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Monroe Ward Historic District

  • Also Known As: DHR File No. 127-5816

  • Vicinity: Roughly Main and Cary St, and 3rd to Jefferson Sts
  • Neighborhood of Downtown in Richmond
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Historic District

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



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1933/00/00 Charles F Gillette Home and Office Charles F Gillette makes Snug Harbor (105 East Cary St) his home and studio


Crozet House
  • NRHP
Ellen Glasgow House
Jefferson Hotel

Information »

The Monroe Ward Historic District is a microcosm of Richmond's history and of architectural styles favored by the city's middle class from 1814 through 1949. This evolved neighborhood when first developed in the second decade of the 19th century was sparsely built and beyond the urban center. From the 1840s through the first years of the 20th century Monroe Ward was a dense but genteel residential area. The automobile and the city's new streetcar suburbs drew homeowners west and north beginning in the 1910s. Monroe Ward's corner buildings were sacrificed for early service stations; in other cases front porches were replaced with storefronts and commercial entries. Surface parking lots asserting the supremacy of convenience eroded the district's edges. Fortunately the influx of small businesses, particularly architects and designers in the 100 block of East Cary and furniture-related trades in the 00 and 100 block of East Main Street, resulted in the preservation and stabilization of core blocks in the district.

The Monroe Ward Historic District meets National Register Criterion B because of its association with two highly significant people in the City's past. French native Claudius Crozet, famous for engineering the first tunnel through the Blue Ridge Mountains, owned 100 East Main Street, the Federal style Crozet House (NRHP and VLR) from 1823-32 while he was the State Engineer. The Ellen Glasgow House (NHL and VLR) was the Greek Revival style home of the novelist and social critic from her childhood until her death in 1945. Monroe Ward also meets the requirements of National Register Criterion C because the district vividly illustrates 19th and early 20th century architectural styles, including the early 19th century Federal style, the mid-19th century Greek Revival, the late-19th century Italianate and Queen Anne styles, and Neoclassical and Colonial Revival styles favored from the early 20th century through the 1940s.

The work of several of Richmond's prominent architects is scattered throughout the district. Carneal & Johnston designed several commercial structures with Neoclassical details, including the F Percy Loth Stores at 15:21 West Main Street and the Carneal Apartments, at 1-9 South Adams Street. Marion Dimmock designed the James W Archer House at 12 South 3rd Street in the Second Empire Style. The Dietz Press at 109 East Cary Street, designed by Carl Lidner, is a neighborhood landmark, though its Collegiate Gothic facade is an anomaly. Charles Gillette's landscape design studio inspired the creation of several handsome brick terraces and pocket gardens at the building fronts of the 100 Block of East Cary Street. The 1920s, '30s and '40s also saw a trend, perhaps sparked by the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the same period, of architects' reinterpreting Greek Revival town houses as Georgian Revival buildings. - MHPI, 8 December 1999

Data »

Particulars for Monroe Ward Historic District:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Area of Significance Business
Area of Significance Engineering
Architectural Style Federal
Architectural Style Greek Revival
Sight Category Historic District
Area of Significance Landscape Architecture
Area of Significance Literature
Level of Significance Local
Historic Use Multiple dwelling
Criteria Person
Owner Private
Historic Use Professional
Historic Use Restaurant
Historic Use Secondary structure
Historic Use Single dwelling
Area of Significance Social History
Historic Use Specialty Store

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 27th January 2000

Registry Name: Monroe Ward
Registry Address: Roughly Main and Cary St., and 3rd to Jefferson Sts.
Registry Number: 99001717
Resource Type: District
Owner: Private
Architect: Gillette, Charles;
Architectural Style: Federal, Greek revival
Area in Acres: 14
Contributing Buildings: 68
Non-Contributing Buildings: 11
Contributing Structures: 1
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Level of Significance: Local
Area of Significance: Architecture, Social history, Landscape architecture, Literature, Engineering
Applicable Criteria: Person, Architecture-Engineering
Associated People: Glasgow, Ellen; Crozet, Claudius
Historic Function: Domestic, Commerce, Trade
Historic Sub-Function: Single dwelling, Restaurant, Business, Specialty store, Secondary structure, Multiple dwelling, Professional
Current Function: Domestic, Commerce, Trade
Current Sub-Function: Single dwelling Multiple dwelling Secondary structure Business Specialty store Professional Restaurant

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