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RVA Legends — James Dunlop House

A look into the history of Richmond places that are no longer a part of our landscape.

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101 North Fifth Street
Built, 1844
Demolished, 1928

The house that turned into a hotel.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1895) — Plate 14

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1895) — Plate 14

On January 20, 1844 James Dunlop bought the half-acre lot, number 568, the price of $8000 proving how popular Fifth Street was at that time. This site had the further attraction of being considered the highest elevation in the city, Thomas P. Watkins, the surveyor, having built himself a small frame house there when he ascertained its unique advantage. That house was immediately demolished by Mr. Dunlop, and the mansion was built within the year.

(Find A Grave) — James Dunlop

(Find A Grave) — James Dunlop

James Dunlop (who was born in Richmond in 1801) spent the rest of his life in the house he had built. He had married Ann Dent McRae, daughter of Alexander McRae and it was in this house that the widow of Alexander McRae died. Dunlop was a partner in the ante-bellum firm of Dunlop, Moncure & Co., auctioneers and commission merchants, which was located at the northwest corner of Cary and Eleventh Streets.

(Virginia Places) — showing Dunlop & McCance’s Mills in Manchester

(Virginia Places) — showing Dunlop & McCance’s Mills in Manchester

After the War this firm became Dunlop & McCance and devoted itself exclusively to milling. One of the founders of St. Paul’s Church, Mr. Dunlop was a member of the vestry from 1844 until his death in 1875, at which time he was treasurer. Passing resolutions on his loss, the members of the vestry described him as “the gentle, genial, generous friend.”

(Encyclopedia Virginia) — Reverend John D. Blair, AKA Parson Blair

(Encyclopedia Virginia) — Reverend John D. Blair, AKA Parson Blair

Mrs. Dunlop continued to live there until her death, following which it was the home for about five years of James Alfred Jones. W. Brydon Tennant owned it for a similar period, and in 1899 it was sold to Walter Blair, a grandson of Parson Blair. Mr. Blair lived there until his death, and his daughter, Miss Ellen Blair, continued to make it her home.

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — Hotel John Marshall

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — Hotel John Marshall

She sold it in 1928, and it was demolished in that year to be the site of the John Marshall Hotel.

The Dunlop house, built at the same time as the Barret house and in the main very similar to it, had several marked differences. The front porch was heavier and there were no triple windows. The chimneys were placed toward the centre of the house instead of on the outer wall, a much less awkward plan.

[HOR] — showing the portico on the garden

[HOR] — showing the portico on the garden

The chief feature of the Dunlop house was the magnificent portico in the rear, with its great columns instead of the modest square pillars of the Barret house. Although the porch had two floors, the upper one was somewhat masked so that the effect was more like the Van Lew and Hayes-McCance houses than like those being built in the years just before the Dunlop house.

January 2020 — looking towards former 101 North Fifth Street, now The Residences at The John Marshall

January 2020 — looking towards former 101 North Fifth Street, now The Residences at The John Marshall

The portico of the Nolting house is evidently copied from this one. The Dunlop house was beautifully kept up, to the very end, and the pearl-grey stucco and white trim, the secluded garden surrounded by its high brick wall, and the tall portico made it a place of romance and beauty. [HOR]

(James Dunlop House is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Note

  • A special shout-out goes to Ray Bonis of The Shockoe Examiner and VCU’s James Branch Cabell Library Special Collections & Archives fame. Ray hipped Rocket Werks to the fact that the Library of Congress had recently added digital copies of both the 1886 and 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Richmond, in addition to their well-known 1905 edition. Not only are these maps a gold mine for the researcher, used here for the first time, they are also gorgeous to behold. If looking at antiquated municipal street maps is your thing. It’s… not for everybody. Okay, move along!

Print Sources

  • [HOR] Houses of Old Richmond. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1941.

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Community

Snack Collection for Westover Hills Elementary

Everyone deserves a snack.

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The good folks over at Westover Hills United Methodist Church (1711 Westover Hills Blvd) are helping out Westover Hill Elementary students and you can help as well.

The WHUMC Connect Group is collecting snacks for Westover Hills Elementary! We will be organizing and delivering the snacks at our October 12th meeting and would love to have donations in by then. If you are able to donate, please feel free to drop off at the church! Thank you!

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Richmond BizSense Reporting Goatcado Moving into Forest Hill Avenue Spot

There is no timeline for when the Goatcado will be up and running.

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In the spot that held a fish market, Dixie Chicken then Happy Empanada there will be a new eatery. Goatcado will be setting up. The three store strip is currently home to Current Culture Fly a shop focused on fly-fishing.

From Richmond BizSense

The fast-casual eatery is planning to open an outpost in the strip center at 1205 Westover Hills Blvd., while keeping its existing West Main Street location in the Fan.

Its 3,800-square-foot Southside storefront will be next to Current Culture Fly, a fly fishing shop that opened earlier this year.

Goatocado owner Ian Newell said he’s taking over the remaining two suites in the center: one going to Goatocado and the other for a to-be-determined concept.

“Goatocado is still doing well. I think it’s a solid model, it’s a good offering for both locations – fast-casual, kind of health food,” Newell said, adding that the menu at the Southside location will be similar to that of the Fan location.

Goatcado has one other brick and mortar spot on West Main Street in the Fan. Goatcado started as a food cart (still in operation) and serves up veggie focused bowls and wraps. Most of which is grown on their own farm. You can check out the menu here.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Northside

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to buy 6.2 acres from Lakeside Baptist Church

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will acquire 6.2 acres along the western edge of its Lakeside Avenue location through a purchase agreement with Lakeside Baptist Church that is being supported by Henrico County.

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will acquire 6.2 acres along the western edge of its Lakeside Avenue location through a purchase agreement with Lakeside Baptist Church that is being supported by Henrico County.

The nonprofit community-oriented garden has agreed to buy the church’s property at 7401 Woodman Road for $1.9 million. The parcel borders the garden on its northern and eastern sides and includes a 1963 sanctuary and classroom buildings totaling 23,700 square feet. Henrico is supporting the sale by contributing $750,000 over three years, leaving the garden to raise the remaining $1.15 million from donors.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, at 1800 Lakeside Ave., currently encompasses 82 acres. The land from Lakeside Baptist Church will represent the largest expansion of the grounds since the garden’s opening in 1987.

In announcing the acquisition today outside the garden’s Conservatory, Lewis Ginter President and CEO Brian Trader said church leaders reached out in October 2021 to gauge interest in a potential sale. Under the agreement, ownership will transfer in July 2025.

“We’re honored Lakeside Baptist Church approached us with this opportunity and extremely grateful to Henrico County for making it possible,” Trader said. “The church and the garden have been wonderful neighbors over the past four decades, and this ensures the church’s legacy will continue. It also provides additional future opportunities as the garden seeks to serve the community in exciting and innovative ways.”

Henrico Supervisors Daniel J. Schmitt, of the Brookland District, and Frank J. Thornton, of the Fairfield District, lauded the agreement and welcomed the garden’s opportunity to grow.

“This agreement to add 6.2 acres to the garden in Lakeside is great news for all parties – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Lakeside Baptist Church and Henrico County,” said Schmitt, who also serves on the garden’s Board of Directors. “Henrico and its Board of Supervisors are pleased to support this effort as it will allow the garden to continue to serve our residents and community for generations to come.”

Thornton added, “Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an absolute treasure for Henrico County as well as our region and state. It promotes visitation and tourism, with more than 390,000 visitors, including students, last year. The garden also helps us to appreciate the beauty of our natural world and brings joy and peace to our lives. With this additional land, Lewis Ginter will be poised to grow and bloom for years to come.”

The Rev. Becky Gunter, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, called the announcement of the property transfer a historic moment for the church, the garden and the community. She thanked Lewis Ginter for being such good neighbors and said the church felt particularly blessed seeing the garden’s dome illuminated during its annual light show.

“We have taken great pride over the years telling people that this beautiful garden of colorful flowers backs up to our property. Unknowingly to Lewis Ginter, they have been a ‘directional’ beacon to the location of our church,” she said. “We come with mixed emotions but are excited to know that the property is going to continue to be used to bless many people in the years to come. As Mr. Rogers would say, ‘It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!’”

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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