Midlothian, Virginia, today is a burgeoning upscale Chesterfield County residential
and commercial community situated approximately ten miles west of Richmond
on U.S. Route 60 and the Norfolk-Southern Railway. A highway historical
marker states that Midlothian is probably the site of the first coal mines
in the U.S.
Scattered throughout the village are remnants of the Midlothian
area mines—old homes, taverns, and buildings of colliery owners
and a few dwellings connected with French Huguenots who were among the first European
settlers in the Midlothian area.
Structures still standing on Old Buckingham Road are Trabue's Tavern,
Melrose, Haley Cole's Free School, and the Smith-Vincent house. Fortunately,
some natural landscape survives lining the roadside; day lilies, periwinkle,
trumpet vines, and Queen Anne's Lace mingle in the shade of tall cedars,
hollies, oaks, hickories, and other native trees. The ancient periwinkled
oak grove standing sentry over coal miners' graves in Old Mt. Pisgah M.E.
Church Cemetery is especially beautiful at the crest of Falling Creek
Hill. Also at the crest of Falling Creek Hill on Route 60, stands Railey's
Hill, a frame dwelling which once housed the superintendent of the Mid-Lothian
Coal Mining Company.
North on Salisbury Drive is the 1870 Midlothian Public School now a residence,
the 1875 Midlothian Masonic Lodge Hall and Oak Grove, the Norfolk-Southern
Railway Crossing, and nearby Etna Hill and reclaimed Etna coal pits.
South on Coalfield Road lie the stone ruins of the Grove Shaft of the
Wooldridge family Mid-Lothian Coal Mining Company. The Grove Shaft buildings'
ruins and park create the focal point of the developing Chesterfield Park.
The Midlothian Public Library and the YMCA sports complex adjoin the park
property, as does J.B. Watkins Elementary School.
• First recorded coal mines in the United States.
• Mid-Lothian Coal Mining
Company and many other collieries (Coal shipped to Tredegers
Iron Works in Richmond)
• First railroad in Virginia.
• One of the first toll roads in Virginia.
• One of the earliest free schools in Chesterfield County.
• One of the first Masonic Lodges in Chesterfield County.
U.S. Rt. 60 in the village are several landmarks: the c.1870 Jewett-Bass
brick store and early post office, the 19th century Jacob Baach house
and its towering elm, possibly the only surviving old elm in the village.
The rebuilt eighteenth/nineteenth century Wooldridge family home, surrounded
by ancient sycamores, currently serves as a restaurant in the center of
Sycamore Square Shopping Center.
Directly across Rt. 60 in an oak grove stand the sanctuaries and educational
buildings of Winfree Memorial Baptist Church, a congregation over 150 years old. The nearby congregations of Midlothian First Baptist
Church, formerly Midlothian African Baptist, and Mt. Pisgah Methodist
Church date to the 1840s. Other churches located close to the village
are Sycamore Presbyterian, Salisbury Presbyterian, Episcopal Church of
the Redeemer, Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and Bethel Baptist
Church (formed in 1817).
Local Chesterfield County Public Schools include J.B. Watkins Elementary
School on Coalfield Rd., Midlothian Middle School on Rt. 60, and Midlothian High School
on Charter Colony Drive. The recently expanded Midlothian branch of John
Tyler Community College on Charter Colony Parkway provides for the higher
educational needs of the diverse populations of western Chesterfield County
and the greater region.
shopping centers and housing developments such as Salisbury, Stonehenge,
Walton Park, the Grove, Four Seasons, Queensmill, Glamorgan, and Old Buckingham
encompass the village. Among shopping centers are the Village Marketplace,
Midlothian Station, the Shops at Railey Hill, Sycamore Square, and Village Place. Shops in and around Chesterfield Towne Center also serve the people of Midlothian
village and the surrounding area as does the new shopping complex at Watkins Center at Route 288. Numerous garden and antique shops are
open in or near these centers. Golf enthusiasts may play on the greens
at Salisbury Country Club, Stonehenge Country Club or Independence Golf. Chesterfie
With the advent of circumferential highway Rt. 288 spurring increased rapid
growth, Midlothian residents, under the guidance of the 1992 Midlothian Area Plan, strived to protect the village's historic buildings and natural
landscape from further commercial encroachment. Local volunteers worked in
committees that assisted in projects such as planning, funding, landscaping, preserving,
protecting, and maintaining the Midlothian sidewalks and roadside. Members
of the Midlothian Garden Club plant and tend the flowers gracing the handsome
Rt. 60 stone entryway into the village. Plantings of crepe myrtle, dogwood,
daylilies, and various other trees and shrubs delight the traveler's eye,
making the drive around Midlothian a memorable treat.
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