During the early twentieth century Charlottesville's African-American inhabitants made Vinegar Hill their own in many ways. Beginning in the 1920s, Vinegar Hill constituted the economic center for Charlottesville's black population. While segregation remained intact, black businesses in the area served black clientele or both the black and white communities. Despite barriers to education and employment, African Americans gained economic opportunities through a wide range of small businesses in the Vinegar Hill area. Though many rented their Vinegar Hill housing that often lacked running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity, residents lived and worked among their homes, schools, and churches in a close-knit community. Over 55 of the homes and businesses in Vinegar Hill were owned by African Americans.