The African American History of the Ivy Creek Natural Area
ICNA is an official site on the Virginia African American Heritage Trail in recognition of its rich social and agricultural history dating back to 1870 when former slave Hugh Carr purchased the land as a family farm.
For much of the last century, the Carr and Greer families farmed the land now making up the Ivy Creek Natural Area. In 1870, Hugh Carr, a freed slave, acquired 58 acres for his family to farm. Over the years he added more parcels such that his River View Farm accounted for more than 125 acres by 1890. Hugh Carr, illiterate himself, prioritized education for his seven children. They might have gone to school without shoes, but they went to school! Farmers became a rarity in the family as a result.
The last family member to farm at Ivy Creek was Conly Greer, the husband of Hugh Carr’s daughter, Mary Carr. In 1975, after the death of Mary Carr Greer, founding members of the Ivy Creek Foundation worked with The Nature Conservancy to preserve the area now known as Ivy Creek Natural Area. The Ivy Creek Foundation has always recognized and celebrated the spectacular human history of the Ivy Creek Natural Area.
The Foundation has also striven to learn more about the history and heritage beyond the borders of the natural areas it manages at Ivy Creek and Ragged Mountain. We present on these pages some parts of this local history and are currently considering how we can develop this area of work further.
A free take-home brochure celebrating this incredible story can be found at the kiosk at ICNA and downloadable as a PDF.