2006-04-26 / Front Page

Where is Midlothian?

By Donna C. Gregory


Amy Satterfield (right) strives to maintain "a sense of place" in suburbia.
It's one of Chesterfield's great mysteries: Where exactly is Midlothian?

If you live in Woodlake, are you in Midlothian? The post office says yes, although some would probably disagree, such as county planners and even the Chesterfield Historical Society.

What about Bon Air? Is Bon Air in Midlothian? Well, yes, sort of. After all, Bon Air is in the Midlothian Magisterial District.

How about Salisbury? Is Salisbury in Midlothian? It depends on who you ask. County planners would say no, since the "community" of Midlothian actually skirts Salisbury.

But the Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition leadership would say yes.

There are more than 50 "Midlothian" businesses listed in the phone book - or at least that's what their names imply.

There's Midlothian Hair Solutions, located where Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street connect. For those who aren't familiar with that intersection, it's actually in Richmond.

Then, there's Midlothian Enterprises, which is in Goochland County, and Midlothian Business Forms on Grace Street in Richmond.

Midlothian Hair Solutions (top) is where the turnpike starts in Richmond. photos by Elli Morris/Chesterfield Observer
You'd think the location of something like the Midlothian-Powhatan Hunt Club would be relatively straightforward. It's either in Midlothian or Powhatan, right? Wrong. It's in Cumberland County. So, does Midlothian now include Cumberland, too?

Surely, Internet map gurus MapQuest and MapBlast wouldn't steer us wrong (We'll just forget about all the other times they botched our driving directions.) But even they cannot seem to agree.

MapQuest planted a big red star near the intersection of Westfield Road and Salisbury Drive. MapBlast said Midlothian was at the corner of Midlothian Turnpike and Crowder Drive, just east of Coalfield Road.

So, in our quest for answers, we asked the experts: Just where is Midlothian?

Bill Handley, county demographer, Chesterfield County:

"That is a really good question to which there is no really good answer. It's a magisterial district, but the boundaries for that district are not the same from decade to decade [due to redistricting]. It's also a high school and middle school district, roughly similar but not identical. It's also three zip codes. Then, there's the village core. Then, there is the community. What we usually tell people is we point them to the [county's] community report. [The boundaries of the community report were developed by] a bunch of people in the planning department who said these boundaries can be used to define a community. There's nothing official about these things...we just use them to collect data."

Candace Mobley (above) says Midlothian is several zip codes.
Darrell Olin, postmaster, Midlothian Post Office:

"Westerly, we go out as far as County Line Road down Route 60, but we do extend into Powhatan County down Robious Road. [Northerly,] we butt right up to the city. We're pretty much west of Courthouse Road, except Smoketree; it's a Richmond delivery. The southern borders are really, really confusing. We [deliver] to that Price Club [on Hull Street Rd.] and we also go out to Spring Run and Winterpock and as far as Woodlake, but anything further than that is Moseley - except Hampton Park, which is in Chesterfield. Personally, I get a little confused myself, because the county is working on different geographical boundaries than we do."

History provides help Although we might not know exactly where Midlothian's boundaries end today, we do know where it started. The origins of Midlothian can be traced back to 1745 when two brothers from the Wooldridge family built the house that's now home to Crab Louie's in Sycamore Square Shopping Center. After immigrating to the area from Scotland, they decided to call the home "Midlothian," since one brother was from the town of East Lothian and the other from West Lothian. Eventually, with the help of the railroad, a town grew around the property, becoming known as Midlothian, Va.
Ed Barber, county supervisor, Midlothian district:

"Where is Midlothian? I guess that depends on why you're asking that question. [The Midlothian Magisterial District] goes from the city line to the Powhatan County line, north of Midlothian Turnpike. All of Bon Air is in my district. If someone is asking about the Village of Midlothian, then if I was going to draw a dot on the map, it would probably include the Midlothian Apothecary and the middle school [along Midlothian Turnpike]. The zip codes throw people off tremendously. We've tried to get the post office to change and look at our boundaries, but we just couldn't do it [because it was too complicated and expensive]. I really think Midlothian is as much a state of mind as a geographic location."

Ray Turcan, president, Woodlake Community Association, when asked if Woodlake is in Midlothian:

"It's my mailing address. The natives...perhaps they don't recognize us as part of Midlothian, [but] I do believe we're living in Midlothian. In fact, Woodlake seems to be becoming more and more Midlothian with all the retail."

Liess Vanderlinden-Brusse, head of the library committee, Chesterfield Historical Society, when asked if Woodlake and Brandermill are in Midlothian:

"Woodlake, probably not. I think they are in Matoaca. Being on the other side of Swift Creek Reservoir is not normally regarded as Midlothian. I would say Brandermill is in Midlothian, but some people would call it Clover Hill."

Amy Satterfield, executive director, Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition:

"The boundaries of the Village of Midlothian are at the bottom of the hill just past WalMart [on Midlothian Turnpike] and then you head west until you reach Winterfield Road. Charter Colony and Coalfield Road intersect with Woolridge; they're in the Village of Midlothian too, and this is pretty much the loosely defined boundaries of Midlothian. For the folks who live there, we all know where the village is."

Satterfield, when asked if Salisbury and other nearby neighborhoods are in Midlothian:

"The actual Village of Midlothian is relatively small, but our perspective is if your children attend school in the village, if you shop there regularly, then we consider you to be a citizen of the village. From Stonehenge to Otterdale Road, Queensmill, Walton Park and the communities on Winterfield Road, including Salisbury and Rosemont...we certainly consider all of those folks [to be citizens of Midlothian].

Peppy Jones, president, Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition:

"Where do the actual boundaries of Midlothian end? I'm not even sure.

"The western boundary may be the Ural Mountains [in Russia] and the eastern boundary is the Yellow Sea and that's most of the world actually. Everything else is just a suburb... The folks that live on 37th Street in downtown Richmond, they are in the suburbs of Midlothian.

"Maybe wherever you are is Midlothian. The left armrest of your chair is Midlothian."

That should clear it up.

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