The Museum District is another uniquely Richmond neighborhood built upon history, architecture and community listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Surrounded by several popular neighborhoods (including the Fan, Carytown, and Scott’s Addition), it is within several blocks in just about any direction of restaurants, breweries, shopping and other popular hotspots. The district’s borders are formed by Boulevard on the East, Ellwood Avenue to the South, 195 on the West and Broad Street at the Northern edge.
Like many areas of Richmond, the Museum District was originally farmland which later became a crucial asset during the Civil War. The Robinson House – now part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) campus and under restoration – was originally the primary farmhouse on the land.
In 1885, “Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1” was set up there and on the surrounding 36 acres now bound by Grove Avenue, Sheppard Street, Kensington Avenue, and the Boulevard. A few other
The Museum District’s rich history adds to its unique character and appeal. Originally farmland, the area played a significant role during the Civil War. The Robinson House, now part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) campus and currently undergoing restoration, was once the main farmhouse on this land.
In 1885, “Robert E. Lee Camp No. 1” was established in the vicinity, encompassing the surrounding 36 acres, bounded by Grove Avenue, Sheppard Street, Kensington Avenue, and the Boulevard. Some structures from that era, including the camp’s restored Gothic Revival chapel, still stand today.
The neighborhood’s transformation from farmland to a thriving residential community had its share of interesting developments. For example, resident Oliver Schoolcraft built a horse racetrack between what is now Grove Avenue and Cary Street. The introduction of horse-drawn, steam, and eventually electric streetcar lines made the area an attractive destination for suburban development.
In 1889, prominent Richmond figures such as Major James H. Dooley and Joseph Bryan formed the West End Land Development Company, outlining plans for a large residential development. Residential construction began in earnest in the mid-1890s and continued through the early 1940s. The neighborhood boasts a diverse range of architectural styles, including Classical Revival, Tudor Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Craftsman, and Art Deco. The City’s annexation of much of the neighborhood in 1904 further contributed to its urbanization.
Today, the Museum District stands as a thriving and vibrant community that embodies the essence of Richmond. Many historic homes and larger structures have been lovingly restored and adapted for modern use while preserving their architectural charm. Sidewalks are bustling with activity, featuring children at play, residents walking their pets, runners, and casual strollers, creating a lively and inviting atmosphere.
Places to visit:
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – A world class museum with amazing permanent and visiting collections typically only found in much more well-known museums in much larger cities. Enjoy the art, relax on the lawn or by the waterfall, have lunch by the pond… just go!
Virginia Museum of History & Culture – Spend some time getting to know more about Virginia’s history.
Black Hand Coffee Co – Enjoy a cup of coffee and a bagel on a lazy Sunday morning in this cozy little neighborhood coffee shop.
Belmont Butchery – How great is it to have a renowned, old school butchery in the neighborhood??
North End Juice Co & North End Ice Cream – These neighbors serve up more than just juice and ice cream! They’ve got sandwiches, salads, poke, and more.
Akida Japanese – It might look like a hole in the wall, but this place delivers some of the best sushi in Richmond.
Lemon Cuisine of India– If sushi’s not your thing, try Indian! This place is right on Broad street, just at the edge of the Museum District, and is both authentic and delicious.
Homes For Sale:
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Multiple-time Distinguished Achiever award winner, 2017 Richmond’s Finest Business Professional and a VIrginia Living Magazine Top 50 Realtor. Architecture lover, outdoor enthusiast and a true fan of all things RVA.