The Ivy Road Corridor developed initially as a landscape primarly populated by affluent, rural and suburban property owners but now also reflects recent periods of commercial and residential development related to the growth and development of the University.
Still, this corridor remains the least developed edge of the University and the City of Charlottesville. The current Ivy Road, Old Ivy Road, and U.S. 250 West in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are the successors to—and in some places still align with—Virginia’s Three Notch’d Road, the historic overland route connecting the Virginia capitol in Richmond and the James River ports and markets with the agrarian landscapes of the Virginia Piedmont and Shenandoah Valleys. The original English land grants established the historic ownership pattern of large agrarian land holdings in Central Virginia and in the Ivy Road Corridor. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travelers through this rural landscape followed Three-Notch’d Road’s overland earthen alignment with its path marked along the way with the characteristic three chops cut into hardwood trees lining the road’s edges. This marked route traversed the developing courthouse town of Charlottesville and the grounds of the newly established University of Virginia. West of the University, the road’s alignment responded to the topography of the Ragged Mountains and the hydrology of Morey Creek to wind its way through the increasingly steep elevations of the road’s westward alignments. Historically, tobacco and grains were the principal crops that travelers would have observed, but livestock also played a major role in this hill and valley terrain, giving Ivy Road Corridor a pastoral quality that remained until after World War II.
For a quick view of the Ivy Road Corridor, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pABHHkZ0oWI to view the north side and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BDP9wPkL2E to view the south side.