The “Home” section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Doug Childers, have been writing articles spotlighting various Richmond, Virginia neighborhood locations, and they will be featuring “Roslyn Hills” in February 2013. Doug was kind to ask if I would provide some insight into this area of Henrico County.
I love history and many of the neighborhoods in and around Richmond offer interesting insights into past generations. I offered the following information in response to his questions.
1) Could you provide a brief description of Roslyn Hills?
Roslyn Hills is located east of Parham along the River Road corridor. It is one of a number of finger-neighborhoods along this stretch of road. It is flanked to the west by “Countryside” and to the east by “Glenbrooke Hills”. A series of small creeks and ponds traverse the middle of the neighborhood and offer a delightful amenity for residents.
2) What are the neighborhood’s boundaries?
One may enter the neighborhood off River Rd from Charnwood to the west, Roslyn Hills Drive up the center, and Twin Lake to the east; the neighborhood dead ends into September Drive to the north. Side streets intermingle with the adjacent neighborhoods, but primary access is from River Road.
3) Where does the name come from?
I’m Not exactly sure from where the name “Roslyn Hills” comes. I can tell you the Episcopalian Diocesan Retreat Center is located directly across River Road from this neighborhood, and is called “Roslyn”. It seems logical to me that the neighborhood may have derived its name from this retreat. Research indicates the Retreat may have been established around 1935; from what I can see from the tax records, the actual neighborhood didn’t begin to be developed until 1953.
The Roslyn retreat’s web site provides a good history of the land donated to the church: “Roslyn, A Retreat Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia since 1934, is located on 150 scenic acres in Henrico County, Virginia, two miles west of the City of Richmond on the James River.” See more history at http://www.roslyncenter.org/history.shtml
4) When did construction begin there?
Construction in Roslyn Hills “proper” began in approximately 1952-53. Two homes were completed by 1953, and another 14 by 1954. Adjacent neighborhoods, although linked by cross-streets, may have been started prior to this date.
5) When did the majority of the homes get built?
The majority of homes seem to have been completed during the 1950’s, when approximately 103 houses were finished. The boom year for Roslyn Hills appears to have been in 1957, when roughly 22 homes were completed. The 1960’s yielded less than half that number, with about 46 homes being built. The remainder of homes have been built since then, but tax records indicate the last two new construction homes built in Roslyn Hills were in 1990. I can tell you that the adjacent neighborhoods such as Countryside still have lots for sale and continue to build new homes today.
6) Did one developer work on it or was it developed over a period of time by different builders and developers?
It appears that different builders built in this neighborhood. It does not appear to have been sold to one developer, as is the case in many neighborhoods being developed today.
7) How many houses are in Roslyn Hills now?
The tax records indicate 182 homes attributed to the neighborhood of Roslyn Hills. There may be a little overlap between adjacent neighborhoods, as the lines are sometime blurred a little.
8) Could you describe the neighborhood’s architectural styles?
There are a variety of Architectural styles in Roslyn Hills. Many of the home sstyles reflect the time during which a particular home was built. There are ranches, and capes as well as traditional two story colonials.
9) How large are the lots?
Roslyn hills enjoys generous lot sizes; reflecting a time when each house was supported by well and/or septic systems – before the installation of public water and sewer utilities, making larger lots obsolete. Most lots are between a half and one and a half acres. It appears the majority of lots are a little less than one acre.
10) What amenities does Roslyn Hills offer?
Roslyn Hills has a number of Creeks, ponds, mature trees, and neighborhood play grounds. It is a great area to stroll around because there are no real cut-through streets to generate a volume of automobile traffic. The car traffic is generated almost exclusively by the folks who live in the neighborhood.
12) What’s the typical Roslyn Hills homeowner like?
As a realtor, I can’t answer this question. I will tell you there are a Lot of families as well as individual home owners, and with a good mix of ages. This may be considered a “destination neighborhood”, as many people choose to stay in the neighborhood many years longer than the national average. A client of ours is preparing to put her house on the market after living there for fifteen years, nearly twice the typical home owner stays in one location.
13) What public schools do Roslyn Hills’s students attend? And how important are those schools’ reputation in attracting homebuyers?
Schools are important to the area’s home owners, and are one of the primary reasons people flock to this area. Tuckahoe Elementary, Tuckahoe Middle and Freeman High are the three public schools serving this area. Some better known private schools include Collegiate just to the west along River Road, and St Catherine and St Christopher to the east into the City. St. Michael’s and Trinity Episcopal are just over the river from the Willy or Huguenot bridges. The University of Richmond is very close as well.
14) What can homeowners do in the area for entertainment?
Everything! Great access to either side of the River, shopping and restaurants are only moments away. Stony Point Fashion Park is just across the Willy Bridge. Roslyn Hills is a great location for this reason.
15) What do you think is the No. 1 reason buyers choose Roslyn Hills? How important is its being in the River Road corridor, for example?
The location of Roslyn Hills is one of the best reasons to choose this neighborhood. One can enjoy being in the County of Henrico, but still take advantage of the relative ease and access of being in the City of Richmond. It is true that River Road has a certain cache attached to it, which may be important for some people, but I don’t know if that is a primary consideration for living in this neighborhood. Homes are still relatively affordable, starting in the mid three-hundreds to the mid eight-hundreds; the average home price hovers on average right around $500,000. There are a few homes that may sell for a million dollars or more.
John VanderSyde is a Licensed Real Estate Broker and a Licensed Architect. He has been in construction, development and building since 1986, and a licensed Realtor since 2002. He and his wife Ann are team partners at Virginia Properties, a Long & Foster Company in Richmond, VA.