RVA Legends — North Eighth Street

RVA Legends — North Eighth Street

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


Built, 1846, 1847 & 1857
Demolished, unknown

The houses on the 600 block on Eighth form a remarkably attractive and homogeneous ensemble, nearly all dating from a division into lots of a part of James Brown, Jr.’s, place in 1845. Most of the houses are modest two-story brick dwellings with Greek Revival porches.

January — 2016 Location of 613 – 615 today, now part of VCU

One more imposing pair, Nos. 613-15, which now have three stories, in the beginning had two-and-a-half, with step-gables.

(LOC) — 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Richmond — highlighting 613 – 615 (center) and 635 (right)

The most altered house in the row is the one with the most stable history. This is 637 North Eighth, from 1876 to 1942 the home of William J. Henning and his daughters, Mrs. G. M. Smithdeal and Miss Julia Henning. The latter, for many years a teacher at John Marshall High School, lived there until her death, although the neighborhood had been a Negro one for two decades.

[ORN] — Verandah, 635 North Eighth Street, built 185

The most striking house on Eighth is No. 635, notable for an iron verandah of unique and lovely pattern that we know to have been contemporaneous with the house. [ORN]

January 2016 — Location of 635 today

Interestingly, while 637 is specifically called out for being belonging to a single family from 1876 to 1942, it is not depicted on the 1905 Sanborn Map – the area to the north (right) of 635 is shown as undeveloped.

Ms. Scott is consistent in her identification of 637 in two different editions of Old Richmond Neighborhoods [ORN], so mark this down to either undiscovered errata or cartographer’s omission/error.


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