1108-1112 Capitol Street
Fie upon the modern indelicacies of attending to business!
This row of three houses was built in 1844-45 by Jaquelin P. Taylor on the site of the modest frame dwelling of Jacob Cohen. Mr. Taylor had come to Richmond as a young man from Orange County, and as a large importer of dry-goods he had built up a considerable fortune. In his obituary notice he is said to have been one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Richmond, whose name was synonymous with the word probity. Executor of William Barret, he was in process of winding up his friend’s affairs when he died suddenly in January, 1872, just after celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday.
The two easternmost houses in the row remained the property of Mr. Taylor’s heirs as late as 1910. He left no children, but his wife’s family, the Richardsons, who during Mr. and Mrs. Taylor’s lifetime had occupied the middle house, later moved into the one at Twelfth and Capitol, which had been the Taylors’ own home. The Misses Jane and Harriet Richardson and their two brothers are remembered as “characters” by all those who knew them. One brother, who was very tall, was often seen in the Capitol Square, feeding the squirrels, with whom he was so gentle that they ate out of his hand without fear.
The Misses Richardson were unadjusted to such modern indelicacies as ladies attending to business, so Judge Beverley Crump, who had charge of their affairs, had to bring them what money they needed in cash every month: going to a bank would have been quite out of the question for them. Mr. Jaquelin P. Taylor II, a great-nephew and namesake of the builder of these houses, recalls that when he came to Richmond as a youth he had to pay regular Sunday visits to the Richardsons and that he put up with the inevitable attendance at church for the sake of the excellent dinner that always followed.
The westernmost house was sold in 1851 to Thomas R. Price, a leading citizen of his day. In 1833 he had founded the well known dry-goods store of Thos. R. Price and Company, of which he was head at the time of his death in 1868. Under various names, Fourqurean and Price, Fourqurean, Price and Temple, etc. this concern survived well into the twentieth century. Mr. Price’s son Edward is remembered by Mr. Munford (and by this writer) as an usher at St. Paul’s over a long period of years. “A man of patrician appearance and of courtly manner, Mr. Price gave distinction to the old Church he so faithfully attended and served.”
Major von Borcke, the German officer on Jeb Stuart’s staff, tells in his memoirs of a visit to the Prices in this house in 1884. He had cared for Channing Price, when the latter was mortally wounded at his side, and ever since the Civil War the family had cherished von Borcke’s sword, which had barely escaped destruction when Mr. Price’s store was burned.
The Price family owned No. 1108 up to 1903, when it was bought by Gilbert K. Pollack, a member of the City Council who built himself an office on Broad Street. In 1911 and 1912 all three houses were sold to the City. During the next twenty-five years a game of battledore and shuttlecock went on between City and State for possession of the site, known (from Ford’s Hotel which had stood to the west of the Taylor houses) as the Ford Lot.
Meanwhile the houses were occupied by various worthy organizations, notably by the Juvenile Court (which had its beginnings there), the Tuberculosis Association, and the Academy of Arts, the last two organizations remaining, respectively, in 1112 and 1108-10 until the buildings were about to be demolished over their heads. It was finally decided that the projected State Library was to occupy the site, and in 1938 they were pulled down.
Together with Linden Row, the Jaquelin Taylor houses were the finest example of the rows of houses built during the ’forties and ’fifties. In some respects these were superior to Linden Row. The porches, with their delicate Corinthian columns, and the fences with pineapple posts like those of the contemporary Norman Stewart and Barret houses were particularly beautiful. Mr. Taylor’s own home, 1112 Capitol, was further adorned with an exquisite iron balcony on the Capitol Street side.
During the demolition, the corner house was found to have a curious and interesting dome above the well of the stair, which was a continuous spiral from the bottom to the top of the house. When the houses were demolished the fence was given to Leigh Street Baptist Church, where it is now installed, and the balcony and front entrances to the Valentine Museum. The balcony is now in the garden of the Museum. [HOR]
As Ms. Scott relates, this block of Capitol Street would change radically in the wake of the new State Library that replaced both Ford’s Hotel and the Jacquelin Taylor Row in 1938. That it is a handsome art deco building in its own right compensates somewhat for the loss of the older houses. Auld lang syne.
Things were changed again in 1997 when the library relocated to its third location at 800 East Broad Street. The old location transformed into the Patrick Henry Executive Office Building, and this end of Capitol Street was filled in to make a driveway for the Commonwealth’s fleet of gubernatorial SUVs.
(Jaquelin Taylor Row is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)
- [HOR] Houses of Old Richmond. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1941.
Photos: Faces of a Parade
We took some traditional parade photos but have decided to go a little more intimate and focus on the faces you see during the Dominion Christmas Parade.
Virginia launches expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and New York City
The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.
Recently, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary Valentine joined DRPT and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) to launch expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and cities along the Northeast corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.
The new train is the first expansion of service under Governor Northam’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program to significantly expand rail infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. The event ended with a ribbon-cutting and the inaugural train heading out of Main Street Station at 5:35 am with the Governor, state officials, and DRPT/VPRA staff on board. Early ridership numbers indicate healthy demand for the extended service.
The Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative is already receiving recognition throughout the country for its role in changing the future of transportation. At the District of Columbia’s Committee of 100’s bi-annual award ceremony, DRPT received a 2021 Vision Award recognizing the Transforming Rail in Virginia Program. Director Jennifer Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of DRPT, Governor Northam, and the Virginia General Assembly.
Shockoe Illuminates Throws the Switch Tonight
Shockoe Illuminates will be Dec. 3rd at the 17th Street Market. They’ll have local artisans with one-of-a-kind presents, boozy hot drinks provided by amazing restaurants, kids activities, carolers, roller skating, and more! Loads of information at the 17th Street Market Facebook.
Did you catch that there is roller skating?
We don’t need ice to have fun and skate! During Shockoe Illuminates on Dec. 3rd you can roller skate and then come back all weekend for more fun! $10 to rent skates or bring your own.
- 12/3 5:00-9:00
- 12/4 4:00-8:00
- 12/5 3:00-7:00