Monday, November 18, 2013

Richmond's Historic Fan District

Richmond's Historic Fan District is right next door to the Museum District in which Maury Place at Monument is located.  Like the Museum District, the Fan is one of the city's most recognizable historic neighborhoods. But in a city that traces its beginnings to 1737, the Fan is a relative newcomer. While the Fan was home to modest farmhouses in the 1700's and brick country estates and rural retreats during the first half of the 19th Century, significant residential development did not begin there until after the Civil War, when Richmond began rebuilding itself as the capital of the New South.

Construction gained momentum in the 1880's, moving west from Belvidere Street (the neighborhood's eastern boundary) and following a street grid that resembled a fan--hence the district's name! By 1900, construction had reached the Boulevard, which is the Fan's western boundary and the Museum District's eastern boundary. Two of Richmond's most prominent streets lie in the heart of the Fan: Franklin Street and Monument Avenue. Franklin Street was the city's most prestigious residential thoroughfare in the second half of the 19th century. Franklin Street's western expansion, Monument Avenue, surpassed it in the first half of the 20th century with homes designed by renowned architects such as John Russell Pope, William Lawrence Bottomley, and Duncan Lee.  Today, Monument Avenue is the only street in the U.S. to be declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. Architectural styles range from Italianate to Romanesque to Colonial Revival and American Arts and Crafts.

The Fan District's largest home, the 27,000 square foot Branch House, was designed by Pope and completed in 1919. It is now home to the Virginia Center for Architecture located at 2501 Monument Avenue.  It is within walking distance of Maury Place at Monument.

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