Charlottesville’s first public housing project, Westhaven, was dedicated by then-Mayor Lindsay B. Mount on this day in 1964.
“’In this modest beginning of 126 dwellings,’ Mount said, ‘we are started on a course which recognizes civic responsibility for the betterment of the housing conditions of many of our citizens.’ The job of providing housing for low-income families does not end with Westhaven, the Mayor added. ‘This is a fine start, but it is only a beginning. The time has come when the forces of our great nation, our state and our community can be directed toward a fullness of living for all our people. Here in Charlottesville, we are meeting the problems where they must be solved-locally, through community action in partnership with private enterprise and federal assistance.’”
The housing project was named for John West, “born a slave here in 1860. He worked as a barber all his life but through real estate investments had become a wealthy man by the time of his death in 1927. The young West is said to have saved Col. John Mosby from certain capture during the Civil war when he warned Mosby that a group of Union soldiers was riding through town. Mosby gave the youth a silver dollar which he carried the rest of his life.”
Hardy Drive, Westhaven’s main street, was named for the Rev. R.B. Hardy, pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1892 to 1917.
Westhaven was constructed to house the displaced residents of the Vinegar Hill Revitalization Project and remained the only public housing project in the city until the construction of Crescent Halls in 1976.