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When the State Fair was in Monroe Park

Did you know that the first Virginia State Fair was held in what became Monroe Park?

In 1850, the only public park in Richmond was Capitol Square. With a population of 30,280 at that time, this sinqle open space was no longer sufficient for the growing city’s needs, and in 1851 city councilman Charles Dimmock proposed that parks be acquired near future major residential areas. In 1851-52, seven and one-half acres of land were purchased to become Western Square. This square would later become Monroe Park.

The site being beyond the city limits and to the west of developed residential areas, the park was not developed for two decades. In 1854, the property was used by the Virginia State Agricultural Society for a fair. The fair was visited by President John Tyler and General Winfield Scott
and was celebrated as a major civic event in the antebellum period.

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