Past and Present Monroe Park Edifices

Ok, I might be stretching the term ‘edifice’, but neighbor Todd Woodson and Richard Lee Bland have been sharing some research on the fountain in Monroe Park on the FaceBook group Fans of Monroe Park.

Todd cited this passage:

“In 1872, Colonel Albert Ordway, Provost Marshal for Virginia (who lived close to the park) donated the park’s first fountain, built of stone, but city council rejected a petition from the “citizens near Monroe Park” for $2,500 in additional improvements. The requested improvements included a brick wall about two feet high around the park to prevent the embankment from washing on the pavement, granite post and chain to enclose the fountain, twenty iron seats, granite steps at the gates and for putting up the fountain donated by Colonel Ordway”.
From The Ghosts and Glories of Monroe Park- a Sesquicentennial History by David M. Clinger 1998.

Now quoting and paraphrasing Richard Lee Bland:

The history of (a later) fountain is very sketchy. Mary Wingfield Scott fixed the date of its appearance in the park in 1908. This stone pyramid precede but no dates to confirm.. In 1896 the original memorial to Jefferson Davis was intended to be at the park, a large colossal temple. The cornerstone was laid, but the project was abandoned. The 1970 article at the collapse states, “the fountain’s original upper tiers, which broke off many years ago, were replaced by new ones during a 1961 renovation.” Memories are both short and imperfect. I will comment the 1908 date is interesting due a four tier fountain once stood in Gamble’s Hill Park, overlooking the James River, now owned by Ethel Corporation.

The theory is that the Gamble’s Hill fountain was moved to Monroe Park in 1908 and that is the one there now. Here is a 1962 News Leader newspaper clipping where Mary Winfield Scott made that observation:


An old photo of the fountain at Gamble’s Hill near Pratt’s Castle.

Here is an old painting of the fountain in Monroe Park that is in the Special Collections at the VCU library:

So, in terms of present edifices, an old and persistent hoarder has started to create a pile in Monroe Park. This woman is infamous for having done the same sort of thing in the Fan and Oregon Hill previously.

This adds on to the current perception that the City and Monroe Park Conservancy are not being adequate stewards to historic Monroe Park. Still, young people continue to flock to Monroe Park to play Pokemon.

Nisa Thai Now Open


Nisa Thai finally opened last night on S. Belvidere Street and is ready to take your order. I think this is the first Asian food restaurant in what is technically part of Oregon Hill.

Holly Street Extortion


Jul 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Jul 28, 2016 at 8:45 am
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Jul 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Jul 26, 2016 at 11:30 pm
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Jul 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Echo is Missing, Missing Still


From posting:

Our cat, Echo is missing from the 400 block of Laurel. She is a domestic short hair. Calico with a split face—half black the other orange and white. Very sweet but she doesn’t ever wander out so we are very worried. If found please call 225-8921.

Reviled On Saturday

If you missed the Byrd Theater showing, here’s another chance to see this locally made zombie film at Mojo’s:


From FaceBook event page:

Encore screening of REVILED Ep. 2 – the latest installment of Richmond filmmaker Jim Stramel’s zombie vs zombie pit fighting series. Starring Randall Robinson, J.R. Foster and Lee Reynolds and Featuring Sara Carpenter. Music by Angry Johnny and the Killbilles NOT RATED: Contains Foul Language, Violence and Questionable Taste – FREE

Updated: 2nd District Candidates Make Statements on Monroe Park

After recent events in Monroe Park, I asked candidates running for City Council in the 2nd District for written statements on the future of Monroe Park.

I received the following from Kimberly Gray:

I support the Monroe Park Master Plan that was developed in 2009. As the 2nd District City Council Representative I will advocate for renovations to get started sooner rather than later. I will work to help secure the remaining funds required to complete the plan. I am a strong proponent for keeping the historic integrity of the park and to promote the ideal that our parks are our greatest public treasure and should be open, safe and comfortable for all of us to visit and enjoy.

I have also received this statement from candidate Charlie Diradour:

Thanks to Scott and for inviting us into the conversation regarding the future of one of Richmond’s most iconic parks. Monroe Park’s history is one of the many reasons that it should be restored to its former glory. The concept of public squares in Richmond dates back to the Eighteen Hundreds, and as we witness a resurgence in the “live, work, play ” manner of living, we need leadership that understands that parks are not amenities, but necessities.

The City of Richmond has not maintained, or improved this gem for decades. In fact, the damage done by installing the wrong sidewalks, including doing extensive damage to the irrigation system, has made the restoration more expensive in the long run.

The lease that was signed, and continues in force by and between Richmond and The Monroe Park Conservancy has been my evening reading for weeks now, and from what I gather that lease gives The Conservancy the right to The Park for Thirty years. That same lease gives The Conservancy the time they need to raise the sufficient monies to improve The Park.

Given the history, the present situation, and the future possibilities, I believe that the current agreement represents the only viable option to address the decades of neglect of this jewel by The City. Monroe Park must be restored so that it may be enjoyed by all, including VCU students and staff and Richmond residents.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.” Through our collective efforts we must find a place of agreement that will facilitate Monroe Park becoming, once again, a place for all to congregate, recreate, and at times find solace. We can only do that with steady leadership from a community committed to repairing structures and relationships.

Thanks to all;