Acca Yard started on a track to prominence in late 1800s

(The following story by Chip Jones appeared on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website on June 21.)

RICHMOND, Va. -- Acca Yard, site of so much modern train congestion, used to house racehorses.

Preston Belvin, a Richmond furniture manufacturer in the 1880s, once owned land near the site of the CSX Corp. freight yard, according to an account provided by the Virginia Historical Society.

Belvin named his property Acca Farm to honor Acca Temple, the local branch of the Shrine Masons. Belvin, known as the father of Acca Temple, named it for the ancient Palestinian city of Akko, or Akka, on the Mediterranean Sea.

Richmond's Acca was a working farm where Belvin bred racehorses, including some of "the area's finest trotters," according to a 1979 article in the Richmond Literature and History Quarterly.

"The prominence of Acca Farm did not go unnoticed," the account states. "Branch's Crossing, which passed across nearby Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Co. tracks, was renamed Acca by the railroad during the 1890s."

The name stuck as Acca Crossing grew in size and scope in the early 20th century.

Preston Belvin sold Acca Farm about 1900 and died in 1929. But before his death, Belvin probably saw Acca Yard linked to an expanding city industrial base.

After a $3 million locomotive shop project was announced in 1924, RF&P President Eppa Hunton Jr. said, "Anything that is a benefit to Richmond is a benefit to the road, and its prosperity grows with the prosperity of the city."

Monday, June 21, 2004

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