The Davis Brothers (Charles Waddy Davis, Oswald J. Davis, and J. Lee Davis) were building contractors, building material suppliers and developers. They were also involved in banking and thus had a potential to profit from all aspects of a construction project. They were not architects, but they had in house or freelance talent to design their multiplicity of projects. They produced a huge number of houses and apartments in the old West End in the first decades of the twentieth century. Most of their work is in the Fan, West of the Boulevard and Randolph areas.
By contrast, living in a big city like Richmond and working in a clean environment as a telephone operator or typist was a great opportunity. At night one could go to one of the new movie places such as the Empire, the Colonial or the National, or you could shop at one of the stylish department stores.
An apartment on Monument Avenue, the Boulevard or in the new West End was a vast improvement on the attic rooms or a bunk house, as was the lot for housemaids or laborers. While Richmond still needed heavy manual labor, there were new skills needed for the modern age. Electricians, plumbers, streetcar operators and store clerks were all in demand. The Davis Brothers marketed to this new middle class. They produced housing that was respectable and modestly stylish.
PHOTO via ArchitectureRichmond: The Wilmarth 1916 (2712 Hanover Avenue)