The sultry, sooty atmosphere of the South’s late-19th-century cities encouraged urban dwellers to escape the insufferable summers by going to mountain or waterside resorts. It also spurred development of more convenient retreats in the cities’ wooded fringes. With its salubrious name, Bon Air was begun in 1877 by the Bon Air Land and Improvement Company in a sylvan section of Chesterfield County, convenient by rail to downtown Richmond. Financial problems in the late 1910s ended Bon Air’s role as a resort but its proximity to the city and the ascendancy of the automobile enabled it to evolve into a distinctive residential suburb. Its principal artery, Buford Road, is still lined with gaily ornamented Victorian cottages. A reminder of the former resort character is the 1881-82 Bon Air Hotel annex (pictured above). Though now surrounded by modern suburban sprawl, Bon Air maintains its village ambience.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark