Just back from an abbreviated visit to Richmond, Virginia for a family event: shortened by the wild weather down there which grounded us in Boston on the evening of our departure. So everything was compressed: family time, touring time, time in our amazing hotel, The Jefferson, a monumental Italianate (its style is described alternatively as “Spanish Baroque” and eclectic; it seemed Italianate to me) palace in the heart of the city. Designed by the well-known architectural firm Carrere and Hastings, it opened in 1895 with all the modern conveniences, including complete electrical, heating, and plumbing systems for all of its 324 rooms, service telephones, and elaborate lobbies for both ladies and gentlemen. Alligators roamed these lobbies as late as 1948. The Jefferson is nearing completion of an extensive renovation: there was still scaffolding in the gentlemen’s lobby but our room was lavishly luxurious. I was particularly impressed by its scale and furnishings; while my husband was wowed by the television embedded in the bathroom mirror! I ran around and took pictures in my limited time, and then spilled out into the neighborhood the following morning: very early, before it got too hot.
The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond: main lobby with statue of Thomas Jefferson by Edward V. Valentine and lobby ceiling; the gentlemen’s lobby from two perspectives; memorabilia; Franklin Street entrance day and night with alligator statue; Main Street entrance to the gentlemen’s lobby.
Snapshots which comprise a literal snapshot of one small section of Richmond are below: historic preservation is definitely a priority, but I also got the impression from my quick tour of downtown that the city is open to more modern structures as well. Preserved row houses in that soft brown Virginia brick co-exist with more colorful and stark structures: I saw none of the boxy pastiches now plaguing Salem in this particular section of Richmond! I was also struck by how well Virginia Commonwealth University was integrated into the city: such a lost opportunity for Salem that Salem State is confined to a residential section into which it doesn’t quite fit. I’m really looking forward to returning to Richmond so that I can explore the designated historic districts…and more: I picked up a copy of Garden and Gun (a great magazine, but kind of an incongruous name, no?) to read on the plane ride home which featured an article on an ongoing community effort to rescue the overgrown African-American cemeteries of the city and now I must see these too.
A short walk on a few streets of downtown Richmond on a hot July morning: LOVE these last two houses with their amazing entrances and windows: the latter one is the Crozet House, built in 1814.
July 29th, 2016 at 9:59 am
The picture of the woman in front of the Third Street Diner (which apparently serves dinner) set me up for the Edward Hopper-esque quality of the pictures that follow. I’m always impressed with your pictures and your sense of composition – and these made me realize how well you capture the interplay of dark and light. Kudos!
July 29th, 2016 at 10:13 am
Thank you, Priscilla! I’m happy with these pictures too–they were taken at around 7 in the morning: even a half-hour later the sun would have been too bright down there!
July 30th, 2016 at 9:41 am
Thank you for the wonderful photos. The Poe Museum is a very neat place to visit in Richmond if you go back.They have two resident black cats, Edgar and Pluto (as well as some neat exhibits, of course!)
July 30th, 2016 at 10:22 pm
That’s definitely on my list, Mary!
July 30th, 2016 at 10:09 am
Did you get to Shockhoe (?) Slip along the waterfront? Love the South, esp. in the Spring. Cheers! John John Wright firstname.lastname@example.org
July 30th, 2016 at 10:21 pm
No, John–next time!
July 31st, 2016 at 5:43 pm
I suppose that if you live in a place with alligators roaming around “Garden and Gun” WOULD be an appropriate title!
July 31st, 2016 at 5:53 pm
Ha, I didn’t think of that! Really lovely magazine; I just find the title a bit off-putting but then I am not steeped in “southern culture”.
August 1st, 2016 at 9:13 am
Reblogged this on Lenora's Culture Center and Foray into History.
November 12th, 2016 at 2:27 pm
I love that you pointed out some of the key features I fell in love with about the City years ago. My Wife has subscribed to Garden and Gun Magazine for as long as I can remember. Thanks so much! -Doc
November 12th, 2016 at 9:20 pm
Well I wasn’t there very long! Love Garden and Gun.