Must-See RVA! — Larus House

Must-See RVA! — Larus House

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

August 2019
August 2019

425 North Thirty-Second Street
Built, 1854

Built of brick because he could.

(Library of Congress) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877 — Plate H — showing Larus House with detached kitchen building at center, Pleasants House to the north, and property of W. J. Yarbrough at lower left
(Library of Congress) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877 — Plate H — showing Larus House with detached kitchen building at center, Pleasants House to the north, and property of W. J. Yarbrough at lower left

The Pleasants house is gone. A block away from it stood a similar dwelling built in the early 1800’s probably by James Yarbrough. In 1854 this was demolished or removed by Pleasant C. Larus, who in 1839 had married Sarah Yarbrough. On its site Larus built a substantial house, in which his family was still living when he died in 1888.

[ORN] — showing the original porch, the kitchen building in the rear & three visible chimneys
[ORN] — showing the original porch, the kitchen building in the rear & three visible chimneys

The lovely trees and good condition of the property compensate somewhat for a modern verandah and the loss of a quaint outbuilding which stood until a few years ago behind the dwelling-house. [ORN]

August 2019 — showing the only remaining chimney
August 2019 — showing the only remaining chimney

This is one of the better built homes in Richmond. It is made entirely of brick, even the inside wall are so constructed. All the partitions from the basement up are made of brick. Mr. Larus owned a brick yard, and when asked why he built the house entirely of brick, he replied that he had the bricks and so he used them.

The fireplaces on the lower floor are made of slate. It is a commodious house. The rooms are large and the ceilings are high.

August 2019
August 2019

Just back of the house still stands the kitchen. It was a four room house and it, too, is built of brick. It contains an immense fireplace where originally all the cooking was done. It stands in a wall between two rooms and extends into the two rooms. It measures four or five feet in depth and six or seven feet in width. At the right of the kitchen was the smoke house and back of the kitchen stood a large barn.

August 2019 — detail of stuccoed chimney
August 2019 — detail of stuccoed chimney

The grounds originally occupied on-half acre and extended so far south as Marshall Street, and on the west as far as Bloody Run Gully. Clay Street then ended at what is now 32nd Street.

At the southeast of the house was formerly a burying ground which was enclosed by a brick wall. The bodies in this burying ground have been removed to Shockoe Cemetery. It extended to within three hundred feet of Marshall Street. The old kitchen of the Larus estate is used as servants quarters. [TLH]

[RCVJ03] — Charles Dunning Larus
[RCVJ03] — Charles Dunning Larus
Pleasant Larus was the father of Charles Dunning Larus, his fourth child with Sarah Yarbrough, who unfortunately died eleven days after giving birth. (Ancestry) Despite growing up without his mother, Charles would find later success with the founding of Larus & Brother, the creation of the Edgeworth pipe tobacco brand, and WRVA.

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


Print Sources

  • [ORN] Old Richmond Neighborhoods. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1950.
  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.
  • [TLH] The Larus House. Works Progress Administration of Virginia Historical Survey. Madge Goodrich. July 13, 1936.

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