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VHS Offers Class on History of the Fan District

Richmond’s Old West End: From Belvidere Street to the Belt Line

By Robert P. Winthrop

May 13 and 20, 2010

5:30–7:00 pm

This class will discuss the architecture and history of The Fan District, the West of the Boulevard area, and Monument Avenue. These neighborhoods were “modern” street-car related residential areas created to house Richmond’s expanding middle and upper classes. They are the last intensely urban districts built before residential development became totally suburbanized in the middle of the 20th century. They represent the final and most sophisticated development of this type of densely packed urban neighborhood, which characterized Richmond from 1800 to 1929. The entire district is well preserved and retains its houses, schools, churches, shops, and restaurants. It functions today much as it did a century ago.

Although these districts consist of hundreds of houses, the building quality is consistently high, both with respect to construction and architectural design. Richmond’s finest architects and contractors worked to make these areas the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Most of the houses are now between 80 and 120 years old, and their preservation has played a major role in the revitalization of Richmond in the 21st century. The neighborhoods today are both architecturally preserved and thriving as modern residential areas.

This class costs $50 for VHS members and $60 for nonmembers.  To register, visit the website.

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