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Land Development

As the University began to grow, land subdivisions occurred in the Lewis Mountain vicinity, and John Emmet, the University’s first professor of natural history, received special permission to live apart from the University’s Academical Village, beginning a precedent of university-related development that was separate from the grounds of the University. Professor Emmet purchased land west of the University for the construction of his own residence, Morea, in 1834-1835, perhaps establishing the University’s first peri-urban western edge. Following Emmet’s death, Morea experienced different ownerships and ultimately several land subdivisions for additional single-family residential development in an area now identified as the Lewis Mountain neighborhood. This neighborhood that gradually developed west of the current Emmet Street and U. S. Route 29 remains an a popular residential neighborhood convenient to the University. The City of Charlottesville has extended its boundaries several times since its founding but did not reach the intersection until 1916.  In 1938 the boundary extended just to about St. Anne’s Belfield School.  It arrived at its current western boundaries in 1963 to include all of Professor Emmet’s former land as well as neighboring parcels that developed as part of this early twentieth-century suburban-type neighborhood.