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Hills & Heights

Must-See RVA! — Archibald Freeland House

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

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March 2020
  • 1015 Bainbridge Street
    Built, circa 1770

A grand Colonial house in the heart of Old Manchester, and one of the oldest in the city.

(The Valentine) — John Murchie, a founding father of Manchester — oil on canvas, John Durand — 1780s

(The Valentine) — John Murchie, a founding father of Manchester — oil on canvas, John Durand — 1780s

Whether this handsome house was built by Archibald Freeland or before he owned the property, it is thus far impossible to say. We know that he bought the lot, then numbered 133, from John Murchie in or before 1805, but the deed was in the records of the Richmond District Court, which were burned in the Evacuation Fire. That the house was by no means new in 1805 is evident from the first insurance policy, taken out by Freeland in that year. The four buildings-house, kitchen, stable, and smokehouse—are valued at $8900, a depreciation of $500 being allowed, which would suggest that they were at least five years old.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 33 — showing property in 1886, including a Shanty, an Old Shanty, and Well

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 33 — showing property in 1886, including a Shanty, an Old Shanty, and Well

Archibald Freeland, ancestor of many Virginians of today, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1757. Emigrating to Virginia about 1780, he owned tobacco warehouses at Warwick, one of which was burned by Benedict Arnold. He was in the tobacco exporting business and also invested heavily in lands both in Chesterfield County and in Kentucky. His affairs became involved, and in 1819 he mortgaged his house to his son-in-law, James Scott, of whom we shall hear again in connection with the house he built long afterwards on Fifth Street. Meanwhile Scott lived in the Freeland or Murchie house.

(Elks History Project) — 1907 postcard for the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks

(Elks History Project) — 1907 postcard for the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks

In 1853 he sold it to the trustee for Mrs. S. S. Walke. It was owned by the Walkes down to 1889. In 1907 it was purchased by Manchester Lodge Number 843 of the B. P. O. E. and was an Elks’ Club for nearly thirty years. In 1938 its present owner acquired for $3100 the only mansion still standing in Richmond on the south side of the James River.

March 2020

March 2020

An exterior view of this house is deceptive, since it has been spoiled by the long veranda and by the large panes of glass in the windows. The outbuildings are all gone; so is the balustrade around the top. Its location on an eminence and the proportions are all that suggest how handsome it could easily be made.

March 2020 — showing curious keystones

March 2020 — showing curious keystones

The windows on the Eleventh Street side have curious keystones, made of bricks set in relief and not covered with plaster. Inside, one is much more immediately impressed. The staircase is a very unusual one, with a low-swung curve quite different from the long curve of the Wickham house stair, but no less beautiful, though the balusters and newel post seem to have been changed in Victorian times. The small room to the right of the door seems an afterthought also.

(Google Arts & Culture) — Archibald Freeland House, between 1910 - 1930 — Cook Photograph Collection, The Valentine

(Google Arts & Culture) — Archibald Freeland House, between 1910 – 1930 — Cook Photograph Collection, The Valentine

The most magnificent feature is the paneling in the rooms to the left of the entrance, which extends across that end of the building and can be compared only with that of the Marshall house. The back room originally extended all the way across the back of the house. A graceful arch between the two halves has recently been filled in. All the doors, practically, are of the six-panel “witches’ door” type. The mantels are varied and interesting, three having a curious pattern that looks like the “shelf-paper” formerly used for kitchens and pantries. In spite of some alterations necessary to make it into a two-family dwelling, the interior on the whole is well preserved and in fairly good condition. [HOR]

March 2020 — showing veranda detail

March 2020 — showing veranda detail

Today the house still sits on the same sun-drenched corner, right next to the old Baptist church. It’s looking a little old in spots, but so would you if you were 250 years old.

Architecture Richmond has a nice write-up on this house with additional history and pictures. Not to be missed!

(Archibald Freeland House is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

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

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Virginia Business Reporting that the Bally’s Casino No Longer in the Running

There are only two casino options now on the table.

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Caught this news this morning on Virginia Business:

The city of Richmond has cut the $650 million Bally’s casino proposal from consideration, leaving two competitors, the mayor’s office announced Wednesday morning.

The Live! Casino & Hotel proposal by The Cordish Cos. and ONE Casino and Resort, proposed by Radio One Inc., are the only two options now being considered by an evaluation panel named by the city.

“We appreciate Bally’s interest to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” Leonard Sledge, director of the city’s Department of Economic Development, said in a statement.  “The evaluation panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline. We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”

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Herbs Galore & More at Maymont

Get your tickets now for Herbs Galore & More to be held Saturday, April 24, 8am-3pm.

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Spring is in the air and it’s time to get plants into the dirt. Herbs Galore & More is a great spot kickstart your garden and/or yard.

Put on your gardening shoes, grab your little red wagon and come out to the Marketplace on the Lawn for everyone’s favorite plant sale! The event will feature extra space between vendors, wide aisles and a spacious layout for a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all guests.

$7 per person/free for members and children ages 12 and under.
Please purchase your tickets in advance.
Get Your Tickets and More Info Here

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Artisan Market at Eat 66 this Saturday

An out-door, open-air market with live music, wine tasting, local farmers, artisans selling handmade home décor, art, jewelry, apparel, and more.

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Spotted on the Eat 66 Facebook

JOIN US ON SATURDAYS for our Artisan Market at one of Forest Hill’s Favorite Neighborhood Brunch Spots, Eat 66! Great Brunch, Live Music, Wine Tasting, and Local Farmers & Artisans selling handmade home décor, art, jewelry, apparel, and more! We are an out-door, open-air market. Social distancing will be monitored at all times and All COVID-19 regulations and rules will be enforced and followed. MASKS ARE REQUIRED. Come out to safely support our community and shop small! Pet friendly!

VENDORS APPLY HERE: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSf8qHISFqd…/viewform…

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