The JPA Bridge: After nearly 18 traffic-blocking months of construction, the new bridge opened in September 2012 to cheers from Jefferson Park Avenue residents and businesses that had suffered during its closure.
Downtown Mall: The heart of Charlottesville and a rare urban success story. Built in 1976, expanded in 1985, crossed by traffic in 1995, it's bustling year round but never more so than on Friday nights in spring and summer.
Free Speech Wall: The monument in front of Charlottesville City Hall— made of Buckingham slate— celebrates the first amendment right to freedom of expression by allowing any passerby to write whatever they want on the wall in chalk. That has led to a few less than savory comments and crude images, but supporters say the conversations it sparks and the free expression it celebrates are worth risking the sight of a few "f" bombs.
McIntire Parkway: Okay, so that's no longer the official name of the road that's dividing McIntire Park, but it's what everyone called it for 30 years while it was being debated. Now under construction, it will connect to the County's already built John Warner Parkway. The 250 Bypass Interchange, which will serve as a portal to downtown Charlottesville at the intersection of McIntire Road and Route 250, is being built as this issue goes to press, and it won't be too long before drivers and bikers are zipping along.
Test dummies: You know all those commercials where you see crash test dummies in cars crashing? That happens just up the road past Ruckersville on Route 2p at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Sorry, they won't let the public in there, but they do publish vice of their crash tests.
Fridays After 5: The popular and often-packed free summer concert series held at the east end of the Downtown Mall in the 3,500-seat cement-floored nTelos Wireless Pavilion.
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.
JAG School: At UVA there's the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, operated by the U.S. Army, where military lawyer, known as "JAGs", go to study law and leadership.
Sister cities: Charlorresville has four sister cities, Besançon, France, Pleven, Bulgaria, Poggio a Caiano, Italy, and Winneba, Ghana. Leaders from those cites and Charlottesville often visit each other and exchange culture knowledge and ideas.
JPJ: This has become the standard moniker for UVA's 16,000-seat, $130-million John Paul Jones Arena, opened in 2006. No, it's not named for the Led Zeppelin bassist. Instead, the man who said we should all be "elated" by the June 2012 ouster of UVA President Teresa Sullivan, Paul Tudor Jones II, promised $30 million for the project and got the building named for his father, a Memphis attorney and UVA Law grad.
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 now it's also the name of the radio station at 106.1 FM.
The Dave: The guy who spoke at Monticello's Naturalization Ceremony this year is an immigrant who used to be a bartender at the Downtown Mall, but he got the patriotic speaking gig because he's in a band!
Timberlake's: The town's olde tyme drugstore downtown has been in business since 1890! In proper old tyme fashion, it still delivers. Check out the lunch counter with homemade soup and real ice-cream sodas, and don't miss the fireplace— 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."
Recycling: Oh, the civic battles that have been fought over recycling in this town! Back in 2009, a soft-spoken guy named Peter van der Linde upset the trash collection apple cart by quietly opening a "dirty MuRF," a place that lets your trash man collect everything in one giant bin before it gets sorted. The City has long since embraced Van der Linde's service, and now Albemarle County, which once consented to a lawsuit against him by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, is considering contracting with him.
Louisa: The County just east of Albemarle made international news when a 5.8 tremor struck near the town of Mineral on August 23, 2011 and reverberated across the East Coast. It's also known as home of the North Anna nuclear power plant at Lake Anna and as home of Twin Oaks, a commune where they make hammocks and tofu.
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.
Sacagawea: According to National Geographic, she's the subject of more statues than any other American woman, including the local one with her crouching on West Main Street with the two best-known members of the Lewis & Clark expedition. (We're still holding out for a statue of York, the Albemarle-based slave on the trip.)
Blue Hole: The dreamy little swimming spot on the south fork of the Upper Moormans River. This idyllic place suffered a vandalism in mid 2012 that could lessen its status as what lawyers call an "attractive nuisance," the buzz-saw removal of the tree that held the rope swing. Perp unknown. Don't confuse it with Snake Hole, a smaller swimming spot that's closer to where you park your car.
Weddings & wine: These two are Charlottesville's boomingest industry— along with scads of restaurants and those two traditional favorites: Monticello and the University of Virginia. Apparently love (and love of wine) can survive and thrive even when the economy tanks.
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 really nice place to stay if you want to stroll the Downtown Mall. The owners recently got outbid on the shell of the next place (see below).
The Landmark: Oh, jeepers. It's been five and a half years since ground broke on construction of what should by now be a fully realized luxury hotel. Instead, construction halted amid the financial woes of original owner Halsey Minor. The hulking skeleton has now loomed over the mall for nearly four years and is currently owned by an Atlanta developer, who bought it for a song at auction and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get it done. Someday, perhaps.
Marriott Residence Inn- Normally, a chain hotel wouldn't warrant an entry, but this one— planned for the corner of Ridge-McIntire and West Main Street— will likely have significant impact on Downtown and the West Main corridor. How will the Omni handle the competition? Will it effect traffic? We shall see.
Bodo's: A study in business efficiency, the line can be out the door, but you'll have your bagels faster than you can believe. Way back in the 1990s, the former owner hung a "coming soon" banner on the Corner location, but he didn't open the third jewel in his bagel crown for a decade. He later sold each restaurant to its respective manager.
Queen Charlotte Sophia: Wife of King George III, against whom the colonists fought the Revolution. Fourteen years before we waged war against the mother country, the General Assembly of the Virginia Colony named 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 Gusburger and Grillswith.
Teresa Sullivan: UVA's first female president weathered an attempted coup in summer 2012 and kept her head held high. Now, three years into her presidential term, Sullivan's stayed out of the headlines as she navigates higher education's still undoubtedly shark-filled waters.
Farmington Country Club: Still considered the swankiest place to swing a club, but the past coupla decades have brought stiff competition from Keswick, Glenmore, and UVA-backed Boar's Head.
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 the Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa, he spotted 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/Buckingham Branch) tracks in 1924 as part of a city-wide public works improvement project, it's now Charlottesville's most famous site for public art. Memorable messages: "Hoos for Hokies," painted after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, and 2012's "Sullivan– you are not alone" each remained for about a month.
Jefferson Cup: Designed by the man himself, this low-volume pewter goblet adorns many a high school and college graduate's shelf of unused drinking vessels.
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 just past Monticello on Route 53. (Just over the mountain, a fourth prez, Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton.)
Foxfield: This horse race on Garth Road has become a rite of spring for UVA students and was nearly shut down a decade ago for out-of-control drinking. Law enforcement has much more of a presence these days and race organizers have tried to discourage those who see the event as a drink-a-thon, with some success, although arrest reports for public intoxication are still lengthy. Sundresses and hats are mandatory attire for co-eds, and pity those who forget their sunscreen. The fall races are a more family focused affair.
Sally Hemings: TJ's love interest (and his property) under the crazy world that was the Colonial era. Probably buried under the Hampton Inn on West Main. City leaders opted not to rename 10th Street for her a few years ago.
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.
Biscuit Run: A state park that, we're told, will eventually open on the southwest side of town. It's also the real estate deal that showed that super-rich developers can salvage what might have been a big financial loss through the use of tax credits.
Morgan Harrington: The late 20-year-old Virginia Tech student keeps Charlottesville in the national news for an event we all wish had never happened. After ending up outside a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena in October 2009 and being denied reentry, she vanished. Her body was discovered three months later on an Albemarle County farm, and her death was linked by DNA to an unsolved 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax. Her killer remains at large, and her parents have launched a nonprofit "Help Save the Next Girl."
Peter Jefferson and Martha Jefferson: Besides being an office park and a hospital, these are actual people from back in the day. Peter was a county surveyor who built a house in Shadwell in 1735 (which burned down), but his greater fame came from having a famous son. Martha 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 Sally Hemings, above).
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.)
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center- Historic African American school, after years of sitting empty, has recently been fully renovated into a museum of African American culture and history, a community center offering classes and a gym. Also offers facilities for nonprofits and a café.
Rio Road: "Rio" was the name of a long-gone mill complex on Rio Road, and it likely took its name from its proximity to the Rivanna River (rio being the Spanish word for river, of course). But don't go calling it "REE-o" road— that might be the fastest way you'll give yourself away as a newcomer. It's "RY-O" 'round here. Locals have long 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.