ANNUAL MANUAL: Our Town- Hookipedia!

Pronouncing Monticello

Although nearly 100 percent of the intelligentsia in this town says "Mon-ti-CHELL-o," quite a lot of bright folks– especially northern transplants living in Fluvanna– say, "mon-ti-SELL-o" or that quirky southern variant, "monna-SELL-uh."

Channel 29

Local NBC affiliate supposedly not named after our biggest road. Bright red jackets come out during winter storms. It now faces competition for the first time since three other networks have set up Charlottesville stations.

The Newsplex

The collective name of the aforementioned three new network affiliates, which are all owned by Gray Television and operate under one roof.

Rio Road

"Rio," which means "river" in Spanish, was most likely used as a name for the old mill and bridge on this road because of their proximity to the Rivanna River. But the Spanish word is pronounced "Ree-o," some may point out. True, but locals at the time may have opted for the long "i" sound, perhaps because it fit with the local pronunciation of the "RY-vanna" river. No one knows for sure, but they do know this: it was never Route 10.

Downtown Mall

An oasis of hipsterdom and a rare urban success story. Built in 1976, expanded in 1985, crossed by traffic in 1995 and 2007. It's where the action is– at least on warm Fridays.

Fridays After 5

Free summer concert series held at the east end of the Downtown Mall. Audiences used to sit on a grassy hill which has disappeared under the spankin' new 3500-seat Charlottesville Pavilion.

The University

The more erudite name for UVA and the full text of one of America's most pretentious bumper stickers.

The Grounds

UVA doesn't have a "campus," it has the Grounds. (And it wasn't built by "TJ;" it was founded by "Mr. Jefferson.") And there's no such thing as a freshman. It's "first year," please.

The Lawn

The original grounds of UVA. Streaking the length of it is considered a rite of passage for students.

The Jack

The folksy diminutive for UVA's new 16,000-seat, $130 million basketball arena. UVA brass prefer "JPJ."

The Corner

Five blocks of fun. According to historian Coy Barefoot, students began using this moniker for the intersection of University Avenue and the central entrance to the University Grounds (where the fancy "honor" gate was erected in 1915) by 1902. The name stuck and eventually came to include all the real estate for several blocks in either direction. Now it's also the name of the radio station at 106.1 FM.

The "The"

Apparently, the word that absolutely must precede all UVA proper nouns.


Short for "Wahoos," the alternative to "Cavaliers" when referring to UVA's athletic teams. Though the University has officially appropriated the unofficial term into its official activities, word has it the origin isn't exactly something the administration embraces. It refers to the wahoo fish, which students embraced as a mascot because of its ability to drink twice its weight.


The acronym for Piedmont Virginia Community College, located just outside the Charlottesville city limits. It's one of America's best-kept education secrets, in part because graduating from its two-year program with at least a 3.4 GPA means automatic admission to UVA as a third-year transfer.


The town's olde tyme drugstore downtown. Still delivers. Still has a lunch counter with homemade soup and real ice-cream sodas. The fireplace is a local gathering spot in winter.

Garrett Square

The old-school name for the low-income housing complex near the Downtown Mall now called "Friendship Court."

County recycling

A cruel joke. In 2003, the County ended its curbside recycling program for everything but newspapers after the market for bottles, cans, and other landfill-packing stuff collapsed.

Three Chopt Road

Also known as Three Notched Road, this colonial version of a highway is essentially the path of today's Route 250, including such historic stretches as the Downtown Mall and West Main Street.


Probably more famous for being on the now-forgotten gold dollar coin, she was one of the few non-local folks in the famous Lewis & Clark expedition. According to the February 2003 National Geographic, she's the subject of more statues– including the local one with her crouching on West Main Street– than any other American woman. We're still hoping for a statue of York, the Albemarle-based slave on the trip.

The Omni

Built by City Council vote and lots of taxpayer dollars in the mid-1980s, it's simultaneously a symbol of government excess and a nice place to stay if you want to stroll the Downtown Mall.


Charlottesville's fastest bagels– and slowest opening schedule. The owner, Brian Fox, hung a "coming soon" banner on the Corner location in 1995. A decade after the sign went up– and to bagel-lovers' awe and disbelief– Fox finally opened on the Corner and placed the third jewel in his bagel crown. Fox sold the franchise this year, but bagel fans need not fear. He kept it in the family by selling each location to its respective manager.

Queen Charlotte Sophia

Wife of King George III, the royal the colonists fought the Revolution against. Fourteen years before waging war against the mother country, the General Assembly of the Virginia Colony elected to name the seat of Albemarle County for this young lady.

The White Spot

It's just a restaurant, but no glossary of the town is complete without mentioning this Corner mainstay and its Gus Burger and Grillswith.

Farmington Country Club

Still considered the swankiest place to swing a club, but the past decade has brought stiff competition from Keswick and Glenmore.

Jack Jouett

If there had been a southern poet as sharp as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, schoolchildren might be reading less about Paul Revere and more about this guy, who warned TJ away from death or capture when the British invaded Charlottesville in 1781. Camping out on the lawn of Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa, he spotted some British soldiers moving toward Charlottesville and took off on his trusty steed to spread the alarm.

Beta Bridge

Built over the C&O (now CSX) tracks in 1924 as part of a city-wide public works improvement project, it's now Charlottesville's most famous– and most-often-changing– site for public art. During the school year, it's typically repainted almost every day.

Jefferson Cup

Designed by the man himself, these low-volume pewter goblets gather dust on many a high school and college graduate's shelf of unused drinking vessels.

Meriwether Lewis

Intrepid Ivy-born explorer of the American West– and name of a private school cleverly disguised as a public school.

Federal Executive Institute

A former hotel on Emmet Street, now the site of a swanky sort of continuing education center for federal bureaucrats– er, executives. Typical tuition: $9,000– paid for by Uncle Sam (eg, you).

"Not gay"

Homophobia still reigns at UVA football games, as some students improvise their own special line in "The Good Old Song," sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne."

"No beer, Cavalier"

Legend has it that R.E.M. inserted a UVA reference into their 1987 classic "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." Two years earlier when Robert O'Neil became President of UVA, he banned alcohol from fraternity rush. R.E.M. played UVA often in those days as part of the East Coast college circuit, and thus many an alum believes that the lyric that's officially, "Watch a heel crush, crush/ Uh-oh this means no fear, cavalier," is actually "Watch O'Neil crush rush/ Uh-oh this means no beer, Cavalier." Judge for yourself– Michael Stipe sings the lyric one minute and 20 seconds into the song. 

Three presidents

Besides the ever-present "Mr. Jefferson," Central Virginia lays claim to at least two other presidents: James Madison, whose home, Montpelier, is in nearby Orange County, and James Monroe, whose more modest digs, Ash-Lawn Highland, sit near Monticello on Route 53. Just over the mountain, Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton.


Who knew that the quest for a nice little horse race in Charlottesville would lead to a rite of spring that has replaced a notorious annual UVA bacchanalian fest? After the early '80s cancellation of "Easters," students needed another outlet for spring fever. They found it at Foxfield. Begun quietly in 1978, the races now draw over 10,000 for spring and fall runnings. However, in recent years, spurred by resident complaints of urine-soaked shrubs and drunk driving, County officials have asked police to keep closer tabs on the shindig. 

Topless bars

None in the City or surrounding counties. And why not? Officially, they're not illegal, but Virginia ABC law requires that all bars be restaurants. That means that 45 percent of the sales of any such racy establishment would have to come from food sales– and that's a tough ticket when your customers are less interested in surf & turf than T&A.

Sally Hemings

TJ's love interest. Probably buried under the Hampton Inn on West Main. City leaders opted not to rename 10th Street for her a few years ago.

Roosevelt Brown

The pro football Hall of Famer who played right tackle for the New York Giants (1953-65) was born in Charlottesville in 1932. He's the home-town hero who beat out Sally Hemings for naming rights to the 10th Street connector, now officially Roosevelt Brown Boulevard.

The car bumper statue

That big silver statue outside St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on Alderman Road is actually made out of old car bumpers. Sculptor/priest Father Henry Mascotte created a statue of a meditating Aquinas in the mid-1960s by piecing together auto salvage from around South Bend, Indiana.

Peter Jefferson and Martha Jefferson

Besides being an office park and a hospital, these are actual people from back in the day. Peter Jefferson was a county surveyor who built a house in Shadwell in 1735 (unfortunately, it burned down), but his greater fame came from having a famous son. Martha Jefferson was TJ's wife who bore him a daughter of the same name, after whom the hospital is named. After the elder Martha died in 1782, Jefferson vowed never to remarry, opting to remain a widower for the next 44 years. His vow apparently did not preclude intimacy, however (see above, Sally Hemings). 

Vinegar Hill

Considered a slum, this racially mixed but mostly African-American neighborhood of homes and businesses was bulldozed in the early 1960s when "urban renewal" was all the rage. (The art house movie theater by this name opened in 1976.)

Earl Hamner Jr.

Just another kid in the Nelson County town of Schuyler during the Depression, he put his memories on paper, and one of the most long-lasting TV shows was born: The Waltons.


Used to be the bartender at Downtown pub Miller's until he threw it all away and started a band.


Dave's manager. Has a thumb in many Charlottesville pies, including the new pavilion at the end of the Downtown Mall, the Jefferson Theater, many, many restaurants, and


The house that Dave built? Not really; it was promoter Coran Capshaw who kept the place consistently booked before Tuesday-nights-with-DMB became legendary. And lest we forget, DMB had a manager before Capshaw, one Charles Newman. Trax was reduced to rubble in December 2002 to make way for a UVA hospital annex of some sort that's yet to materialize.