The Meadows at Joe Brooke Farm: ‘A model “rural residential” development’
By: Doug ChildersDrive west on River Road West in eastern Goochland County and four miles past State Route 288, you’ll come upon what looks like the street frontage of a country estate. Stone columns mark the property’s entrance, and horse fences line the roadway that runs through expansive meadows in the distance. It’s fit for an estate in horse country. Except it’s not, at least not anymore. It’s home to the Meadows at Joe Brooke Farm, a 1,050-acre residential development launched 22 years ago by Midlothian Enterprises Inc. The resemblance to a country estate isn’t a coincidence, though. The Meadows, which runs north from River Road West to Cedar Run Road and east from Dover Lake and Dover Creek nearly to Hermitage Road, is one of three luxury communities that Midlothian Enterprises developed in eastern Goochland between 1990 and 2006. (The other two are Randolph Square and Wickham Glen.) In each case, the company was “sensitive to the existing residents’ desire that the rural character of the county be maintained,” said E. Bryson Powell, Midlothian Enterprises’ president. "Our objective was to achieve this by making it appear that visitors were entering a single estate and not a conventional subdivision,” he said. To that end, the company left substantial acreage untouched and natural along the entrances and ensured that none of the homes could be seen from the streets that border the communities. The effect leaves the rural character of the area intact. Powell didn’t create the country-estate vibe out of thin air, though. The Meadows sits on land that was once part of the historic Sabot Hill Farm, and the roadway that leads into the development was originally the driveway for the Joe Brooke house, which still stands in the Meadows development. It's probably the oldest brick house west of Henrico County and reported to have been built by William Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's uncle. William T. Reed Sr., president of the Larus and Brother tobacco company, bought the land in the 1920s, and his son and daughter-in-law lived at Sabot Hill Farm from 1937 until the younger Larus’ death in 1985. (An interesting side note: Charles Lindbergh, the first person to complete a solo flight nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean, landed his plane in a nearby meadow when he visited the Reeds.) In 1989 Reed’s heirs began developing a portion of the farm into the Sabot Hill Farm community. Three years later, Midlothian Enterprises entered a partnership with Reed’s heirs to turn the remaining land into the Meadows at Joe Brooke Farm, and it began a slow, well-concealed transformation. In addition to designing the landscape and installing the development’s roadways, high-speed communications and underground utilities, Midlothian Enterprises sold home sites to individuals and custom home builders from 1992 to 2006. “Some of the builders who purchased lots in the Meadows include J.W. Montague Jr. Inc., Allen Coleman, Pitts & Associates, W.L. Stinson, Peterson Construction and Tuckahoe Creek Construction,” Powell said. Today, the Meadows has 111 houses, each sited on approximately four to six acres of land. “There are only a few remaining privately owned lots, and only three of them are for sale,” said Pam Diemer, a Meadows resident and a real estate agent with Long & Foster Real Estate. Nearly all of the homes in the Meadows were architect-designed and custom-built, and their wide-ranging architectural styles include Colonial Revival, Georgian, English Country and French Country. The community, which is popular with young families, shares ownership of the 145-acre Dover Lake with the Sabot Hill Farm community, and the lake is an important amenity for both communities. “The lake is revered by anglers for its trophy large mouth bass,” Diemer said. “The park there also has racks for homeowners’ electric-powered boats, kayaks and canoes. Stand-up paddle boarding and sailing are also popular.” The amenities at the Meadows – which include a park with a picnic pavilion and trails for biking and horseback riding, as well as lake access – attract home buyers, as do its strong public schools and convenient location. “It’s just 15 minutes to Short Pump Town Center and only five minutes to the new West Creek Medical Center,” Diemer said. “And Hermitage Country Club, Kinloch Golf Club and Richmond Country Club are all within a five-minute drive.” Ultimately, though, the Meadows’ attractive architecture and natural settings top many home buyers’ lists, according to Diemer. “The Meadows offers the promise of country-estate living with the convenience of a suburban neighborhood,” Diemer said.
A Brief History of The Meadows at Joe Brooke Farm
Originally part of Sabot Hill Farm Inc. As written by Joe Ciucci
Joe Brooke Farm has played an important role in the history of Goochland County since Colonial times. The earliest patent on this land was issued to John Woodson in April of 1703. The Joe Brooke property was purchased by Thomas Randolph, the builder of Tuckahoe, in 1728. Upon his death, he left the estate to his son, William Randolph (1738 - 1745). It is believed that Thomas Mann Randolph (William's son) built the Joe Brooke house around 1761. Evidence indicates that the Joe Brooke house is the oldest brick house in Goochland County. The date 1761 can be seen clearly on a brick on the western side of the chimney next to the roof.
The Joe Brook Plantation enjoyed a colorful history for the next 150 years. The properry traded hands several times and was finally purchased by William T. Reed, Sr., president of Larus Tobacco Company in 1925. During this period, Charles Lindberg visited the area to see the Reeds and always landed his plane in the pasture west of the Dover Creek. Today, approximately 120 families will have the opportunity to enjoy the Joe Brooke Farm and call it "home".
The intent is to create a truly fine residential community. Strict attention to architectural detail will ensure each house compliments the neighborhood and fits its particular site. In addition, The Meadows Community Association will be responsible for maintaining the entrance, open space and private roads. Property owners will have access to Dover Lake and can enjoy a lakefront park.
The Meadows at Joe Brooke Farm is being developed for the Reed family by Midlothian Enterprises, Inc., a successful and respected residential developer who enjoys an outstanding reputation for commitment and quality.
The Meadows is conveniently located in eastern Goochland in an attractive rural setting and yet close to shopping, recreational facilities and major arterial roads.