The Henrico County town of Sydney, laid out
here in 1817, was slow to develop. Oregon Hill, a
working-class Richmond neighborhood just east
of Belvidere Street, expanded westward across
the county line to this area during the 1850s.
Many white laborers, including European
immigrants, and a smaller number of free
African American workers settled here, attracted
by affordable housing near the city's numerous
factories. Richmond annexed this neighborhood
in 1867. Philanthropist Grace Arents contributed
buildings for educational, religious, and social
institutions between 1890 and 1912. The Oregon
Hill Historic District was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1991.