bon air as a resort destination
“.The altitude is so great that he may enjoy each night’s sleep as profound and refreshing as he will find in the heart of the Alleghenies.”- from a PR brochure produced by the Richmond & Danville Railroad, 1882
exaggerated environmental claims promoted Bon Air (“good air”) as a summer resort for both Richmond residents and excursionists by the Bon Air Land & Improvement Company. That the air was good and a draw was due to the higher elevation, a mere 200 feet above Richmond, and an absence of the wetland environment that bred mosquitos and contributed to Malaria or the threat of it.
Accessible by an eight mile railroad trip, the trains ran from 6:35 AM to 11:20 PM, arriving at the Bon Air station in 20 minutes, for a round trip fare of 25 cents. A special excursion every Tuesday and Friday afternoon included music on the train, as well as at the Dancing Pavilion. The station house was brought from the Atlanta Exposition and rebuilt at Bon Air. (Unfortunately it is no longer in existence.)
Bon Air Station
Attractions included the Bon Air Hotel (which burned down), and the Cottage, an annex to the Hotel, now an apartment building called the Old Bon Air Hotel Apartments, at the corner of Buford and Old Bon Air Road. Originally the two buildings were opposite each other across Chesterfield Avenue (Old Bon Air Road.) The present day Bon Air Community center occupies the former excursion grounds, on the Dancing Pavilion site.
The Cottage in 1881 Bon Air Hotel