RVA Legends — Duncan Lodge

RVA Legends — Duncan Lodge

A look into the history of Richmond places and people that have disappeared from our landscape.


AKA, Pinel Hospital
330 West Broad Street
Built, 1843
Demolished, 1906

Mary Wingfield Scott says Duncan Lodge stood between Mackenzie and Lodge. Where the heck is Mackenzie? Drumroll, please…

In 1812 William Mackenzie purchased from the Reverend John Buchanan “11 acres, 2 roods and 32 poles.” Mackenzie put a mortgage on the land and never paid it off, and in consequence it was sold at auction after his death in 1829. The high bid, $675, was made by his widow, Mrs. Jane Mackenzie. While this included “all the houses, buildings, offices …” and the plat accompanying shows a house and four outbuildings, we must conclude from the price that they were very simple affairs. This is confirmed by the fact that they were only valued at $250 in the land books up to 1844, when they were first valued at $6418 with the notation “imp. ad.” (improvements added). The house we know as “Duncan Lodge” was not built until 1843.

(Synastry Press) — Rosalie Poe

This fact quite upsets the widespread impression that Poe played there as a boy with his sister Rosalie, who had been reared by the Mackenzies. William Mackenzie owned a great deal of property in and around Richmond and lived in various places. While the family may have stayed at the small house on the “Duncan Lodge” tract, then far out in the suburbs of Richmond, there is no record of their having made their home there before the brick house was erected. That Poe visited them there in 1849 is practically certain: Mrs. Weiss, who as Susan Talley lived nearby at “Talavera,” speaks of the pleasant evenings there, and of Poe playing leap frog on the lawn; but he was a mature man, not a little boy.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 13

William Mackenzie’s wife (who like his better-known sister was named Jane) had increased her holdings on what is now West Broad Street to over twenty-nine acres. On July 4, 1853 Mrs. Jane Mackenzie, then “abiding in the City of London, England,” sold her property on Broad Street to Alexander R. Holladay and Henry P. Poindexter. The deed has some curious provisions. Miss Jane Mackenzie was living there at the time, “with her family,” and was to be allowed to stay there until September 1, and to “gather, use and appropriate and dispose of” the crops, but was not to remove the “offal, straws, stocks and manure.”

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Dispatch, Sunday, June 19, 1892

In 1874 eighteen acres of the property were purchased by William C. Mayo. For many years a private hospital for the treatment of inebriates and mental diseases was run there under the direction of Dr. James D. Moncure. Called the Pinel Hospital, this was still in operation in 1886, when Mr. N. M. Leigh, at that time directing it, died. Dr. Hunter McGuire bought the place in 1891. He planned to establish the new College of Physicians and Surgeons there but was unable to get city water and light, and in consequence the college was started in the Brockenbrough and Bruce houses. In 1905 his widow sold “Duncan Lodge” to E. A. Saunders, and the following year it seems to have been demolished.

March 2017 — Broad Street between Lodge Street & Allen Streets

It is difficult to imagine just what “Duncan Lodge” looked like when it was built. It seems probable that the third story was added by the Pinel Hospital, first, because the valuation of improvements was increased from $5000 to $7000 in 1876, and second, because the top of the house, with its brickwork pattern and no cornice, the chimneys scarcely visible, is so entirely different from any other Greek Revival house. If there were originally back porches, they too had disappeared. The chief interest of the house was of course its connection with Poe and with his sister, but it was also a beautiful building, in a lovely and characteristic setting of magnolias and box. [HOR]

March 2017

Lodge Street still exists. With the development of Monument Avenue in 1888, Mackenzie went the way of the dodo. Ms. Scott’s bias towards the original street name is admirable, but when Allen Avenue reached Broad Street, the writing was on the wall, as the Baist map shows.

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