Bon Air, Virginia

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Bon Air is a census-designated place (CDP) in Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States. The population was 16,213 at the 2000 census. The community is considered a suburb of the independent city of Richmond in the Richmond-Petersburg region, and shares a post office with Richmond. Originally developed as a resort, a central portion of Bon Air has been designated as a National Historical District with many structures of Victorian design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its name means "good air," reflecting its role as a resort getaway that Richmonders enjoyed for its fresh air as opposed to the dirty air of Richmond's industrial downtown of the late 19th century.



The area came to be known as Brown's Summit, probably named for the Brown family farm which was located nearby along the old Warwick Road (near the southwest corner of present-day intersection of Belleau Drive and Jahnke and Brown Roads).

Brown Road and Belleau Drive each follow portions of the old Warwick Road which are now west of Chippenham Parkway, which severed the old route in the mid-1960s when it was built between present-day Jahnke Road and Midlothian Turnpike.

Old maps

An 1864 map, noted as 'Published by D. Van Nostrand, New York', and entitled 'Map of Richmond, VA and Surrounding Country' appears to show a small cluster of buildings labeled 'Pawhite Stop' on the 'Railroad to Coal Mines' line at the site of historic Bon Air village. However, it has also been suggested that "Pawhite Stop" (which on the map is "Pawhite STA") is NOT Bon Air, VA. First it is on what is labeled "Railroad to Coal Mines" and the Richmond and Danville line is several miles south of this. The island shown in the James River might be "Williams Island" but there is no actual major creek as shown on the map flowing into the river at this point. If the creek is "Powhite Creek" then the accuracy of the map is questionable. This noted, the small stream of Rattle Snake creek flows into the river near Williams Island and originates just to the East of the present day Bon Air.

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