Who We Are

Ours is an Old and Historic District that lies between Ryland and the Boulevard, flanked by stately Monument Avenue and bustling West Broad Street.  A tightly-knit neighborhood full of Victorian charm and personality, we boast the best examples of architecturally untouched townhouses with their welcoming front porches, graceful columns and cheerful gardens.  Additionally, West Grace is walking distance from museums, parks, restaurants, breweries, cinemas, schools, bed and breakfasts, a retirement home and small businesses.  You will often find our neighbors stopping to chat on front steps, watching the kids ride their bikes, or walking their dogs during the day or at night, along our beautifully-lit street.  Our summer porch parties are a well established tradition, along with our mid-winter progressive dinner, Easter egg hunt and fall picnic, to name just a few of our creative “excuses” to get neighbors together from West Grace’s 1600 to its 2700 block!

Our Mission
Originally created to establish our designation as an Old and Historic District, todayʼs Association now functions as a full-service community-based organization, improving the overall quality of life on West Grace Street.  We serve as the “voice of our community,” represent the concerns of our residents before City Council, fully support Old and Historic standards, and promote a positive and fun neighborhood experience.

Become a member!
Please visit the Membership page to join.

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What is “Old and Historic?”

We are proud to be designated an Old and Historic district. The City of Richmond contains 15 Old & Historic Districts, the first one created in 1957 to protect its architecture from destruction.  West Grace Street wisely joined in 1996 to preserve the architectural integrity and the authentic character of the almost 50 acres that make up our district.  Historic districts do have aesthetic stipulations, but they are not intended to hinder property owners.  Bylaws help ensure that the character of the neighborhood remains intact. The stability provided by these standards usually raises property values because investors can be assured that the historic nature of the district will remain intact.o&H districts

As with other O&H districts, like Monument Avenue, this special designation means that we require a  Certificate of Appropriateness  before any proposed work alters the exterior appearance of the property, as it is viewed from a public street or alley.  Please note that the most commonly requested changes are administrative and it is therefore quiet easy to obtain permission for them.  However, please contact the Commission of Architectural Review at (804)646-6335 before altering anything on your property’s structures.

Property owners who wish to use paint colors not presently on the building, or the existing colors but in a different scheme, may do so only by application to the Commission. The painting of previously unpainted masonry will generally not be permitted.

Applications for Certificates of Appropriateness are available through Commission staff or online at: Certificate of Appropriateness.

O&H Guidelines and information on our fellow Richmond O&H neighborhoods!

The exciting O&H color palette once you get approval!

 

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Our Beginnings

cropped-postcard.jpgPeople widely believe that Grace Street had its name changed because of the number of churches present by 1844. Prior to that time, it was known simply as “G” Street, following the early lettering system of city streets.  By the end of the 19th century, there were eight churches on Grace Street, adding to its architectural character.  (http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/GraceHD.html)

Originally situated in Henrico County, the area between Monroe Park and a line immediately west of North Lombardy Street was annexed by the city of Richmond in 1867. The area thereafter became progressively more attractive to residents and
developers mainly because of the increasing availability of public transportation, water and sewer lines, and public parks. Soon after the 1870’s, handsome blocks of brick rowhouses began to appear–first around Monroe Park and later along extensions of Grace and Franklin streets, and Park, Grove, and Floyd avenues.  (http://fanofthefan.com/2012/01/the-fan-area-historic-district/)

Dubbed “Richmond’s Fifth Avenue,” Grace Street became the site of more than 70 new retail shops and office buildings between 1920 and 1930, many in an Art Deco-influenced style. The stock market crash of 1929 ended this unprecedented building boom, marking an end to the exuberant, fanciful storefronts built along Grace Street.(http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/GraceHD.html)

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, but he considered Richmond his home, and called himself “a Virginian.” It was in Richmond that Poe grew up, married, and first gained a national literary reputation. Poe adopted the middle name “Allan” from
Talaverathe Richmond family who took him in as a toddler, after his actress mother’s untimely death (she is buried in the churchyard of St. John’s Episcopal Church).  Many of the places in Richmond associated with Poe have been lost, but several still remain- including the home of the Tally family who lived at Talavera at 2315 West Grace Street, which is privately owned. Tradition says that it was at Talavera that Poe gave his last reading of “The Raven” on September 25, 1849. Two days later, Poe left Richmond for the last time. He died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849. (https://www.poemuseum.org/life-richmond.php)

In 1840 Richmond College’s first campus was located on the grounds of an old mansion once owned by the Haxall family, who owned the largest milling operation in Virginia. The mansion, named “Columbia,” stands to this day at the 1100grace copycorner of Grace and Lombardy Streets.  The College ceased operations during the Civil War, losing one fifth of the alumni and many members of the faculty and student body in battle.  Eventually, the campus was used as a camp by the Union Army.  After 1914 when Richmond College moved from its original setting bounded by Ryland, Broad, N. Lombardy, and W. Franklin streets, West Grace Street was extended through the grounds and most of the former academic buildings were demolished.  (http://rc.richmond.edu/about/history.html and http://fanofthefan.com/2012/01/the-fan-area-historic-district/)

An examination of the Richmond City Directories of the period between 1910 to 1920, confirms the middle-class development of the Fan Area, south of Monument Avenue. While Monument, and to a lesser extent, West Grace Street boasted presidents and owners of the city’s major corporations and stores among its residents, the streets lying to the south of Monument included teachers, clerks, secretaries, insurance agents, book keepers, salesmen and laborers as residents.   (http://fanofthefan.com/2012/01/the-fan-area-historic-district/)

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Join us!

Traditional, contemporary, professional, modern family-oriented, artsy, convenient and never dull, this is city living as you imagined it could be!  Step outside the door of your West Grace Street home and youʼre within a leisurely stroll of museums, shops, restaurants, breweries, schools, parks, markets, a lot of friends and even more fun. We love living here and we know you will, too. Itʼs a point of pride with us, being West Grace Streeters.

Become a member today!

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Reporting Neighborhood Concerns

Remember, reporting concerns we see in our neighborhood is important.  If you see a problem that needs a resolution, such as a pothole, graffiti or a leaking fire hydrant (you name it!), please let the City know.   Let’s all be part of the solution.  Better communication leads to better communities!

 

Report here!

 

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Help Control Mosquitoes in Our Neighborhood!

We can all work together to control mosquitoes in our neighborhood by following these tips.

Remember: Patrol your yard once a week!

The key to reducing mosquito populations is to deny them a place to breed. There are many things citizens can do to encourage reduced mosquito populations around their homes. These include:
Remove trash and clutter. This includes discarded tires, buckets, tarps, plastic bags and any other items that could collect water. Remember to check alley and spaces under decks for discarded containers that might be collecting water.

Home Mosquito Control Tips:

  1. Minimize and eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes require water to breed. Removing water-holding containers like bird baths, kiddie pools, and pet water dishes, or turning them upside down, as well as ensuring trash can lids fit tightly, helps prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Do not let water sit at bottom of flower pots or in holes or tree stumps. Cover rain barrels with a screen to keep mosquitoes out.
  2. Empty and change water. Keep water in containers that cannot be removed, such as bird baths and kiddie pools, fresh. Use larvicide mosquito dunks that will not harm wildlife.
  3. Clean gutters regularly. Clogged drains and gutters can create backup that breeds mosquitoes.
  4. Repair screens on windows and doors. Make sure children know to keep screen doors closed to keep mosquitoes from entering buildings.
  5. Maintain lawns. Cut weeds, mow lawns and water carefully to prevent standing water.
  6. Drain ditches.

Call Health Department if you discover unusually high number of mosquitoes (804-205-3912)

Mosquito Repellents
Reduce mosquito issues by remembering the “Four Ds:”

  1. Dusk and Dawn — avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and at dawn.
  2. Dress — wear long, loose, light-colored clothing that covers the skin.
  3. DEET — use mosquito repellents that contain DEET. DEET is the most effective mosquito repellent. Spray on clothes if concerned about skin contact. Picaridin or oil of lemon or eucalyptus are possible alternatives on exposed skin.
  4. Drainage — eliminate standing water around the home in places such as buckets, cans, old tires, toys and plant containers.
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