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THE HISTORY CLASS is devoted to the small towns and neighborhoods we grew up in -- the origins, the people, the urban legends --- things that were considered normal then, but that seem a bit weird now.

TODAY'S LESSON --- the town of Sandston.

Sandston named after Oliver J. Sands

The History of Sandston
(Word-for-word text excerpt from "The History of Henrico County, 1947)

AT THE TERMINATION of World War I, the United States Government owned nearly six hundred acres of land in Fairfield District in Henrico County, Virginia and the electric car trolley line which connected the property with Richmond.

On this land the United States Housing Corporation had erected 230 six-room and bath bungalows, but had completed only half of them, for the use of the plant personnel, when the war ended.

The Richmond-Fairfield Railway Company was organized by Fairfield and Richmond interests to prevent salvaging of this property and it was purchased in 1921. The electric car line facilities were improved and the
homes which had been compIeted were sold to people who were seeking the quiet and desirable life of the suburbs. Later, as the other homes were completed, they were also purchased.

Many of those “settlers” are still living in the community and take great pride in the fact that they were pioneers, so to speak.

In looking back over the history of Sandston, we find that the village originally was called Fairfield but, owing to the fact that there was another community of that name in Virginia, it was decided by popular local opinion, to change the name to honor the man who was largely responsible for the success of the project, Mr. Oliver J. Sands of the Richmond-Fairfield Railway company, hence Sandston.

Many other individuals had a large part in making Sandston a desirable place to live; John B. Finley and his brother, the lovable “Bob”; R. C. Sainsbury; Harry Moore and many others.

As the years passed and Sandston continued to expand, the need was felt for a better water and sewerage system with the result that there are now two artesian wells to furnish pure and abundant water to the 200,000
gallon tank which distributes it under good pressure to the homes. The sewerage system was installed in 1934 and includes a disposal plant more than capable of handling the needs of the community for some time.

When the United States entered World War II, the Government established the Richmond Army Air Base adjacent to Sandston and the people of the community were called upon to assist by housing some of the civilian workers in their homes so the Base could be completed as rapidly as possible. As the work progressed and the buildings were completed, the Army began moving into the Base and many soldiers found rooms in Sandston for their wives so they could be with them before going overseas to the battlefields. There being no recreational facilities on the Base when it was opened, various local organizations opened their club rooms for the use of the soldiers. The United Service Organizations, realizing the need, erected a beautiful USO recreational building which, since the end of the war, has been bought by Sandston citizens with funds obtained by voluntary subscription.

Sandston itself furnished over 150 men as soldier, sailor or marine in the World War II, and now has among its many organizations an American Legion Post and its Woman’s Auxiliary. Seven local men made the supreme sacrifice in the recent conflict. They are: James R. Chinn, James 13. Blake, Jr, Frank L. Eggleston, Jr., Harry G. Feilds, James Houston, Adrian P. Lyons and G. Sizemore.

There are in Sandston a modern 12-room brick school building, four Churches-Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian, each with an active membership-a Woman’s Club, Men’s Civic’ Club, Masonic Lodge, Square Club, Boy Scouts and Cubs, Girl Scouts and Brownies, Business Men’s Club, Teen-Age Club and many others; two doctors, grocery stores and meat markets, furniture store, electric store and repair shop, restaurant, druggist, telephone exchange, service stations and auto repair shops, post office, laundry, and barber shops. Cleaning and pressing can be had by a truck calling at your door, a theatre within five-minutes ride by auto or bus, and with two bus lines on as many highways to the business district of the city of Richmond.

Sandston lies between two highways; Route 33, better known as the Nine-Mile Road, and Route 60, the highway that leads to the Atlantic Coast and which is a much-travelled tourist route to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and other historical and interesting places.

Sandston enjoys a climate that is hard to beat. In the Summer the temperature will vary by about 10 degrees cooler than that of the city, and in the winter the weather is moderate.

The population of Sandston and vicinity has grown from 400 in 1923 to over 3,000 in 1947. The number of home-owners will average about 98 per cent.

Sandston is approximately 165 feet above sea level, according to a survey made by the National Geodetic Society.

Trash and garbage collections are made on Modays at all homes south of the Williamsburg Road and on Tuesdays at all homes north of the highway.

Fire protection is furnished by the County. The fire-fighting equipment is housed at Highland Springs and the telephone number is Fairfield 4444.

Excerpt from "The History of Henrico County", 1947.

Sandston, Virginia
"The Ideal Residential Suburb" , 1923

by the Richmond Fairfield Railway Co.
Sandston, Virginia

(The following is the word-for-word text from a four-page booklet distributed in 1923 by the Richmond Fairfield Railway Company to sell land and homes in Sandston. -Admin )


The house you live in - do you own or rent it.

Billy Sunday says "If you rent and sing Home Sweet Home you are just kidding yourself and serenading the landlord."

Read this booklet and find out how easily you may kid the landlord and serenade yourself.

EVERY normal person has a strong desire to own a home. Many never do. WHY? Often because of the initial cost, more often on account of doubt as to present and prospective values. Every prudent person should count the cost and to judge future values, study carefully general tendencies, in home-seeking and building, and to determine present values, investigate thoroughly local conditions before deciding what kind of home one will have and where it shall be located; but it is not prudence to so spend all the active years of one’s life. Study and investigate, yes, it is very important, but decide before you have spent in rent the price of one or two good homes, and before the best part of your life for home making and the enjoyment of it has passed.

General Tendencies

The present strong movement of home builders from city to suburbs and nearby country has been noted by many. Roger Babson, Statistician and profound student of economic and social conditions as they act and re-act on each other, recently made a study of this tendency and reached the conclusion that this movement would not only continue, but also grow in volume. His principal reason was the automobile; first, because the rapid multiplication of automobiles and trucks has made life in the cities dangerous, especially for children and old people - the two ages least able to protect themselves; second, because the automobile, responsible for these dangers, also, with good roads, make it possible for those whose business is in the city to have a home in the suburbs, and thus escape congestion and dangers, and the city’s high cost of homes and living.


That suburb is three and one-half miles from the Corporate limits of Richmond. The Williamsburg Road is a good gravel road now, and the trip by automobile from Sandston to the Richmond Post Office is easily made in less than thirty minutes. Sandston has deep well artesian water, pure and abundant, distributed under good pressure to all homes; sewerage, modern plumbing with bath, electric light and power from the Virginia Railway & Power Company’s lines; both water and lights at Richmond prices.

Sandston now has a population of 400. Its Citizens are progressive and of a high class. Social conditions are excellent, local affairs are conducted by an association of its citizens which, while a voluntary government, follows the latest, and best form of municipal government having a council elected by proportionate voting and a city manager elected by the council. Every citizen of the community is entitled to membership in the association. There is an active woman’s club, a large well trained community chorus, and a public library.

This suburb now has a Methodist Church and Sunday School also a community Sunday School with a Men’s Bible Class and a Woman’s Bible, Class; with Churches and Sunday Schools of other denominations near-by, and Richmond Churches readily accessible.

Sandston has a twelve-room school house, modern in every respect, with a large assembly hall, and five acres of land, one-half of which is tile-drained for play grounds.

There are three stores, besides fish, fruit and country produce are sold from wagons; morning and evening house to house milk delivery; morning and evening Richmond Newspaper delivery; daily ice delivery; telephones, and a Richmond sub-station Post Office in the Village.

These delightful homes are offered upon terms which enables persons of small means to pay in monthly installments of thirty dollars including interest with a small cash payment.

For full terms and inspection apply at office of
Sandston, Virginia

History Lessons:
Sandston "Firsts"
  • Sandston was the first community in Virginia to have a public Library.
  • Sandston was the first community in the state to adopt the County Manager form of Government.
  • Sandston was the first community in the county with all three: water, sewerage and street lights.
  • Sandston was the first community in Henrico County to have a public park.
  • Believe it or Not: Sandston installed the Dial Telephone System before the City of Richmond.
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Coming Soon:

Seven Pines