Connect with us
[adrotate banner="51"]

Downtown

Must-See RVA! — John Marshall House

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.

Published

on

John Marshall House
402 North Ninth Street
Built, 1788 – 1790
VDHR 127-0073

John Marshall? Yeah, so maybe the anti-Federalist crowd doesn’t dig him. He still ranks as the longest serving Chief Justice to the United States Supreme Court, and did help make the principle of judicial review what it is today, so that’s pretty spiff.

(Library of Virginia) — portrait of John Marshall — Henry Inman, 1831

Both because it was for forty-five years the home of John Marshall and because it is the handsomest and best-preserved eighteenth-century house still standing in Richmond, the Marshall House deserves special study.

[HOR] — facing north west corner of Ninth & Marshall streets

Its actual history, in terms of ownership, is only less brief than that of the Governor’s Mansion, for until it was purchased by the City in 1907 it had never passed out of the hands of Marshall’s descendants. Though the deed for the quarter-square on which the house stands was not signed until July 7, 1789, Marshall had evidently come to an agreement with the owner, Philip Turpin, some time before, as the house was started by October, 1788.

(John Marshall Foundation) — showing John Marshall High School at rear

However, according to a tradition in the Marshall family, Marshall lived in a wooden house, about where the front door of the John Marshall High School now is, while his new house was being built. This was, perhaps, the wooden laundry shown on the first insurance policy (1796). This policy shows that Marshall then owned the whole square, with the house as it now is except for the little wing, and with a wooden office on Marshall Street, a wooden kitchen on Ninth, and the laundry.

(WikiVisually) — Game of quoits circa 1815

Many picturesque memories of Marshall’s life in Richmond may be gathered from different authors. His going to market himself, even after he was Chief Justice, and bringing home a brace of ducks over one arm and a string of chitterlings, generally despised by “the quality,” over the other; his mighty quoit-throwing and good fellowship with the Barbecue Club at Buchanan’s Spring; the welcome he received after his return from France on August 8, 1798.

(William & Mary Library) — portrait of Mary Willis Ambler “Polly” Marshall

(William & Mary Library) — portrait of Mary Willis Ambler “Polly” Marshall

Of his public career it is not necessary to speak here. He did not die in the house (where his “Polly” had died in 1831, after years of invalidism) but passed away while in Philadelphia in 1835, his remains being brought back to Richmond to be interred in Shockoe Cemetery.

(Preservation Virginia) — master bedroom

After his death the house, which then belonged to his daughter Mary, wife of Jaquelin Harvie, was rented for a long time. For a brief nod the Misses Harvie, Marshall’s granddaughters, lived there. Among the tenants before the Civil War were Thomas B. Bigger and Robert Gwathmey. Professor Charles H. Winston lived there during the War; Henry A. Wise in 1866; and for a long time in the ’seventies and ’eighties, Mrs. Mattie Paul Myers.

It was during Mrs. Myers’s residence there, in 1877, that her cousin, Miss Rebecca Myers, who had come to call, missed the last step, fell, and broke her neck. “According to the orthodox custom, it being the Sabbath, the body was placed on a stretcher and carried by hand to her late residence on Broad Street just opposite the Monumental Church.”

In 1907 the lot, by then reduced to 64 feet on Marshall and 154 feet on Ninth, was purchased from the Misses Anne and Emily Harvie by the City of Richmond to form, with the rest of the square, the site of the new high school.

(LOC)

Since no brick house of contemporary date has survived in Richmond, the Marshall house is of especial interest to students of architecture. In general appearance the house is unpretentious—small compared with Dr. Brockenbrough’s two mansions, not to mention those of the ’forties or ’fifties—simple in outline and detail when seen from without. Inside, the hand-carved woodwork is of the elaborate kind often used in small houses in the eighteenth century, and gradually reduced, up to 1819, when it disappeared altogether.

The library and parlor are each panelled all across one end, with a small cupboard beside the chimney. All of the rooms on the main floor have dadoes except the little addition.

(John Marshall Foundation) — dining room

The dining room has no panelling but has a particularly beautiful cornice. The mantels in parlor and dining-room are alike, ornamented with an urn in the centre and genii on either side. Both of these rooms are bright and well proportioned.

[HOR] — stairway

The stairway is particularly charming. Only in one feature is the Marshall house subject to criticism: the arrangement of the rooms is haphazard and does not show them off to best advantage. One enters by a tiny vestibule, whence one may either turn right to the library or left to the parlor. There is no approach to the stairs, parlor, or dining-room that exhibits their beauty to full effect: one has to be well into each room before seeing its best feature.

(John Marshall Foundation) — sitting room

The legend that Marshall expected the house to be turned around differently and that his plans were spoiled while he was in France is disproved by the dates the house was finished by 1791 and he was in France in 1798. It took the genius of Robert Mills to plan a logically arranged house, with most effective use of stairs, entrance, and porches, and the influence of that genius was felt in most of the fine houses erected in Richmond after 1812. [HOR]


rocket_werks_must_see

Must-See RVA! is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Combining protean forces from the forbidden Zero Serum with the unbridled power of atomic fusion, to better probe the Wisdom of the Ancients and their Forgotten Culture.

Downtown

Library of Virginia bringing Dopesick author Beth Macy to Richmond for the Carole Weinstein Author Series

Beth Macy is a Virginia-based journalist, the author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, and an executive producer and cowriter on Hulu’s Peabody Award–winning Dopesick series.

Published

on

The Library of Virginia continues its 2022 Carole Weinstein Author Series talks with New York Times best-selling author Beth Macy. Macy will discuss Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis, the much anticipated follow-up to her internationally acclaimed book and Amazon series Dopesick. Carole Weinstein Author Series talks are free and open to the public. Registration is required for in-person attendance. To register, click here.

The event takes place Tuesday, August 23rd from 6:00–7:30 p.m.at the Library of Virginia Lecture Hall. It will also be livestreamed.

Beth Macy is a Virginia-based journalist, the author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, and an executive producer and cowriter on Hulu’s Peabody Award–winning Dopesick series.

For more than 25 years, Macy has been reporting on stories from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia—previously for the Roanoke Times and, more recently, in occasional essays for the New York Times. She has also written for magazines, radio, and online journals from locations ranging from a mobile home in Bassett, Virginia, to a crowded cholera ward in Limbe, Haiti.

Like the treatment innovators she profiles, Beth Macy meets the opioid crisis where it is—not where we think it should be or wish it was. Bearing witness with clear eyes, intrepid curiosity, and unfailing empathy, she brings us the crucial next installment in the story of the defining disaster of our era, one that touches every single one of us, whether directly or indirectly. A complex story of public health, big pharma, dark money, politics, race, and class that is by turns harrowing and heartening, infuriating and inspiring, Raising Lazarus is a must-read for all Americans.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Downtown

Youngkin calls raid on Trump club a ‘stunning move’ by feds, raising speculation about presidential run

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state.

Published

on

By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the federal raid on former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago a “stunning move by the DOJ and FBI” and implied it could be politically motivated.

In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Youngkin drew a connection between the news of the search in Florida and prior events in Virginia.

“This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists and failed to enforce federal law to protect Justices in their homes,” read the post from the governor’s political account. “Selective, politically motivated actions have no place in our democracy.”

The governor’s claim about the events in Loudoun has already been widely refuted by fact-checkers. A controversial letter from the National School Boards Association mentioned the arrest of a Loudoun father upset over his daughter’s sexual assault in a school as an example of aggressive behavior toward school boards that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” When Attorney General Merrick Garland responded by saying he would investigate and prosecute threats against school boards, he didn’t mention terrorism or Loudoun.

In response to protests over the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Youngkin, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked the Department of Justice to enforce a law that bars picketing outside justices’ houses in their states, but no federal prosecutions followed.

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state. Youngkin has been downplaying speculation about whether he might run for president in 2024, a move that could put him in competition with Trump for the GOP nomination.

Controversy over federal law enforcement agencies has particular resonance in Virginia due to the high numbers of federal employees who live in the state.

Facts have been scarce about why the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, what agents were looking for and what federal authorities believe Trump may have done. But Virginia Republicans didn’t hold back expressions of outrage over the move.

“The dangerous precedent the Democrats set yesterday by weaponizing the FBI should anger and frighten every American,” state Sen. Jen Kiggans, the Republican nominee in a close congressional race in the Hampton Roads area, said on Twitter. “All to settle old political scores and silence their political opponents – it’s corrupt, and it’s flat out unacceptable.”

Kiggans was responding to an earlier statement from her opponent, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the congressional Jan. 6 committee who was pointing to Republican threats to investigate the Department of Justice if the GOP wins back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There is no way to defend Trump, only to deflect,” Luria said.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Crime

Editorial: Dogwood Dell: a massacre foiled or a tale too good to be true?

“The story seemed almost too good to be true. Now, a month later, a city prosecutor has given us reason to believe it’s not true.”

Published

on

By Bob Lewis

If you don’t live near Richmond and get your news from its regional media market, the last time you probably heard of a place called Dogwood Dell was a little over a month ago when Virginia’s capital city made national news for boldly claiming to have foiled a mass shooting.

The claim by Richmond’s police chief and mayor came on the heels of atrocities in Uvalde and Buffalo. Just two days earlier, a rooftop gunman indiscriminately mowed down spectators lining a Fourth of July parade route on the streets of Highland Park, Illinois.

As Chief Gerald Smith and Mayor Levar Stoney explained to a phalanx of television cameras on July 6, a tip from a “hero citizen” allowed police to apprehend two Guatemalan men illegally in the United States and foil their plot to take high-powered firearms to Dogwood Dell, a bandshell and amphitheater in a city park, and unleash hell on hundreds attending an evening Independence Day concert and fireworks display.

The story made network evening newscasts, an upbeat counterpoint to the fresh horror from suburban Chicago. Smith did cable news interviews with outlets like CNN, spreading the word. The publicity was a perfect balm for a police department whose community relations had been strained mightily by its heavy-handed response in the summer of 2020 to demonstrations along Richmond’s Monument Avenue triggered by the broad-daylight police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Stoney was forced to fire the police chief at the time, William Smith (no relation to the current chief), after officers in riot gear teargassed, maced, cursed and kicked protesters gathered peacefully at the since-razed statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It took the city two years, prodded by the settlement of a citizens’ lawsuit, to formally apologize for those police actions.

But this summer, in the first week of July, buoyed by national headlines of a police triumph and lives spared, the city seemed to have made notable strides toward restoring faith in its leadership.

The story seemed almost too good to be true. Now, a month later, a city prosecutor has given us reason to believe it’s not true.

Asked directly in open court by Richmond General District Court Judge David Hicks last week if there was any evidence of plans to attack Dogwood Dell on July Fourth, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clint Seal gave a clear, unequivocal and crushing response: “No.”

But that moment wasn’t the first time cracks in the city’s story had appeared. Troubling questions began surfacing as early as the upbeat July 6 press conference itself.

Why, if there was a known threat of a mass shooting, were the Dogwood Dell festivities allowed to proceed as scheduled, particularly with one of the two suspects not yet in custody?

Why was one of the suspects – at a minimum, a person illegally in the country – granted a low $15,000 bond on the same day Smith and Stoney announced his arrest? Five days later, another judge thought better of it and revoked the man’s bond, meaning both suspects are now being held without bail.

Why, if the alleged plot was so ignominious and worthy of the bold assertions unambiguously trumpeted by the city’s top officials, has neither man been charged in connection with it? Why is it not mentioned, even obliquely, in any of the charges currently pending against them? (Both are being held on federal immigration and firearms charges and facing deportation.)

And why have city government and police officials steadfastly stiff-armed persistent media requests to answer those questions and elaborate on the case?

The response from the police chief and the mayor? Double down on their claim and insist that it’s valid, the prosecutor’s contradictory statement in court under pain of perjury notwithstanding.

The basis for the chief’s belief that the two men planned specifically to shoot up Dogwood Dell? Essentially, his gut. And probability.

It came “from the experience and knowledge that your police department has and dealing with situations every day; of studying what happens in mass shootings, mass casualty incidents,” Smith said after the court proceeding in an on-camera interview with WTVR-TV in Richmond. “It comes from just your police department knowing what it’s doing.”

“It’s Richmond. Fourth of July celebration. It’s at the Dogwood Dell,” he said.

There’s no paucity of Independence Day observations in Richmond, a city with its own significant contributions to the nation’s struggle for independence. Arguably better known than Dogwood Dell is the annual fireworks display after the final out of the Richmond Flying Squirrels game at The Diamond, a minor league ballpark at the opposite terminus of Arthur Ashe Boulevard from Dogwood Dell. The city’s suburbs have their own numerous public celebrations and pyrotechnics extravaganzas.

As it turns out, we’ve been shown no more evidence for a plot targeting Dogwood Dell than we have for any other potential venue, though we’ve been implored to believe the claim absent any publicly shared substantiation beyond a conversation overheard by an earnest citizen tipster.

None of this is to suggest that these suspects don’t need to be sent away. They do.

Rolman Alberto Balcarcel had been deported twice from the United States and had returned a third time when he was arrested last month. His housemate, Julio Alvarado-Dubon, is charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a person illegally in the country. He had purchased two assault-style rifles, a handgun and multiple high-capacity ammunition magazines at a yard sale near Fredericksburg.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin last week asked the U.S. Department of Justice to take over prosecution of the men because they are “two illegal aliens with guns so we wanted them prosecuted at the highest level possible.” There was no reference to a mass shooting.

Did Balcarcel and Alvarado-Dubon plan to carry out a bloody assault on U.S. soil – perhaps Richmond soil? I don’t know. Clearly, they had an arsenal capable of it. The chief and the mayor say that was their intent, but nobody in authority has yet put one word of it in writing, made such a claim in a legal proceeding, or shared a shred of corroboration beyond because we say so!

We should not lose sight of the fact that law enforcement performed a great service by taking these two into custody based solely on the armaments seized and the wanton immigration violations alleged in court documents. They deserve our thanks.

The problems come not from the work officers did but from city leadership building so fantastical a narrative and announcing it so broadly yet sharing no proof to support it.

The press may not be the juggernaut it once was, but there are still a lot of journalists out there who are really good at skeptically listening to a claim, methodically vetting and finding holes in it, and asking those responsible to explain the discrepancies. When those officials can’t – or won’t – the whole thing unravels pretty fast, particularly after scenes like the one in Judge Hicks’s courtroom.

What, for a few weeks, seemed like a much-needed PR breakthrough for city leadership in general and the police in particular has instead put both on the defensive again as Smith’s and Stoney’s sensational account falters on the verge of collapse.

Chief Smith, Mayor Stoney – if you’ve got the goods that you say you do tying these two guys to a mass murder plot at Dogwood Dell (or any place else), it’s time to stop stonewalling legitimate inquiries and back your claim with some verifiable proof.

At stake is the public trust and confidence necessary to govern.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading