Colonial Heights, Virginia
Colonial Heights, Virginia is a city with a rich history and an even brighter future. As the site of significant battles during both the American Revolution and the Civil War, Colonial Heights has a proud heritage that is on display throughout the city. The City Seal depicts the figures of the house and cucumber tree at Violet Bank. Today, Colonial Heights is a thriving community with a diverse population and plenty to offer its residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re interested in history or modern-day conveniences, Colonial Heights has something for everyone!
The name Colonial Heights dates back to 1781, when General Lafayette’s French troops, known as the Colonials, set up artillery on the heights overlooking Petersburg and the Appomattox River to spy on British forces. The legend says that an English soldier spotted the troops across the river and exclaimed, “Look! There are the Colonials, up on the Heights!” The name stuck, and eventually, the area became known as Colonial Heights.
The Conjurer’s Field Archaeological Site is located on a former plantation along the Appomattox River. Archaeological excavations at the location have unearthed items from the prehistoric Middle and Late Woodland periods. In 1620, when a group of colonists settled near the site, the place became known as “Conjurer’s Neck.” A Native American priest or healer, which the English called a “conjurer,” was believed to have lived there. The presence of conjurers was deemed protective, as they were believed to ward off malevolent spirits dwelling in the waters.
In 1677, Richard Kennon purchased the Conjurer’s Neck property and settled there sometime thereafter. The house he built, known as The Old Brick House, or the Kennon House, still stands and is open to the public for tours. It is considered to be the oldest brick house in the region and among the oldest houses in Virginia.
Violet Bank, another historic site in Colonial Heights, is the mansion Thomas Shore built on 144 acres of land in 1755. Shore was a wealthy planter and merchant who traded with the West Indies. He named his estate Violet Bank after the dense fields of violets on the hillside along the banks of the Appomattox River. From June to September 1864, Confederate General Robert E. Lee used Violet Bank as his headquarters during the Petersburg siege. Today, the house is an excellent example of Georgian architecture, hosts an array of Civil War artifacts, and is now a museum open to the public for tours.
The city of Colonial Heights is part of the Tri-Cities region in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The city has a total area of seven square miles, and as of the 2020 census, its population was 17,379.
Colonial Heights is home to Southpark Mall, which opened in 1969 and is the city’s largest shopping center. The mall features over 100 stores and restaurants, including JCPenney, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and AMC Southpark 16.
For those interested in outdoor recreation, Colonial Heights has plenty to offer. The city has 17 parks that total over 200 acres, including Beaverdam Creek Wetlands Park, a 48-acre park with hiking trails, fishing areas, and picnic pavilions. There are also several smaller parks located throughout the city, such as Confederate Park and Washington Park.
Colonial Heights is served by Colonial Heights Public Schools. The school system consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and one alternative education center. In addition to public schools, there are several private schools located in the city.
Southside Regional Medical Center is a 329-bed hospital located in Colonial Heights. The hospital offers a wide range of services, including emergency care, cancer treatment, heart and vascular care, orthopedics, and women’s health.
Looking to the Future
Colonial Heights is a city with a rich history and a bright future. With its convenient location, ample shopping and recreation options, and quality schools, the city is an excellent place to live, work, and raise a family. And with so much to see and do, there’s something for everyone in Colonial Heights.
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