Ginter Park is another Richmond historic neighborhood with tons of old charm, interesting architecture and a rich history. Located in Northside, the neighborhood lies between Chamberlayne Avenue, Edgewood Avenue and Brook Road to the East and West. Azalea Avenue marks the Northern border while Brookland Park Boulevard and Ladies Mile Road mark the Southern edge.
The neighborhood takes its name from Major Lewis Ginter, a well-known businessman during the late 19th century. The story goes that Ginter grew enamored with a suburban neighborhood in Australia while traveling for business and developed an interest in building a suburb in Richmond with some of the same features. So, just as you would expect any entrepreneur worth his salt to do, he immediately bought large swath of farmland just north of the City and got to work.
After laying out the neighborhood with relatively large residential lots organized by a grid street plan, Ginter began to build the necessary supporting infrastructure. He refurbished the few existing roads (including today’s Laburnum Avenue) and began building his network of new roads. Ginter also had the foresight to recruit Union Theological Seminary to the area and work out an arrangement to extend the electric street car system into the development. These two additions alone would become major anchors in the appeal and character of the development.
Unfortunately Ginter passed away in 1897 before fully realizing his dream but his niece (Grace Arents) and co-executor of his estate (Thomas Jeffries) picked up where he left off by establishing the Lewis Ginter Land and Improvement Company. By 1908, several lots had been sold and construction on new homes was underway. Momentum was stalled by World War I but resumed by the early 1920s. Many houses were built in a variety of styles including American Foursquare, Bungalow, Colonial, Colonial Revival, Shingle Style, Spanish Colonial, Tudor Revival, and Queen Anne.
After experiencing a decline between the 1950s and 1990s, Ginter Park is again flourishing. The tell tale signs are easy to spot… families are moving back into the area, many of the historic homes have been or are being restored, and businesses are making investments in the neighborhood. Veritas’ decision to acquire and move into the former Baptist Seminary campus from the West End in 2013 has been one such catalyst. In addition to making large ongoing investments in the area, the school has also attracted many families, faculty and employees from areas outside the City to the neighborhood.
Things to do and see nearby:
Union Presbyterian Seminary – Take a walk around campus and appreciate a impressive example of Tudor Revival architecture.
Lewis Ginter Recreation Association – Another example of the neighborhood’s historic architecture and a favorite summer destination for community residents.
Early Bird Biscuit Company – Tasty breakfast and lunch biscuits are just around the corner on Bellevue Avenue.
Stir Crazy Cafe– A beloved neighborhood coffee shop frequented by residents.
MacArthur Street – Several restaurants, a coffee shop, yoga studio, a small market and a wine shop are just blocks away.
Azalea Garden Center– An independent, family-owned garden center tucked away behind the Ginter Park Library is yet another piece of this neighborhood’s charm.