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Must-See RVA! — Catlin House

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




AKA, Inn at Patrick Henry’s, Patrick Henry’s Inn Pub & Grille
2300 East Broad Street
Built, 1850

Home to the witness of Church Hill’s Mr. Hyde.

(Find A Grave) — William Catlin

Two charming houses of the same shape as the early Quarles and Beers houses are still standing on Church Hill and show the persistence of the slant-roof, two-and-a-half story type. The earlier of the two was built in 1850 by William Catlin, who is simply described as a “merchant” in the directory of 1856. In 1871 Catlin sold the property to John W. Fergusson. As it was called “a large brick house” in the deed, one may presume that the wing in the rear had already been added by Catlin.

(Encyclopedia Virginia) — offices of the Southern Literary Messenger — 1501 East Main Street

John W. Fergusson was a prominent printer, who made his home there and only sold the house in 1904. As a lad he had been a “printer’s devil” in the office of the Southern Literary Messenger, and he well remembered Poe as editor of that periodical.

(Find A Grave) — John W. Fergusson

“When he was himself, there was no more polite or considerate gentleman,” the old man said. “But when he had been drinking, he was every kind of a devil—a real case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

[HOR] — 2300 East Broad Street, date unknown

The house is in good condition, and while both the wing in the rear and a small entrance on the side are obviously additions they do not materially detract from the happy proportions. The interior woodwork is coarse, as would be expected at this period, and some of the mantels have been altered. [HOR]

[RVCJ93] — J. W. Fergusson & Son’s Printing House

 John Fergusson seems to have done well for himself in the printing business.

J. W. Fergusson & Son, publishers and job and label printers of 4, 6 and 8 North Fourteenth street (near the Exchange Hotel), occupy a three-story place there which, as a house standing alone, is lighted from all sides. The ground floor is occupied as a press-room, the second floor as composing-room, and third as bindery and label department. The press-room is well equipped with cylinder presses and four jobbers run by an 18 horse-power engine, and in its mechanical department the house has all the lastest type and improvements.

(LOC) — former location of J. W. Fergusson & Son’s Printing House

The business of this house is, in large part, the printing of tobacco labels and tags. It has trade not merely in the city but throughout the Virginias and North Carolina, and also in Tennessee. It has 30 hands employed, and does a business of about $50,000 a year. It is an old house and a solid one. It was established in 1854 by the senior member of the firm and a partner; and this original firm were owners and printers of the Southern Literary Messenger.

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Times advertisement — Friday, June 3, 1892

Mr. J. W. Fergusson has been Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows of the State of Virginia for the last thirty-six years. He is a man held in high esteem here socially as well as in a business way. His son, Mr. E. H. Fergusson, was brought up to the business under his father, and has been a partner since 1870. He manages the house to a very great extent. [RVCJ93]

March 2019 — Tyler Building, asterisk showing approximate intersection with Old Fourteenth Street

Today that portion of Old 14th Street has vanished beneath the massive Tyler Building, which consumes the entire block bounded by Governor, Bank, Main, and Fourteenth Streets.

Happily, however, 2300 East Broad Street still exists for the pleasure of thirsty Church Hill residents, and the porticoed entrance to the basement on Twenty-Third Street leads to Patrick Henry’s downstairs pub, which opens each day at 4:00 P. M.

(Catlin House is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)

Print Sources

  • [HOR] Houses of Old Richmond. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1941.
  • [RVCJ93] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1893.


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