This is the next in a series of Downtown RVa Walks. This time, we leave the riverside for the first time for a walk on Father's Day through the state capitol grounds and the historic neighborhood of Court End. We will meet at the Washington Equestrian Statute, talk a bit about the statute, then take a leisurely walk around the Thomas Jefferson-designed Capitol building he based on a Roman temple in France. We will note the various historic buildings on Capitol Square including the old Bell Tower. We will talk about the Executive (Governor's) Mansion, the oldest in continuous use in America. There are statues dedicated to black Virginians and their struggle for equal rights, Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe and others.
We will then leave Capitol Square, pass the historic Old City Hall and not-quite-so-historic "new" City Hall and head across East Broad Street into what was formerly a popular and wealthy neighborhood in the late 18th c and through the 19th c. Although much of the neighborhood has been occupied by massive hospitals and other buildings supporting the VCU Medical Center, there are historic treasures remaining. The John Marshall House, home of the most prominent citizen of the neighborhood and our country's first Chief Justice. The Wickham - Valentine House and other lovely homes on that same block of East Clay St. The Confederate White House, home of CSA President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. The former First Baptist Church Building, now renovated for VCU/MCV student lounge and support services. The old MCV West Hospital, which was threatened with demolition but saved.
The Monumental Church, built as a memorial to those that died in a tragic theater fire and which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
The Egyptian Building, built in the rare "Egyptian Revival" style and still used for its original purpose, medical classrooms. The First African Baptist Church, a prominent black church since the years before the Civil War. We will then return to Capitol Square on Governor's Street, or, those that wish to join me, on down Governor's Street (an old street that predated the street grid) into Shockoe Slip for a visit to the classic Tobacco Company for a refreshing beverage.
I expect our walk will take about 90 minutes to perhaps 2 hours depending on pace and size of the group and how many questions. We will walk about 3 miles or so.
Preparations. A little less adventure with this walk, which is mostly on streets and sidewalks, but I recommend good walking shoes and a bottle of water. About half - way or so through our walk, there are restrooms and a water fountain as we pass through the MCV "Gateway" Building. Bring money for Tobacco Company afterwards.