Monroe Ward Historic District
- Also Known As: DHR File No. 127-5816
Monroe Ward is an historic, mixed-use, urban neighborhood in the city of Richmond, Virginia. Its architectural fabric presents a variety of periods, styles, building types and uses that illustrate the evolution of the city from 1814, when the Federal style Curtis Carter House (later known as the Crozet House, NRHP and VLR) was built, to the late 1940s when commercial and business uses began to dominate the historic district. Monroe Ward inhabits a sector that has long played a role in the life of the city: in the first half of the 19th century as a neighborhood of scattered dwellings and cottages, from the 1870s through the turn of the century as an elegant residential quarter, then beginning in the second quarter of the twentieth century as a commercial district. The neighborhood is regaining popularity for office and residential use as the century draws to its close.
The architectural inventory of Monroe Ward covers nearly two centuries of building types and styles. Dominated by Greek Revival and Italianate townhouses later converted to commercial use, the district still exhibits the scale of its late nineteenth-century heyday. Generally two or three stories tall, three bays wide and set back from the sidewalk with a narrow yard, a number of these masonry dwellings survive intact. The historic district is enhanced by herringbone-patterned brick sidewalks and street trees. The floor plan organization is predominantly the side hall-parlor type with a rear ell. A majority of the historic building facades are laid up in common-bond pressed brick. In some cases, like the James W Archer House at 12 South 3rd Street, cast- and wrought-iron fences, porches, and roof cresting survive. More often, however, shallow storefronts were added within the setback area in the early years of the twentieth century, as this once prime residential real estate gradually increased its popularity as a commercial area. Reflecting a trend which began in the late 1930s and continues in recent decades, other residences were remodeled in a Georgian Revival style. The most exceptional example of these historic renovations is 105 East Cary Street, Snug Harbor, the home and office of landscape architect Charles Gillette. - MHPI, 8 December 1999