Historic Chesterfield landmark, the Justis House, fights to remain standing


Aerial view of the current site of the Justis House (bottom right) adjacent to the future site of Old Hundred Elementary school.

On the lot of the new Old Hundred Elementary School lies a valuable piece of Chesterfield County History. The dilapidated, once beautiful building that currently resides there has been dubbed “The Justis House.” It currently sits abandoned and in a state of disrepair.

The house belonged to the Justis family and was last occupied by Virginia Justis, who passed away in 2015. Virginia Justis was a lifelong teacher, who primarily worked at Midlothian High School. She is heavily revered by former students, as well as moany people who knew her personally. The house has been in her family since 1959, when it was purchased from a previous owner.

There is currently a group working to preserve the house. This group is led by Robert “Peppy” Jones, who knew Mrs. Justis personally.

“She was a force of nature. She was one of a number of teachers from Midlothian from that era who were respected to the highest order and revered by her students,” Jones said. “There was nobody that knew her that didn’t just love her. She had a personality unlike any other.”

Additionally, the house has an incredible amount of historical implications. It is one of 36 remaining 19th century homes in the entirety of Chesterfield County. It provides valuable insight into the past, and showcases the architecture of rural, southern America during the mid 19th century. However, Chesterfield County is attempting to tear it down.

The official statement of Tim Bullis, the executive director of communications & community engagement for Chesterfield County Public Schools, refused to be interviewed and deferred to an already published article. The article is titled titled Is the Justis house history*, in which the official county statement is that the house is merely “an attractive nuisance.”

Between the two parties, a compromise appears to have been reached.

“Our current Intent is to demolish the house and rebuild at Mid-Lothian mines park,” Jones said. “The house will be used as a base for historical actions at Mid-Lothian Mines Park. We have the contractors set up to take everything down and store it. We already have the money to take the house down and store it while we raise the money to rebuild it.”

The house, also known as the Turkey Run Farm, will also be repurposed.

“It will be the Mid-Lothian mines museum and focus on the broader history of this area of the county,” Jones said. “There are some aspects of the county like slavery that will be focused on in this museum.”

According to Jones, this museum will educate people on the comradery of people of all backgrounds.

“We would be able to bring those kinds of stories to the public. A lot of people who didn’t know, we’ll be able to talk to them and teach the sociology aspect of the whole thing to people,” Jones added.

The house will heavily benefit many, including Mid-Lothian mines park and the general public. It will also serve as a monument to Virginia Justis, one of the most revered women in Chesterfield County history.