Monday, November 11, 2013

About Franklin Street . . .


Richmond has an impressive collection of historic streets. Maury Place is located at the intersection of West Franklin Street and Monument Avenue.  Monument Avenue, of course, is perhaps the best known street in Richmond, but Franklin Street has been a part of the city since its beginning, and it has played a pivotal role throughout much of its history. Originally named "F Street," the section of Franklin Street that passes through Shockoe Bottom dates back to 1737, when it was laid out as part of Richmond's original street grid. By the 1790's, it had been expanded several blocks west of the newly built state Capitol.

In 1844, it was renamed Franklin Street, and by the 1850's, some of the most powerful families lived on it. After the Civil War, Franklin Street became Richmond's most prestigious residential thoroughfare, lined with opulent houses in the latest Victorian styles. The street played a key role in rebuilding the city after the war, and the completion of the Jefferson Hotel between Franklin and Main Streets in 1895 put Richmond back on the map architecturally.

Franklin Street's residential makeup began to change in the early 1900's as newly popular hi-rise apartment buildings began sprouting up beside the street's elegant homes. As the century advanced, Franklin Street changed more radically. A number of homes there were torn down to make way for office buildings and parking lots.  Virginia Commonwealth University converted many of the houses west of Belvidere into academic buildings and departmental offices. Nonetheless, Franklin Street has retained much of its historic character.  To the West of Maury Place, there are blocks of Franklin Street still lit by gas streetlights. These charming homes and cottages were built mostly in the 1920's and '30's. A stroll down Franklin is like a stroll through time!

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument