2020: A Year in Review
This has been a year of extraordinary challenges. We are grateful to you – each of you – for helping us to meet those challenges.
How can we begin to thank you – our friends, family, volunteers and supporters? You have generously given so much – your energy, your enthusiasm, your time, and your support – we are profoundly grateful for all of it! And above all – we thank you for caring as we do about Richmond’s historic buildings and neighborhoods.
This year, you have helped us to make significant progress on many important initiatives and projects, including:
- In 2020, we advanced the preservation and protection of the most important historic buildings and places that make Richmond unique, beautifuland authentic, with a particular focus on Monumental Church, Masons’ Hall and the Byrd Park Pump House.
- At Monumental Church, we completed the West Stairwell project which involved plaster repairs, painting, window restoration and installation of new storm window panels with the generous support of Mrs. Patsy K. Pettus. We also completed a restoration of the beautiful fanlight in the East Stairwell with the generous assistance of E.B. Duff Charitable Lead Trust and the Peachtree House Foundation. This project also included the installation of a new storm window panel to better protect the window. In addition, we worked with architectural conservators from the Philadelphia office of Building Conservation Associates Inc to identify exterior coating issues and recommend how to address and repair them. We will share more with you as this project develops.
- At Masons’ Hall, we worked with the Masons of Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19 and Masons’ Hall 1785 to support ongoing restoration work. Work completed this year on the exterior façade included exterior painting and exterior carpentry repairs to the porch, windows and other wood elements. This work was made possible by the generous support of the Matthew & Genevieve Mezzanotte Foundation.
- At the Byrd Park Pump House, we partnered with the Friends of the Pump House and the City of Richmond Department of Parks and Recreation to make an emergency repair of a falling archway. We expect this partnership to develop further over the next year as we continue to develop preservation solutions for the Pump House. This work has been made possible with the support of the late Mrs. Elisabeth Reed Carter and her family.
- We are grateful to project:HOMES and their team for their work during these trying times to complete two of the three homes currently being rehabilitated in Southern Barton Heights as part of our Gateway Corridor Revitalization Project. These two homes are being sold as permanently affordable housing through the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust. We are grateful to our Council of Historic Richmond and Dominion Energy for making landscaping improvements for the two homes.
- In an effort to facilitate the revitalization of 15 parcels owned by the Richmond Land Bank in North Jackson Ward, we financially supported the work of the Land Bank to develop a vision plan for these parcels through community engagement. With the essential input from the community through these outreach efforts, the study seeks to create a vision plan with a set of community values and visuals that will guide future development and honor the area’s rich past while creating a practical vision for the future. We are grateful to the Robins Foundation and an anonymous donor for supporting this work. For more information, including a copy of our historic context narrative, click here.
- These projects are just one example of our efforts, together with our fellow nonprofits and other community members, to think creatively about pressing community concerns, such as blight and affordability.
Education & Advocacy:
- Virtual Historic Richmond Rehab Expo
- This year, due to the pandemic, we “hosted” our popular free expo on social media, featuring historic preservation related exhibitors and vendors! We love serving as an active and helpful resource for all facets of saving Richmond’s irreplaceable structures and places.
- Golden Hammer Awards
- As a co-host for the virtual 2020 Golden Hammer Awards, we continued our partnership with Storefront for Community Design to recognize professionals working in neighborhood revitalization, blight reduction and historic preservation in the Richmond region.
- We loved celebrating Richmond’s innovation and creativity and the work of so many to adaptively reuse Richmond’s industrial past, while approaching design dilemmas with creativity and style! Click here to the link to the 2020 Program!
We have spent a great deal of time this year advocating for Richmond’s historic buildings, neighborhoods and places both humble and heroic:
- We worked creatively to solve issues and support strong neighborhoods through our participation on the Advisory Council for the City’s Richmond 300 Master Planning process, through multiple small area planning efforts and rezonings, through affordable housing and community development summits, and through our own neighborhood revitalization projects.
- We worked with the Sheffield family, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), and the City of Richmond’s preservation staff to develop positive preservation solutions for Brookbury Farm, and to ensure that it is appropriately documented as one of Richmond’s most significant historic, architectural and cultural resources for not only its age as the rare agricultural plantation house with surviving antebellum slave dwellings, but also its association with the Sheffields and Civil Rights Era history. Click here to learn more about some of the people who once called Brookbury home.
- To save the historic gasometer at Fulton Gas Works, we worked with Councilwoman Newbille to provide public engagement opportunities relating to the Department of Public Utilities remediation plans for the site.
- To preserve, protect and promote the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, we worked with Lenora McQueen and many other important advocates in the community to ensure recognition of the site’s historic significance and to advocate for its reacquisition by the City of Richmond so that it can be appropriately memorialized.
- There are many other structures on our radar screen and for which we are fighting – too many to list here – but all are important and authentic elements of Richmond’s built environment.
In 2020, our Lecture Series featured compelling and thought provoking programs. While our first programs were in person, we pivoted with the pandemic to providing programs virtually.
- Modern Living in Historic Houses – This in person panel discussion focused on modern living in historic houses with Kirsten Travers Moffitt, Janie Molster and Todd Dykshorn.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Preservation of Post-War Modernism – This virtual panel discussion with Danielle Porter, Chuck Wray, Lucy Moore and Scott Firestine discussed the evolution of modernism, the myriad challenges associated with its restoration, and highlights of Richmond’s often ignored and dismissed post-war Modern commercial architecture.
- This Old House: A DIY Guide to Researching your Historic Home – This virtual panel discussion, with Danielle Porter and VDHR architectural historians and archaeologists Marc Wagner and Mike Clem, discussed our experience with historic Brookbury Farm and how to research early deeds, land maps historic photographs and surveys, city directories, physical evidence, personal collections, and more, as well as how to navigate listing on the historic registers.
We are energized to see the catalytic impact of our combined efforts on a building, a streetscape, and a neighborhood. We are excited about working hand in hand with so many in the community to think creatively about solving the most pressing community issues.
We are grateful to our many partners, friends and supporters and – most of all – to YOU! Your generosity and financial support are vital to sustain Historic Richmond and move us forward. I hope you will take this opportunity to re-invest in our important work by making a gift today.
We need your help. THANK YOU!