Drive 24 minutes from The Square in Crozet and you can visit Albemarle County’s newest park, Byrom Park.
6610 Blackwells Hollow Road, Crozet, VA 22932
I asked Phil James, author of Secrets of the Blue Ridge, to write a bit about the historical aspect of Byrom Park and he was gracious enough to agree.
Albemarle County’s newest outdoor destination, the Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park, will introduce many to another one of western Albemarle’s lesser known gems,Blackwell’s Hollow.
William Blackwell, the elder namesake of “historic” Blackwell’s Hollow, purchased his first land in that region in 1767, followed by a Colonial grant in 1773. William’s progeny amassed over 2000 acres and the family name is perpetuated in that place to this day.
Blackwell’s was a voting precinct in its early days with a notorious penchant for heated politics and a reputation for voting contrary to the rest of Albemarle County. The hollow residents were hardworking and industrious: in addition to farming, several mineral mines were located on the steep mountainsides and numerous legal distilleries once provided jobs. Stores, schools and churches served the Blackwell’s Hollow population at a time when travel could be difficult and local communities were careful to take care of themselves.
In the 1950s, Albemarle historian Vera Via wrote of the hollow’s significance in county history. Patricia Byrom, honored namesake of Albemarle’s newest park, penned a thesis in 1980 on “Blackwell’s Hollow in northwestern Albemarle County”. The Book “Secrets of the Blue Ridge” by Phil James includes a chapter which introduces some of the people and places in that rugged area.
The interesting drive along the section of Rt. 810 denoted as Blackwell’s Hollow Road, extending from Brown’s Gap Turnpike on the south almost to Boonesville on the north, is arguably one of the most beautiful in Albemarle County.
The renewed appreciation of the area by longtime residents and the wonder and respect expressed by new visitors will help to serve as thanks for the benevolence of Mrs. Byrom’s family who has made the land available to all. Perhaps, in due time, park planners will also consider the installation of a kiosk honoring the Blackwell namesake.
The Albemarle County Parks and Recreation department will hold a dedication ceremony for the Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park on Friday, August 19, 2011 starting at 11:30 a.m. The park is located at 6610 Blackwells Hollow Road, Crozet, Virginia 22932, on land donated by the Byrom family. The Byrom family and Albemarle County dignitaries will be participating in this dedication ceremony which is also a sanctioned event for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of Shenandoah National Park.
Nestled in historic Blackwells Hollow opposite Fox Mountain, the 600-acre Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park is a great place for County residents and visitors to enjoy the time outdoors. Byrom Park, which borders Shenandoah National Park, currently has over six miles of trails for educational purposes, hiking, running, mountain biking and equestrian use.
“Albemarle County appreciates this donation from the Byrom family,” says Bob Crickenberger, director of Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. “This great park will provide for the quality of life for the people in this community for years to come.”
Byrom Park is named for long-time Albemarle County resident, Patricia Ann Byrom, who lived a life full of love and service to her family, community and nation. An educator, Patricia taught at Stone Robinson and Crozet Elementary schools for 20 years. Her husband Bob donated the acreage to Albemarle County in 2004 in honor of Patricia’s selfless life of service and appreciation of Albemarle County’s abundant natural resources.
SIZE? 600 acres
7:00am to dark open all year
Multi-use trails for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding. ?3.6 mile loop, start at parking lot, red trail to blue loop, back to red trail, back to parking lot. ?3 mile out and back, start at parking lot, red trail to white trail and return. There are plans to add to the trail system.?Click here for Trail Map. (PDF)
I find it equally cool and creepy that Google Street View is that far out in the County.