Advantageously situated at the head of navigation on the James River, Richmond has been a serial capital city through the centuries. When this was the land of the Powhatan tribe it was one of their capitals, often called Shocquohocan, or Shockoe. The English began attempts at a settlement here as early as 1609 but development did not take until 1645 when Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James. On October 27, 1673 Englishman William Byrd was granted 1,200 acres on the James River and became a prosperous fur trader on the land that would become modern-day Richmond.
In 1779 the capital of Virginia was moved out of Williamsburg to Richmond, following the flow of western-bound settlers to a more centralized location. At the time there were only 684 people living in the town and Governor Thomas Jefferson and the government had to scramble for rented and temporary quarters. Virginians embraced their new capital, however, and by 1790 the population had swelled to 3,761 and by 1800 had reached 5,730.
Richmond soon blossomed as the leading industrial center of the American South. The furnaces of the Tredegar Iron Works and Belle Isle Iron Works were stocked in 1833 and soon became the largest manufacturing site outside of the industrial North. Richmond flour mills also knew no equal and its factories hummed turning out paper and cigars and fertilizer. The city was a major transportation center and was the site of the world’s first triple railroad crossing.
Richmond became a capital city once again when the Confederate government moved here from Montgomery, Alabama in the early days of the Civil War in 1861, chiefly to be close to the crucial munitions coming out of the Tredegar Iron Works. It immediately became the focus of Abraham Lincoln’s Army of the Potomac and the first major campaign against Richmond took place in June of 1862. Union General George McClellan failedduring the Seven Days Battles and it would not be for another three years that the capital city and the Confederacy would fall. On April 3, 1865, Richmond was evacuated and burned by its own people. It is estimated that one in every four Richmond buildings was destroyed in the blaze.
Richmond weathered the Reconstruction Era better than most and was soon the most densely populated city in the South. The world’s first cigarette-rolling machine was introduced in the city at that time and the world’s first successful electric street car system appeared on its streets. But like all American cities, Richmond’s manufacturing presence waned through the 20th century and today its economic engine is powered by law, finance, government and as a popular location for corporate headquarters.
Our walking tour will concentrate on the downtown area where Richmond’s historic warehouse district is located on the banks of the James River and where the city’s “Wall Street” can be found. But we will begin on the top of a hill where Thomas Jefferson once stood and sketched out the future home of the government that defines Richmond...
Virginia State Capitol
In 1779 the Virginia removed from Williamsburg for Richmond although there was no building ready for them. Thomas Jefferson and his French architectural collaborator Charles-Louis Clérisseau set about creating the first American public building in the form of a classical temple. The stucco-clad brick building would not be completed until 1800. This was the seat of government for the Confederate States of America and it was here Robert E. Lee assumed command of all Virginia forces. The grounds were formally landscaped by Maxmillian Godefroy in 1816 and given a more naturalistic curving makeover in the middle of the 19th century. New wings for the Virginia House and Senate were completed in 1906. Both grounds and building have received thoughtful renovations through the decades but nothing that would prevent Mr. Jefferson from recognizing the core of his pioneering design.
FACING THE CAPITOL BUILDING, AROUND TO ITS WEST SIDE, YOUR LEFT.
Virginia Washington Monument
northwest corner of Capitol Square
This bronze group was the first of Richmond’s many outdoor monuments, conceived to honor Virginia’s native sons and their role in the battle for American independence. There were rumblings about honoring George Washington as early as 1816 and the Commonwealth of Virginia even proposed to relocate the remains of the most famous Virginian of them all in Richmond. The cornerstone for the memorial was not laid until Washington’s 118th birthday on February 22, 1850, however, and the statue, designed by Thomas Crawford, was not unveiled until four years later. It is the second equestrian statue of General Washington in the United States. There was still hope that Capitol Square would become Washington’s last resting place and Crawford incorporated a tomb with a massive stone door into his design of the monument but he would never leave his beloved Mount Vernon and the tomb remains empty. Crawford also completed the statues of Thomas Jefferson representing his contribution to Independence and Patrick Henry signifying Revolution. Randolph Rogers sculpted George Mason (Bill of Rights), John Marshall (Justice), Thomas Nelson, Jr. Finance) and Andrew Lewis (Colonial Times). Also sprinkled around the Capitol Square grounds are bronze statues of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate governor William “Extra Billy” Smith and surgeon Hunter Holmes McGuire. This tavern became Jacob Opp’s Inn during the Revolutionary War, and was the residence of Continental Army officers during the time of General Sullivan’s campaign. Opp also placed a wooden Indian outside the hotel to attract the Indian trade, in particular. A hostelry has been operated on the site ever since that time, under various names, although the building may have been “razed” and remodeled.
WALK DOWN THE HILL OF CAPITOL SQUARE TO THE SOUTHWEST CORNER.
southwest corner of Capitol Square at Bank and 10th streets
The Bell Tower began life in 1824 as a guardhouse for the Virginia Capitol Guard and a town signal tower. Builder Levi Swan incorporated classical elements in the square brick tower that replaced an earlier wooden structure. Swan used blind arches on the faces of the tower and put an octagonal belvedere on top. The tower is trimmed out in Acquia sandstone. After ringing out alerts to Union troop advances during the Civil War the Bell Tower slid into into neglect. The Bell Tower became an early beneficiary of the historic preservation movement in the early 1900s and received a facelift and new belvedere. Since the 1930s the bell’s main duty has been to call the Virginia General Assembly into session.
WALK ACROSS 9TH STREET ONTO FRANKLIN STREET.
Virginia Supreme Court
100 North 9th Street at Franklin Street
The Supreme Court of Virginia traces its origins back to 1623 when the Virginia House of Burgesses created a five-man appellate court. The Neoclassical building that houses the seven justices today was built for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in 1919. Howard Sill, a Baltimore architect better known for his Colonial house designs, won the commission and delivered an imposing building notable for its parade of fluted Ionic columns marching across the facades. In 1981, after forty years of hearing cases in the State Library Building, the Supreme Court set up shop here.
707 East Franklin Street
Robert E. Lee came to this house after surrendering his army at Appomattox. It had been the wartime home of his family, first used by his son General George Washington Custis Lee and then by his wife and daughters after their Arlington home was confiscated in 1864. General Lee stayed briefly before moving permanently to Lexington. The house was one of a group of five constructed by tobacco merchant Norman Stewart between 1844 and 1849 and stands as one of the Richmond’s finest surviving Greek Revival townhouses.
TURN LEFT ON 7TH STREET. TURN LEFT ON EAST MAIN STREET AND BEGIN YOUR TOUR OF RICHMOND’S “WALL STREET.”
First National Bank
825-27 East Main Street
This is Richmond’s first skyscraper, erected in 1913. Rising 19 stories, it reigned as the city’s tallest building until 1930. Alfred Charles Bossom designed the limestone and granite tower in the Neoclassical style in the form of an ancient columns with a distinct base (the powerful fluted Corinthian columns), a shaft (the unadorned middle floors) and a decorative capital (an ornate cornice that was removed in the 1970s). The First National Bank was founded in April 1865 and one of its first customers was Robert E. Lee, who surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox only eight days earlier. The bank emerged from Reconstruction as the city’s strongest and in position to raise Richmond’s first steel-frame skyscraper. The building dodged conversion into condominiums in the 1980s and remains an office complex as it approaches its centennial.
The Mutual Building
909 East Main Street
The “Mutual Assurance Society, against Fire on Buildings, of the State of Virginia” was incorporated by the General Assembly on December 22, 1794. Still in operation, it is the third oldest mutual fire insurance company in business in the country and is Virginia’s oldest continuously operated corporation. The Society erected one of Richmond’s first high-rise office buildings in 1904 when New York architects Clinton & Russell delivered a nine-story U-shaped Neoclassical Revival structure with a central light court. The Mutual Building forms a strong Doric impression with a doorframe surrounded by two-story Doric columns and Doric pilasters separating upper story windows. An additional three stories were tacked onto the building in 1912.
United States Post Office and Customs House
1000 East Main Street
Completed in 1858, this formidable Italianate structure was the site of one-stop shopping for the Federal government in Richmond for the better part of the 19th century - the post office, customs house and courts were all contained within its Petersburg granite walls. Those stout walls enabled it to be the only building in the area to survive the fire that accompanied the evacuation of Richmond at the end of the Civil War. When subsequent expansions came along in the early 20th century the same locally quarried granite was used and the Italianate style mimicked.
American National Bank Building
1001 East Main Street
The core of this building was constructed in 1904 as a three-bay, nine-story tower designed by Baltimore architects James Wyatt and William Nolting. They outfitted the little skyscraper with Renaissance Revival details. Five years later Virginia architect Charles K. Bryant added another three bays to the east and added two floors up top. At the roofline was a decorative cornice and a parapet. In the 1960s a modernization plan stripped away all the architectural flourishes and the building was covered with a metal skin with metal windows. In 2003 a rehabilitation crew re-installed the original decorative elementsusing modern materials so what you see today is much as you would have seen 100 plus years ago.
American Trust Company
1005 East Main Street
Bank specialists Louis Mowbray and Justin Uffinger designed this Neoclassical vault in 1919 for the American Trust Company. Scarcely an inch of the limestone-faced building lacks ornamentation up to the decorative parapet with turned balusters. The entablature sports acanthus leaves and cartouches and above the capital on each column is a classical head. The building approaches its second century as a restaurant.
1007-1013 East Main Street
In the 1850s the cheapness and availability of cast iron led James Bogardus of New York City to advocate and design buildings using cast iron components. Cast iron could be forged into a wide array of shapes and designs, allowing elaborate facades that were far cheaper than traditional stone carved ones. These facades could also be painted a wide array of colors. Many of these buildings had elaborate Neoclassical or Romanesque designs. Mostly used on commercial and industrial buildings, cast-iron provided an attractive alternative for a rebuilding South after the Civil War. Franklin Stearns purchased this choice downtown real estate for $32,100 in 1865 and constructed this four-story, half-block commercial building in four distinct sections. Details include entrances framed by Corinthian columns and rounded arches with spiraling vines, topped by a garland and rosebud. Vines, garlands, and rosebuds also decorate the windows, and a heavy cornice with large and ornate brackets draws the eyes up from the street level.
Donnan-Asher Iron-Front Building
1207-1211 East Main Street
Ignore the ground story and look up to see one of the finest cast iron facades in the city. John Asher and Williams S. Donnan invested their 1866 commercial block with an Italianate style of tall, slender windows and an abundance of arches. The upper three floors remain unaltered but the first floor suffered an unfortunate remodeling in 1966 to install large plate glass shop windows.
TURN RIGHT ON GOVERNOR STREET AND WALK INTO THE HEART OF THE SHOCKOE HISTORIC DISTRICT, THE REMNANTS OF RICHMOND’S DAYS AS A BUSY PORT CITY.
101 Shockoe Slip at East Cary Street
Shockoe Slip was laid out prior to Thomas Jefferson’s 1782 plan for the City. Hard by the James River, it has long been at the heart of Richmond’s commercial and economic life with vast quantities of tobacco and produce passing through “The Slip.” The distinguished Columbian Block helps frame a small triangular plaza within the cobblestone-paved Shockoe Slip District. It was erected in 1871 on the site of the large Columbian Hotel that was wiped out in the general burning of the warehouse district during the evacuation of Richmond in 1865. The upper two stories of the Italianate-styled building served as a commodity exchange. It looks out on a 1905 fountain in the center of the plaza where horses hauling freight wagons could stop for a well-deserved drink. The fountain has an urn-type design in the Italian Renaissance style, with an octagonal base in solid stone. Charles S. Morgan donated the fountain whose inscription on one side reads “In memory of one who loved animals.”
AFTER EXPLORING THE WAREHOUSE DISTRICT, RETURN TO EAST MAIN STREET AT GOVERNOR STREET. AT THIS POINT YOU CAN CHOOSE A DETOUR TO CHECK OUT ONE OF RICHMOND’S OUTSTANDING LANDMARKS. IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO TAKE THE DETOUR, CONTINUE WALKING NORTH ON GOVERNOR STREET. TO TAKE THE DETOUR, WALK TWO BLOCKS EAST ON EAST MAIN STREET UNDER I-95.
Main Street Station and Trainshed
1520 East Main Street
The Seaboard Air Line was America’s major north-south rail line in the 19th century and at this point it crossed the tracks of the Chesapeake and Ohio. Railroad architects Wilson, Harris and Richards of Philadelphia tapped elements of French Renaissance architecture to craft this monumental five-story depot of stone and brick in 1901. Attached to the rear was a 400-foot cast iron train shed. Main Street Station reigned as the gateway to the city until passenger service was discontinued in 1975. The National Historic Landmark was flooded by Hurricane Agnes and damaged by fire twice but re-opened as an Amtrak station in 2003.
AFTER VIEWING MAIN STREET STATION, RETURN TO GOVERNOR STREET AND TURN RIGHT TO RESUME THE MAIN TOUR.
219-223 Governor Street
These are the remnants of what was once one of Richmond’s most prestigious residential addresses. James Marion Morson, a lawyer, constructed this trio of bowfront townhouses as high-end rental property in 1853. The brick buildings were dressed in stucco and scored to give the appearance of stone blocks. Alfred Lybrook, who learned his trade in Germany, provided the pioneering Italianate design which was to become commonplace on city streets. The buildings retain their hallmarks of the style - cast iron window hoods and bracketed cornices.
TURN LEFT ON CAPITOL STREET AND WALK BACK INTO CAPITOL SQUARE. TURN LEFT AND WALK THROUGH THE GATE.
Virginia Governor’s Mansion
northeast corner of Capitol Square
Completed in 1813 and approaching its third century of service, the Virginia Governor’s Mansion is the oldest building continuously used as an executive residence in the United States. Alexander Parris, a New England architect who began his career as a housewright and lighthouse designer, delivered an elegantly proportioned Federal design for the new Governor’s Mansion that is the third state-owned executive residence and the second in Richmond. Governor James Barbour and his family were the first occupants.
WALK BACK OUT TO CAPITOL STREET AND TURN LEFT, TURN RIGHT ON 11TH STREET AND WALK ONE BLOCK TO THE BROAD STREET.
Old City Hall
block bounded by 10th and 11th streets and Capitol and East Broad streets
When it was decided to replace the original City Hall and Courthouse that stood on this site from 1816 to 1875 the estimate for the new building was a meaty $300,000. But by the time the monumental stone City Hall was finished being outfitted with ornamental stone and iron work, eight years after groundbreaking in 1886, the project was more than a million dollars over budget. It stands as a masterpiece of High Victorian Gothic style, contributed by Elijah Myers of Detroit, and is awash in buttresses and pointed arches. The northwest corner clock tower soars 195 feet high. Occupying a full block, City Hall is the largest granite building in Richmond, constructed of locally quarried Petersburg granite from the banks of the James River. The building closed in 1971 but resisted calls for its demolition and carries on today as office space.
TURN RIGHT ON BROAD STREET, WALKING EAST.
Patrick Henry Building
1111 East Broad Street
This block-filling government building was built between 1938 and 1941 as the Virginia State Library and Supreme Court of Appeals. It was given an Art Deco treatment characterized by its spare rendering of the classical style a style popular for public works in the 1930s and ‘40s, both in America and Europe. The library departed for its new digs three blocks away in 1997.
Old First Baptist Church
East Broad and 12th streets
Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter, who capped his career with the design of the United States Capitol dome, was busy in Virginia with 10 buildings to his credit. The Greek Revival First Baptist Church was constructed during the years 1839 to 1841. Its powerful proportions are centered around a pair of fluted Doric columns in the portico. It became the “Old” First Baptist Church when the congregation sold the building to the Medical College of Virginia in 1928. Its influential design has spawned several imitators around the city, including its successor on Monument Avenue and the First African Baptist church two blocks to the east.
1224 East Broad Street
The greatest tragedy in early Richmond history struck in December 1811 when stage scenery caught on fire in the wooden Richmond Theatre that was located on this site. The blaze swiftly engulfed the building trapping 70 victims, including the governor, in the conflagration. Their remains were enclosed in a brick vault and town leaders decided to memorialize the incident with a combination memorial and church. Robert Mills of Charleston, regarded as the first American-born professional architect, won a design competition with a four-part plan that featured a classical portico that sheltered the marble monument to the victims of the fire and an octagonal sanctuary capped by a circular dome. The building was completed by 1814 and the congregation remained active until 1965. Today Monumental Church is cherished as a National historic Landmark.
William Beers House
northwest corner of College Street and East Broad Street
Were one walking around Richmond in the 1840s one would have seen plenty of townhouses like this antebellum brick Greek Revival building. William Beers, a clothing merchant, built the original two-story house in 1839. It lost its gable roof and picked up a full third floor in an Italianate makeover in 1860. Houses like this are rare enough today that the Beers House is a designated Virginia Historical Landmark.
TURN LEFT ON COLLEGE STREET.
First African Baptist Church
301 College Street at East Broad Street
The First Baptist Church traces its roots back to the last days of the 18th century where whites, free blacks and slaves worshipped together. The white members departed for their own church two blocks away in 1841 and the blacks remained in the ancestral church building that was torn down in 1876. Its replacement was this building that was modeled on the breakaway group’s Greek Revival First Baptist Church. The congregation, one of the oldest African American congregations in Virginia, left in 1955 and sold the church to the Medical College of Virginia which uses it still, although minus its original cupola and stained glass windows.
southwest corner of East Marshall and College streets
You don’t see many early Egyptian-flavored buildings on the streets of American cities but this National Historic Landmark is one. Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas S. Stewart, it appeared on the Richmond streetscape in 1845 as the first permanent home of the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College, which later became the Medical College of Virginia. It remains the oldest medical college building in the South. The exotic exterior of the fortress-like building was restored in 1939 by legendary Wall Street financier and stock market speculator Bernard Baruch as a paean to his father Simon, an 1862 graduate of the school and a Confederate surgeon during the Civil War. The Egyptian Building abounds in symbolic ornamentation - wings representing spirit, serpents representing wisdom, and inside hieroglyphics decorate the lobby.
TURN LEFT ON EAST MARSHALL STREET AND CROSS 11TH STREET.
1010 and 1012 East Marshall Street
Samuel Putney and his son Stephen were in the shoe manufacturing business and sold enough boots in the second half of the 1800s to move into the then-fashionable Court End section of Richmond here. The father’s house at 1010, built in 1859, is the more ornate of the two with a stucco facade scored to look like stone. The splendid ornamental cast iron porch was a product of the local Phoenix Iron Works. Stephen’s Italianate townhouse at 1012 is distinguished by a richly carved entablature at the front door and a unique two-story cast iron veranda that takes advantage of its corner location. The Putney Houses are now used by Virginia Commonwealth University.
WALK BACK A FEW STEPS TO NORTH 11TH STREET AND TURN LEFT. TURN RIGHT ON EAST CLAY STREET.
White House of the Confederacy
1201 East Clay Street
This residence was constructed overlooking the Shockloe Valley in 1818 for John Brockenbrough, a physician. The design of the gray stuccoed-brick house with dominant twinned Doric columns has been attributed to Charleston native Robert Mills, America’s most prominent architect of the early 20th century and a friend of Brockenbrough’s. Its original lines were disturbed in 1844 with the addition of a third story. The house was deemed an appropriate executive mansion for the new Confederacy when it located to Richmond in 1861 and was used by Jefferson Davis and his family until 1865. After the fall of the Confederacy, the house became headquarters for occupying Federal troops until 1870 when it was converted into one of Richmond’s first public schools. In 1890 the house was slated to be demolished when it was rescued by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and put to use as the Confederate Museum from 1896 until 1976. The house was restored to its wartime appearance when it was the political and social hub of the Confederate States of America in 1988. The museum, featuring the largest collection of Confederate artifacts in the world, moved into the adjacent building in 1976. Artifacts from every important Southern leader, including Lee’s surrender sword at Appomattox, are on hand. Also on display is the last Confederate flag, flown by the CSS Shenandoah, a warship harassing a United States whaling fleet in the pacific Ocean when the war ended. Unaware of the fall of the Confederacy until August, the crew then sailed 17,000 miles around Cape Horn to England, finally surrendering to the British on November 6, 1865.
TURN AND WALK WEST ONEAST CLAY STREET.
Valentine Richmond History Center/Wickham House
1015 East Clay Street at 11th Street
Mann S. Valentine made his money in the 1800s peddling Valentine’s Meat-Juice, an elixir extracted from pure beef that was touted to assist in the treatment of typhoid fever, diarrhea, cholera or just about anything ailing you. It was sold in its distinctive round bottle well into the 20th century. Valentine used his wealth to collect objects that supposedly began with a cigar box full of arrowheads but eventually included rare books and furniture from Europe, Asia, and Africa. After he died in 1893 his will provided for the establishment of the Valentine Museum, the first private museum in the City of Richmond. It opened in 1898 and featured sculpted works by Valentine’s brother, Edward, including a plaster cast of his recumbent statue of Robert E. Lee. The house that was purchased to house the Valentine collection was constructed in 1812 for John Wickham, a lawyer who defended Vice President Aaron Burr when he was prosecuted for treason in 1807. Arguing before his good friend John Marshall, Wickham secured Burr’s freedom. Outside the courtroom Wickham was known for his love of racehorses. His most famous was Boston who he lost in a card game before becoming one of the greatest horses of the 19th century. His house is an early work of prominent architect-engineer Alexander Parris of Massachusetts. When his original plans for the house were reviewed and excoriated by British designer of the United States Capitol Benjamin Latrobe, Parris re-drew his plans and created a benchmark for the Federal period of American architecture. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
1008 East Clay Street
William H. Grant, who owned a string of tobacco warehouses, erected this handsome mansion in 1856, notable for its classical entranceway and Romanesque windows framed by ornate cast-iron window hoods. The Civil War seriously crimped Grant’s tobacco business and in 1868 his oldest son James was accused of murdering the publisher of the Southern Opinion, H. Rives Pollard. Although acquitted - despite overwhelming evidence as to his guilt - the trial and the tribulations in the tobacco trade accelerated the family’s departure from the house. In 1892, after years of mixed use, it was acquired by Sheltering Arms Hospital founded in 1889 as a “haven of mercy” for impoverished Virginians. The Grant House is currently owned by Virginia Commonwealth University.
TURN LEFT ON NORTH 10TH STREET. TURN RIGHT ON EAST MARSHALL
900 East Broad Street/East Marshall Street
Richmond’s current City Hall was constructed in 1970. By the late 1990s the structural integrity of the building was rapidly deteriorating. The culprit was its marble skin and in 2003 the facade was removed and the building re-skinned with a metal panel system.
John Marshall House
818 East Marshall House
The country was one year old and John Marshall was a lawyer in private practice and emerging leader of the Federalist Party in Virginia when he began work on this Federal style brick house in 1788. Marshall owned the entire block comprising four building lots as was a common practice in early Richmond. Marshall’s square included the house, his law office, a laundry, kitchen, carriage house and stable, and garden. This was his home after he became the fourth Chief Justice of the United States in 1801 and remained so as he served 34 years under six presidents and participated in more than 1,000 decisions. The property remained in the Marshall family until 1911 and has been open to the public ever since.
TURN LEFT ON NORTH 8TH STREET, ENTERING THE THEATER DISTRICT. TURN RIGHT ON BROAD STREET. TURN LEFT ON NORTH 6TH STREET.
Richmond Center Stage
600 East Grace Street
The first theatrical production took place in Richmond in 1784. One of the highlights of the city’s rich performing arts legacy took place On April 9, 1928 when the doors opened to the Loew’s Richmond Theatre for the screening of the M.G.M. silent film “West Point” starring William Haines and Joan Crawford. Noted theater architect John Eberson, known for his enthusiastic use of vibrant colors, created the extravagant Loew’s Richmond in the Spanish Mission style with a dark red brick exterior heavily ornamented with sculpted terra cotta and limestone. Like nearly all of America’s grand movie palaces the Loew’s Richmond went dark in 1979 but re-emerged four years later as a live performance venue, the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts. The Carpenter Center closed in late December 2004 for a $73 million renovation and restoration, becoming part of the downtown performing arts complex known as Richmond CenterStage.
TURN LEFT ON GRACE STREET.
St. Peter’s Church
800 East Grace Street
Richmond’s first Catholics entered services through the paired Doric columns of this Greek Revival church in 1834. Until 1905 St. Peter’s was the city’s cathedral until the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at Cathedral Place and Laurel Street superseded it in 1905. The square cupola and octagonal dome mimic St. Paul’s Church at the opposite end of the block.
St. Paul’s Church
815 East Grace Street
This was the church of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and a slew of Virginia governors. Davis was confirmed here and was attending services when he learned that Lee’s defensive line at Petersburg had been broken on April 2, 1865, and that the evacuation of Richmond was imminent. The building was completed in 1845 on plans by Philadelphia architect Thomas S. Stewart, a master of the Greek Revival style. He fashioned a formidable entrance portico of eight columns with ornate Corinthian capitals. It was originally fitted with a 225-foot spire that was later removed over concerns as to its stability and replaced with an octagonal dome. Through several restorations the original pews are still in use.
YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT AT CAPITOL SQUARE.