Who and What came first…Chesterfield County…”
Native Americans who hunted and fished along the banks of the James and Appomattox rivers inhabited the area that now is Chesterfield County. In 1607, when the English arrived at Jamestown, the region formed a border between the Algonquin-speaking Appomattox of the Powhatan Empire and the Sioux-speaking Monacan tribes. In 1722, Chesterfield became a county in its own right when the area south of the James River was separated from Henrico County.
In 1807 the Manchester Turnpike, later called Midlothian Turnpike, was built and is recorded to be first gravel paved road in America. This road enabled the coalmines founded and flourishing in Midlothian to transport the mined coal more easily. President Thomas Jefferson bought Midlothian coal to heat the White House. These coalmines would play a significant role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Later in the 1880’s residents of Richmond began to populate Bon Air, just to the west of Surreywood, to escape the summer heat of the city. While there were small-populated settlements and some industry in the county, for the most part, Chesterfield County remained a thriving rural area, of mostly forest and farmland, well into the early twentieth century.
“In the beginning – the Turner-Davis Land Tract…”
In the late 1930’a and early 1940’s, two prominent Chesterfield County residents, Jim Turner and A.L. Davis, had the idea to built a housing development. They began purchasing rural land in the county, southwest of Richmond City, just east of Midlothian Turnpike and west of Hull Street Road. Their plan was to build homes on lots ranging in size from 1 to 2 acres. A new road adjacent to the Turner-Davis land tract was cut from Hull Street Road to Elkhardt Road and became Pocoshock Boulevard. A few homes were built along the road and the area was named Pocoshock Hills. .However, World War II slowed the progress of the Turner-Davis housing development plan.
Shortly after the war, a private road was built from Pocoshock Boulevard, through the forest, and across what would later become Lancashire Drive. It wound its way westward to the site on which Bernard Davis, and architect, built his “rock” house in 1946-47. In 1953, Dr. and Mrs. P.H. Drewry, who live there for more than 25 years, purchased the Rock House, which is now 7825 Lakeforest Drive.
Development of the Turner-Davis Land Tract – The Surreywood Subdivision…
In 1967, The Surreywood Land Corporation bought 161 acres from the estates of Jim Turner and A.L. Davis for developing the Surreywood subdivision. Construction began in the spring of 1968. T.L. Timmons and Associates designed the layout of Surreywood and engineered its development.
The first Surreywood foundational footings were poured on the same day at 2121 and 2200 Lancashire Drive. The first residents of Surreywood were Ken and Gay Scott, who moved into 2121 Lancashire Drive on Labor Day of 1968. Forrest and Melba Jolly were the second family to move in at 2200 Lancashire Drive on October 14, 1968. In 2010, Mrs. Jolly continues to reside at this location. There were no street signs in Surreywood and the Post Office would not deliver mail in the subdivision. The first houses in Surreywood were selling for $29,750 to $33,000.
The original entrance into Surreywood was Dell Drive. It was the stem, connecting a circle of streets, consisting of (a small section) of Lancashire, Stonetree, Bloomsherry and Yorkdale Drives. These were the only paved streets and constituted Surreywood’s “Section A”.
In 1977, Surreywood Land Corporation bought nine-acres from Dr. Drewry, and five-acres from the Hancock Estate, which enabled them to complete the development of Surreywood. Lancashire Drive was extended, east to its present day cul-de-sac. Lakeforest Drive and Oakwater Court were cut through from Lancashire Drive and paved. Sixty additional homes were built, which comprised Section G. This final phase of construction brought the total number of homes in Surreywood (including Surreywood North) to 505 on about 255 acres of land. Two parcels of land remained undeveloped, as the sites were thought to be less than desirable for building. However, in the early 1990’s these two parcels were developed, bringing the total number of Surreywood homes to 507.
The Development of Surreywood North…
In 1972, the Surreywood North Corporation bought eighty-acres of land adjoining Surreywood and began construction of Surreywood North in 1973. Lancashire Drive, which ended at Surreywood Drive, was extended to Pocoshock Boulevard. Dulles Drive was cut from Pocoshock, thus creating two additional Surreywood entrances from Pocoshock Boulevard. The Surreywood North development began as a separate and distinct community apart from Surreywood. However, in the late 1970’s,when Surreywood North residents were unable to get a active, working civic association off the ground, the Surreywood Civic Association stepped in and offered to support the two developments, and through this offer, the communites soon began to function as one community. Today, few residents remember when the two communities were separate developments.
The developers advertised Surreywood as “A Quiet Colony of Traditional Homes” The name “Surreywood” comes from Surrey, a county in southeast England, and also pays homage to its forest or wooded beginnings. A map book of London entitled Chichester’s Map and Guide of London provided many of the names for Surreywood’s streets. However, there are a few exceptions: Pocoshock Blvd, Elmart Lane and Dell Drive, had their names before Surreywood was developed. The name Stonetree was assigned to a street where a tree was growing out of a large rock on a lot adjoining Surreywood Drive. Unfortunately, the county assigned the name to the wrong end of Bloomsherry Drive! Capelwood Drive is named after Jim Capel, one of the first two realtors for Surreywood homes through Napier & Savage. Juanoak Drive is named for the other realtor, Juan Anderson. Rayanne Drive is named for Juan’s son, Ray, and his wife, Anne.
Surreywood is considered a lake community. Some plats show the lake as Lake Surrey, while others have it named Lake Surreywood. The lake is considered to be man-made due to the dam at the lower end. However, natural springs throughout the lake acreage feed the lake. In 1968, as development progressed close to the lake, it appeared likely that Native-Americans had a campground on the creek near the present dam, as the area gave forth-significant numbers of arrowheads after heavy rains. There were remnants of an earlier dam above the present one. County old-timers said, “before refrigeration, the old dam was used to block up the water so ice blocks could be cut in the winter for use in the summer.” In the early years, the lake was used boating, fishing and swimming. Surreywood Land Corporation retained ownership of the 14.3-acre lake until March 25, 1975, when they deeded the entire lake property to the Surreywood Civic Association. More…
The Surreywood Civic Association
Organized by the developers and dedicated community-minded residents, on April 18, 1973, the Surreywood Civic Association was admitted to record in the office of the State Corporation Commission as Surreywood Civic Association, Inc. At the end of development, the Surreywood Land and North Surreywood Land Corporations deeded the lake, all common areas and the oversight of the Restrictive Covenants with all the rights and privileges of the developers to the Surreywood Civic Association (SCA).
Membership in the SCA is voluntary; however, the majority of homeowners become members. An executive board of elected volunteers who meet monthly conducts the operation of the association. There are two (2) General Membership Meetings held in the spring and fall of each year.
The Swim Club
In order to provide for a recreational area within the community, Surreywood Land Corporation deeded land to the Surreywood Swim Club, Inc. as follows: May 2, 1972, 1.9 acres; March 25, 1975, 4.4 acres; and October 28, 1982, 1.6 acres. In July of 1972, the first pool opened. Three tennis courts opened in the summer of 1973, two more opened in May of 1976. A second lap pool opened in May of 1978, proving a huge enhancement for the Surreywood Swim Team. In 1974, the swim club added a children’s playground and a picnic area with small, in ground, charcoal grills placed around the picnic area. Use of the pools and tennis courts are for members, however the playground is open to all residents. In 2007 and 2009, the civic association made a large donation to update the playground equipment for both esthetics and safety. For more info, Surreywood.Org
“Let there be Light” – Street Lights come to Surreywood…
For twenty-two (22) years, Surreywood residents relied on porch lights to illuminate its streets. About 1990, our Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors representative, Arthur Warren, gave Surreywood an opportunity to have street lights installed. The decision where to place the streetlights was made by looking a school bus pick up intersections and those parts of the community that appeared very dark. In order for installation to take place, the homeowners, in view of the selected intersections, had to approve the installation. The addition of the acorn shaped streetlights with their dark green poles melded well with the ambiance and architecture of our traditional community.
Paving Our Streets with…
The original paving of the streets of Surreywood was accomplished with a mixture of tar and gravel with a slurry (oily) topping. Periodically, additional slurry was applied. This road treatment left a rough texture on our roads that over time produced a great deal of loose gravel that was not friendly to walkers or bicyclers. In 2002, through the major effort of Surreywood resident, Richard Page, the Virginia Department of Transportation repaved all the streets in Surreywood with asphalt.
Decorative Streets Signs…
Like most county streets, Surreywood had the standard street signs provided by the county. In 1994, the SCA began to investigate the possibility of installing distinctive, upscale street signs that would better match our entrance signs and reflect the ambiance of Surreywood.
Larger wooden signs, painted dark green with reflective lettering, hanging on large wrought-iron looking brackets, attached to four by four posts, were installed in 1995. In 2008, the signs were refurbished. At that time, the SCA membership voted to place $5.00 of every dues payment in a restricted sign account for future repairs or replacement of our distinctive signs.
We fly the Flag!
Shortly after the tragedy of 9/11, the SCA board outfitted the main entrance sign with two residential sized American flags. Since the sign was already lighted at night, these lights also provided nighttime lighting for the flags. In 2005, the flags were stolen. At the next meeting of the SCA general membership, the members voted to replace and maintain American flags at this location. In 2010, the SCA replaced the two small poles and flags with a commercial grade, 20-foot flagpole. It was erected directly behind the Dell Drive entrance sign. This flagpole flies an all weather 4X6 American Flag. Following the US Flag code, our flag is always illuminated after sundown.
Hurricane Isabel comes for a visit…
Virginian’s are used to coastal storms, so the hurricane that hit Richmond in September of 2003 was highly unusual in our piedmont area. Surreywood was hard hit with high winds and heavy rain that caused trees to uproot themselves. These 75-100 foot trees crashed through roofs, knocked down chimneys, fell on and demolished cars and blocked our roads. Tree limbs crashed into siding, windows and screened porches. High winds tore off roofs, and made several garden sheds into projectiles. Some homeowner lost multiple trees, which changed once shady yards and gardens into to full sun yards.
As night came, trees could be heard falling over like bowling pins, and those that had basements spent the night there. The uprooted trees left huge craters in many yards that required several dump truck loads of dirt to fill them in!
When the storm moved on, every entrance into and out of Surreywood was blocked by fallen trees and debris. However, the spirit of the neighborhood was something to behold. As soon as it was light, men with chainsaws and chains on pick up trucks began the arduous task of clearing the roads. Neighbors truly helped neighbors dig out of this disaster . Some sections of Surreywood lost electrical power for 12 days. Neighbors, who had power or a generator, generously shared a hot cup of coffee or a meal with those that were blacked out.
Tree Surgeons, with cranes that could pull trees off of damaged roofs, and building contractors were in short supply. Sometimes a homeowner had to wait for a week or more to get a contractor or tree company to help shore up their home. Many homes sported blue and green tarps for many weeks. Hurricane Isabel is listed as one of the costliest storms to hit the Richmond area.
Email Notification System
In 2008, the SCA contracted to provide an Email Notification System for the community. This instant messaging system allows us to notify the community of upcoming events, a lost dog, or any disaster or police action that could provide our resident’s with information that would benefit their health and safety.
Surreywood Is On The World Wide Web!
In 2009, the SCA executive board began discussion on the need for a Surreywood website. The board appointed several members to research this concept. This group determined the needed content that would best serve the community. They interviewed several web designers, looking at their designs and settled on two people who worked for the Martin Agency to design our website. One board member was selected to work directly with the designers and to oversee the gathering of information needed by our designers for an outstanding website. Then 2009 Security Chair, Ron Paquette agreed to take on this arduous task. Later, Ron was elected as the 2010 Communications Chair. The new website was unveiled to the SCA membership at the November 1, 2010 General Membership meeting. In 2016 the website was re-designed by acting Scene Editor, Carley Hamilton to a responsive theme to keep up with the times.
(This history is deemed to be accurate. If anyone can provide further additions or corrections, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)