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Good Neighbor: Ivy

November 11, 2010

The community of Ivy is hard to define. There are no actual neighborhood limits or boundaries, but that does not mean it's not a community.

“It's a loose-knit community because there really isn't a town center, although that is sort of a meeting place for most people who consider themselves to be from Ivy,” said Tammy Bradley, a clerk at the local Post Office.

The historic Ivy Corner building is home to a garden center and a post office. As Bradley described, the complex also serves to bring people together.

“The nice thing about Ivy Corner is that it's an independent garden center and it's at the center of the Ivy community. Plus, it's attached to the post office, and we have lots of people who would rather not go into town and fight all the traffic,” said Libbey Stackhouse, of the Ivy Corner Garden Center.

The corner building is a throwback to yesteryear, when the post office was a central point of the community. It's a piece of history the people of Ivy have every intention of holding on to tightly.

“A real community identity. If the Ivy post office closed, for instance, there would no longer be an Ivy address for anyone. It would all just be Charlottesville,” said Bradley.

There are, of course, other parts of Ivy. The creek, restaurants, businesses, homes and the people. One of the most important Ivy residents was also one of the nation's greatest explorers. Born in 1774, Meriweather Lewis would go on to develop a love of nature and a desire to explore.

“He was privately educated in Albemarle County with tutors and private instructors, which was pretty typical for the period,” said Margaret O'Bryant, of the Albemarle Historical Society.

Lewis inherited Locust Hill from his father, and while the neighborhood has changed, some things have remained the same.

“The Lewis & Clark expedition was a real benchmark of American history. It contributed to the formation of American character I think of exploring the frontier and gaining knowledge of resources that were there,” said O'Bryant.

A benchmark that keeps Meriweather Lewis a revered figure in local history and American history and helps mark Central Virginia's role in defining a nation.

“All three of them: Meriweather Lewis, William Clark and Thomas Jefferson, all have Albemarle County roots,” said O'Bryant.

They're all part of a loosely connected community with a central meeting ground.

“It's a very tight community. We have so many nice people that live here. I've met some of the greatest friends and personalities, both old and young,” said Stackhouse.

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