Ghent, the city's most fashionable streetcar suburb at the turn of the twentieth century, takes its name from a local farm, itself named for the Treaty of Ghent, the agreement that ended the War of 1812. The oldest section of the neighborhood dates from the 1890s, when Philadelphia engineer John Graham platted the subdivided farmland along the bent axis of Colonial Avenue. Now designated as the Ghent Historic District, this section is bounded by a semicircular inlet of the Elizabeth River known as the Hague (Smith's Creek) and West Olney Road. Substantial residential development continued north of West Olney Road well into the twentieth century. A second historic district has been created in the area bounded by West Olney Road, College Avenue, West Princess Anne Road, and the east side of Colonial Avenue. The former East Ghent, the area to the north of West Olney Road and east of Colonial Avenue, was razed during the 1970s to make way for new housing. It is now rebuilt as Ghent Square, a neotraditional neighborhood that covers 160 acres and combines single-family dwellings, town houses, condominiums, and apartments.
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