Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wirt E. Taylor House, 925 W. Grace St., built 1890-1891.

Click on the images for larger views.

The Wirt E. Taylor House stood at 925 W. Grace Street. Built 1890-1891, it was one of the last buildings designed by Richmond architect Albert L. West (1825-1892). The building seems to be part Queen Anne and part Richardsonian. Is it possible that West had designed a Queen Anne mansion and then added a few Richardsonian elements (the brownstone and the arches) to make it appear more modern?

The building was demolished in the mid-1960s. You can see the old Lee Art Theatre, now VCU's Grace Street Theater, on the left through the front porch facade looking towards Grace Street.

And what stands there now? This parking lot - as seen looking from Grace Street facing south.

To the east of what was the Wirt E. Taylor house stands two Richardsonian style buildings - both probably built in the mid-1890s.

Quincy Public Library in Quincy, Illinois as it appeared in The Daily Times (Richmond, Va) on July 2 1888.

The Quincy Public Library in Quincy, Illinois as it
appeared in The Daily Times (Richmond, Va) on July 2, 1888.

Why would a Richmond newspaper run an image of a new building in Illinois? While looking for something else I came across several issues of the Daily Times where they published images of newly constructed buildings outside of Virginia. Those same pages had a listing of local Richmond architects and builders. Was one of those architects or builders responsible for calling attention to these out of state buildings? Or was it a case of some sort of wire subscription to provide copy to newspapers nationwide?

The building is in the Richardsonian style.

A postcard image of the library - postmarked 1909.

And what happened to this interesting building? I emailed the library at Quincy, Ill. and asked - here's the response I received:
The old Free Public Library was built in 1888 by F. W. Menke Co. [a stone company]. The building has not been demolished.  It still stands on 4th and Maine, and is now the Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design.

Thanks for asking, and for the postcard image.

Nancy Dolan
Quincy Public Library

I think it is great their building is still around. I wish Richmond kept more of its old buildings. Check out the link to the Gardner Museum - it has more images of this building and mentions the architectural firm.

- Ray B.

3-D Images of Ginter House, 901 W. Franklin St.

These three 3-D images of the Shafer Street side of Ginter House were taken by Elijah Christman. You can view more 3-D images of Ginter House at Eli's Flickr Photo-Stream page You will need those special glasses to get the 3-D effect.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Web site on Ginter House

Check out this site created by the VCU Provost Office on the history and architecture of Ginter House, built 1888-1892, one of Richmond's most architecturally significant structures. Ginter House is considered the finest example of Richardsonian architecture in Virginia. It briefly served as Richmond’s first public library (1925-1930) and has been the main administrative building on the Monroe Park campus of VCU for over 40 years.