so far it seems that there were meetings held on this subject that the general populace was not made aware of. Additionally there was sime highly questionable persons involved under the guise of “Friends of Chimbarozo Park”.

I will continue my research. Certainly based on what has been uncovered so far, there is more to the story.

chpn 07/12/2014 at 3:15 PM

I’m tired of the sniping over the petanque courts and/or CHA, it’s the same people saying the same things over and over again. Enough.

Comments are closed.