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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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[HOR]

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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Events

Local artist Doug Orleski, better known as RVA Coffee Stain, selected as Monument 10K “Dash for the Cash” participant

Though he acknowledges that he still has plenty of work left to do to prepare before race day, Orleski already has plans for the $2,500 if he does cross the finish line first: he’ll donate the winnings to the VCU Massey Cancer Center.

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Doug Orleski, the Richmond-based artist known as ‘RVA Coffee Stain,’ has been selected for an opportunity to win $2,500 on Saturday, March 28, as the Dash for the Cash participant at the 2020 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger. In the Dash for the Cash, one participant is selected to get a head start on the course and race against the rest of the field in hopes of being the first to cross the finish line. If the contestant can outrun the fastest elite runner, the Dash for the Cash prize is theirs for the taking.

Orleski’s head start will be based on his estimated predicted time on his race entry form, previous running experiences, and estimated times of elite runners in the field. His goal is to attempt to cross the finish line before any of the other athletes running in the full 10k (6.2 miles). If he does outpace the rest of the field to the finish line, he will win the $2,500 cash prize.

The 2020 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k will be Orleski’s first-ever race after taking up running several years ago as part of a commitment to improving his health through active living. He began exercising and running on a regular basis and in the process lost 60 pounds on his journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Through his cartoon and sketch work as RVA Coffee Stain, Orleski says he’s able to celebrate Richmond through art, and his work helped him become part of the community after he moved to the area in 2012. Taking part in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k is a natural extension of that community involvement and another great way to celebrate Richmond’s love for active living and big events.

“I was surprised and excited to be approached with the opportunity to take part in the Dash for the Cash,” Orleski said. “I was looking forward to the experience already since this will be my first actual race, and now I am anticipating race day on March 28 even more.”

Though he acknowledges that he still has plenty of work left to do to prepare before race day, Orleski already has plans for the $2,500 if he does cross the finish line first: he’ll donate the winnings to the VCU Massey Cancer Center, one of the official charity partners of the 10k, to help aid in their fight against cancer and support the lifesaving research being done here in Richmond.

In addition to the training he’s already done, Orleski plans to utilize the help of the Richmond Road Runners Club Advanced 10k Training Team, particularly to build speed. Orleski joked that after learning he’d been selected, “I texted my wife and said it looks like it’s time to start training so I don’t look like a fool out there,” but he knows this is a rare opportunity and a unique way to engage with the 10k, and he says he’s looking forward to the experience: “I’ll plan to do some fun stuff on RVA Coffee Stain social media leading up the race…. this will be really cool.”

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Crime

Pedestrian struck in hit and run crash on Magnolia Street in Northside

The Richmond Police Department’s Special Operations Division-Traffic Crash Team is investigating a Hit & Run crash that occurred in the late evening yesterday in the City’s Northside.

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The Richmond Police Department’s Special Operations Division-Traffic Crash Team is investigating a Hit & Run crash that occurred in the late evening yesterday in the City’s Northside.

On Thursday evening, February 20, 2020, between 8:50 p.m. and 9:10 p.m., an unidentified vehicle traveling east in the 2200 block of Magnolia Street struck and seriously injured a male pedestrian wearing a yellow and white coat who was walking along Magnolia Street.

The driver of the striking vehicle fled the scene without stopping to render aid with the last known direction of travel as heading east on Magnolia Street towards Mechanicsville Turnpike.

The victim was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in life-threatening condition.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call RPD Crash Team Investigator Jarron Peterson at 804-646-1511 or contact Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. You may use the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Community

RTD on Nathan Burrell’s Impact on our Parks

A lot has changed in James River Park over the years one constant for 17 years was Nathan Burrell and his hard work.

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Nathan Burrell spent 17 years working in our park system. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on a few projects. The impact he had on my particular project was immense. The impact he had on the James River Park System is even greater.

Colleen Curran at RTD has a great summary of the impact Nathan has had on our parks.

During his time as superintendent, Burrell raised the parks operational budget from approximately $535,000 to over $800,000. With the increase, he was able to expand the park staff from three to seven full-time positions.

He also secured capital improvement funding totaling over $800,000 for the park.

“I think he had the two main characteristics you need [in this position]: patience and perseverance. His patience didn’t mean he was going to accept it. Settling was not his thing. He was persistent, stubborn even, in pushing for what he believed was right,” Lugbill said.

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