In the early 1870s, formerly enslaved John Coles and Benjamin Brown purchased land from former slaveholder W.G. Carr in exchange for labor, beginning settlement of the district that would come to be called Proffit. In 1876, Ned Brown purchased seventy-five acres in the same area, subdividing them into small lots and laying the foundation for the village. The community grew as other former slaves began to purchase lots and buildings on former plantation lands. The Proffit Station rail depot and post office, named for white landowner James Proffit who sold property to the Virginia Midland Railroad, opened in 1881, bringing white settlers and new commercial establishments to the area. The village expanded and thrived economically between 1880 and 1930.
US Route 29 opened in the early 1930s, replacing the community railroad as the principal route of commerce between Proffit and Charlottesville. As a result, Proffit Station closed by the late 1940s and the post office by the 1960s, transforming the lively village into the residential community visitors find today.
The Proffit district is one of the few surviving African-American communities established in Albemarle County after the Civil War. The congregation of the Evergreen Baptist Church is still active in the community. Organized in 1888 with eleven members, the Church building was erected several years later in 1891 by the Reverend D.L. Gofney, the Church's first pastor. Until recently, the Church held regular worship services and Sunday school and was involved in various area activities. On June 24, 2000, Proffit residents gathered at Evergreen Baptist Church for the unveiling of a Proffit Historic District highway marker.
The Proffit village center is located 2.5 miles east of US Route 29 on VA 649, a scenic secondary road leading away from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport. In addition to Evergreen Baptist Church, located at 2309 Proffit Road, other historical structures include the Proffit Station Master's House, built in the 1890s; the stone building that contained the first Proffit Post Office, circa 1900; the one-lane, wood-decked Proffit Road bridge, rebuilt to resemble the nineteenth-century original; and several abandoned houses, built in the 1880s by African-American families whose descendents still own land and live in Proffit today.
Geographical and Contact Information
Proffit Road (County Route 649) near Mossing Ford Lane (County Route 741), on the right when traveling south