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RVA Legends — Hayes-McCance House

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

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801 East Leigh Street
Built, about 1816
Demolished, 1893

Both the date and the original appearance of the Hayes-McCance house are uncertain. Like the Adams-Van Lew house, it is a composite, but no insurance policy can be found to show how much of it was the work of Dr. John Hayes.

Dr. Hayes was the son of James Hayes, publisher of the Virginia Gazette, who had died in 1804. Three years later his son advertised his professional services to “the citizens of Richmond and its vicinage.” He and his mother, who had been Ann Dent, lived in a wooden house in the middle of what is now Leigh Street, on a large tract which James Hayes had bought in 1798.

[HOR] — garden portico

By 1816 Dr. Hayes had started building a substantial and highly finished brick dwelling on the southeast corner of Leigh and Eighth streets. On January 31, 1817 he offered it for sale, but apparently did not get the price he wished, since it was not sold till long after. In September of that year Mrs. Hayes deeded him the property, which her husband had left to her. The fact that there is no mention of the house in this document and that it was not fully taxed until 1822 does not alter the probability that it was completed in 1817.

(Walmart) — Cholera Broadside Issued By The New York Sanatory Committee During The Cholera Epidemic Of 1849

Dr. Hayes died in 1834. Family tradition makes of him an accomplished violinist and reports that he died of cholera contracted while caring for his patients. Though his death occurred two years after Richmond’s great cholera epidemic, this legend is possibly correct, as an article published the day after his death mentions that there were thirty-six cases of the disease in Richmond, with fourteen deaths.

(LOC) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877— Plate F — note the extent of the McCance ownership of the block

Two years before, John Hayes had sold his property, with land running back to Clay Street, to Thomas Green for only $5030. At that time the improvements were valued at $2750, which was increased in 1833 to $6000, and in 1834 to $15,000. Such a change as this could hardly be accounted for by the carriage house and other outbuildings which we know Green added, nor by the elaborate arrangement of the grounds.

It was Green who first insured the house in 1833, and thus it is only as he altered it that it is known to us today. Thomas Green was a speculator in Land Warrants. He had mortgaged his house and, becoming insolvent, sold it and moved to Washington. It was bought in 1842 from the mortgage-holder by Thomas W. McCance, who paid $15,000 for the property.

(Find A Grave) — Mann S. Valentine II

The McCances owned the house for over forty years and were living there as late as 1888, when the mortgage-holders sold it for $9000 to Mann S. Valentine II. Thomas W. McCance died the following year, “at his residence, 712 E. Marshall St.” Born in 1813, he had started in business working for his uncle, James Dunlop, and was associated all his life with the firm that later became Dunlop, McCance. Before the War, Dunlop, Moncure & Co. were importers and commission merchants, located at the northwest corner of Cary and Eleventh Streets.

(Virginia Places) — Dunlop Mills

After the War this firm was succeeded by Dunlop, McCance, which conducted a milling business exclusively. Thomas W. McCance was president of the Dunlop and McCance Milling and Manufacturing Co. which succeeded Dunlop, McCance. They occupied the magnificent building still called the Dunlop Mills at the south end of the present Fourteenth Street Bridge and were counted among the leading millers of the country.

October 2018 — looking towards 801 East Leigh Street

Unlike the Adams-Van Lew mansion, the Hayes-McCance house was less a composite than a pure Greek Revival mansion, of the most magnificent sort. It really should be placed in the line of architectural succession beginning with the second Brockenbrough house and continuing through the Westmoreland Club, the Barret house, and the Nolting house. It is hard to know whether the proportions, the beautiful cornice, truly Greek, or the magnificent portico in the rear is more to be admired. Its demolition, in 1893, is a calamity only exceeded by the loss of the Van Lew house. Each was perfect in its way, both had lovely settings, both were essential links in the study of early Richmond’s architectural evolution.

Today, of course, this former architectural marvel has been replaced with a parking lot that serves the John Marshall Courthouse and other municipal offices.

(Hayes-McCance House is part of the Atlas RVA Project)


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Community

Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End

No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.

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A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.

We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!

Bear on Northbank this morning! from r/rva

Here he is in town.

Bear at Byrd and 5th from r/rva

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Downtown

Majority of Virginia to enter Phase Two of reopening; Richmond to remain in Phase One for now

Richmond and Northern Virginia will remain in Phase One while surrounding localities can now ease restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining, and other uses.

RVAHub Staff

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Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Sixty-Five and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Governor also amended Executive Order Sixty-One directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase One.

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase Two on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Executive Order Sixty-Five modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Sixty-One and Sixty-Two and establishes guidelines for Phase Two. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase One on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase One to allow for additional monitoring of health data. Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase Two with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.

Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase Two.

Phase Two guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase One guidelines sectors are available here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Five and Order of Public Health Emergency Six is available here.

The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-One can be found here.

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Crime

Richmond Police, Mayor Stoney apologize after tear gas deployed before curfew on protesters

Protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday night and were met with a forceful response and the deployment of tear gas by Richmond Police – an action for which the department and Mayor Stoney later apologized.

RVAHub Staff

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday afternoon and evening to speak out after the death of George Floyd. The group organized near both the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart Monuments on Monument Avenue and remained mainly peaceful until police approached demonstrators at the Lee statue and deployed tear gas, as can be seen below from the below Twitter video from VPM.

Around the same time, reports began coming in that protesters at the Stuart monument were attempting to bring it down. A young demonstrator scaled the base of the statue and took what appeared to be a hack saw to the leg of the monument’s horse in an effort to bring it down. Police responded by calling on protesters to stand down, citing the weight of the monuments and their potential to crush bystanders.

Richmond Police and Mayor Levar Stoney later apologized for the deployment of tear gas on peaceful protesters – well below the 8:00 PM curfew – saying it was uncalled for and inviting protesters to City Hall at noon Tuesday to “apologize in person.” For its part, RPD said the officers involved had been “removed from the field” and would be subject to disciplinary action.

The protesters then continued marching down Franklin Street, then W. Broad Street, where things fizzled out around 10:30 PM near 14th Street.

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