Thursday, November 28, 2013

Model Railroad Show this Weekend at the Virginia Science Museum

Enjoy Thanksgiving with all the bells and whistles! This weekend at the Virginia Science Museum, you can explore miniature cities and villages as you check out model train displays ranging from traditional scenic landscapes to Lego-themed models at the 36th Annual Model Railroad Show today through December 1st. Also uncover the science of trains by learning how to build your own model train layout or by racing your favorite engine. Also showing this holiday season at the museum's Dome movie theater are "The Rocky Mountain Express" and "The Polar Express" movies.

With the "Rocky Mountain Express," experience the epic adventure of building Canada's first transcontinental railway as you are propelled on a steam train journey through the Canadian Rockies. Retrace the original route aboard the majestic steam engine 2816 as you see breathtaking vistas of the West from spectacular aerial cinematography. Ride the rails along deep river canyons and over high mountain passes. Get immersed in an era of remarkable ingenuity as you follow the heroic human drama and engineering that shaped a continent.

"The Polar Express" is based on the modern holiday classic written by children's author Chris Van Allsburg and follows the journey of a young boy named Billy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. With a family who believes everything from the elves to flying reindeer are myths, Billy's whole viewpoint changes when a mysterious train visits him on Christmas Eve promising to take him and other children to the North Pole. The train's conductor, voiced by Tom Hanks, along with other passengers, help turn Billy's crisis into a journey of self-discovery in this heart warming holiday film.
Visit www.smv.org for show times and further details.  The Virginia Science Museum is just a short drive from Maury Place.

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

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

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