Church Hill is often used to describe both the St. John's Church Historic District and the larger general area (encompassing other neighborhoods such as Union Hill, Chimborazo, Fairmount, Peter Paul, Woodville, etc.) This historic encompasses the original land plat of the city of Richmond. Church Hill is the eastern terminus of Broad Street, a major east-west thoroughfare in the Richmond Metropolitan Area, and one of the longest, which carries U.S. Route 250.


Church Hill is known as the site of Virginia's second revolutionary convention where Patrick Henry gave his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in St. John's Episcopal Church. It is also known for Chimborazo Park, where the largest Civil War hospital was located.

On Friday, October 2, 1925, a 4,000-foot Chesapeake and Ohio railroad single track tunnel built during Reconstruction collapsed under Church Hill. The Church Hill Tunnel collapse occurred during refurbishment works, killing 3 or 4 and engulfing a work train in complete with a 4-4-0 engine #231 and 10 flat cars. The tunnel was closed and filled-in after the collapse. In the July 2006, a coalition of officials and historical groups made plans to remove the buried engine. If recovered, it would be displayed at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. Some borings were made into the tunnel from above for examination by camera. Only murky water was found, whereupon further work was delayed by city permitting issues. The bricked-in entrance of the collapsed tunnel can still be seen at the south east end of the alley just north of Marshall Street, on 18th Street.

Douglas Wilder, the first African American to have been elected governor of a U.S. state, was born and raised in Church Hill.

Preservation Efforts

The Church Hill neighborhood experienced serious physical decline during the 1950s. The Historic Richmond Foundation was established in 1956 out of concern for "saving and enhancing the setting for St. John's Church." In 1957, encouraged in large part by Historic Richmond, City Council created a historic district ordinance while simultaneously adopting the St. John's Church Old and Historic District. The preservation of Church Hill marked the formal beginning of the preservation movement in Richmond.

Notable Structures, Monuments and Parks


Local blogs

The Church Hill People's News blog covers the people, places, and events in the community.

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