Scottsville celebrates 200 years

By Ron Smith, Correspondent

Even though Scottsville’s history dates from more than 10,000 years ago with the Monacan Indians who lived in the area, the town of Scott’s Landing was not founded until 1744 when it was designated Albemarle County’s first “county seat.”

Although the county seat and its first courthouse were moved in 1762 to Charlottesville, and parts of Albemarle were divided into Buckingham, Fluvanna, Amherst and Nelson counties, the town continued to be a major shipping hub to areas both east and west. With the James River and the Kanawha Canal, farmers and merchants from as far away as the Shenandoah Valley had a means of moving their goods and produce to distant markets. People also had a means of traveling to ports up and down the river on packet boats and bateaux.

Then in 1818 the town was incorporated. Over the next 200 years the town would see ups and downs, war, floods, growth and decline. But the town survived. In the mid-1800s there would be six churches built; those buildings still stand and are used today. After 1850 the railroad became the main means of transporting both people and goods as the canal became less profitable for its shareholders and river travel proved to be slow and unpredictable.

Following the Civil War, the town slowly began a rebuilding that would reach a high point in the early 1900s. By 1920 there were 20 stores, two large flour mills, an ice plant, a theater, three garages, a braid factory, two large oil companies, two restaurants, a boarding house, two drugstores, three doctors, a dentist, two schools, two dairies, a shoe store and two blacksmith shops. In 1944 the Scottsville Lions Club was responsible for the tire plant deciding to locate its factory in town, providing a number of jobs and greatly helping the local economy.

Flooding still remained a problem. In the late 1980s Mayor A. Raymon Thacker was the force behind seeing that a levee was built to protect the town from the fickle James River. Today Scottsville’s local economy has rebounded to the point where there are as many businesses today as there were in the 1950s and 1960s. It is also a nice place to live.

Scottsville Vice Mayor Laura Mellusi, chair of the Arts and Culture Committee, and the Town of Scottsville have designated Saturday, Sept. 8 as the date to celebrate this milestone in the town’s history.

“The celebration will be called ‘River Town Fest’ and will include music by local musicians, family activities, civic and non-profit volunteer information, local shopping and specials as well as food trucks, health information, and historic walking tours led by Stuart Munson, a Scottsville Museum volunteer,” Mellusi said. “The Scottsville Center for Arts and Nature will have a ‘Taste of Scottsville’ event and it is the opening day for youth soccer.”

This is one event you don’t want to miss. If you are new to town you will learn of the many resources available to you. If you’ve been around for a while, you are apt to see old friends and see things that will bring back fond memories. In any event, you will have fun.

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