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Where Am I RVA? Monumental Church Renovation

Where Am I RVA? Monumental Church Renovation

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Need a new outdoor patio space for a classy gathering? Maybe a wedding or some splashy gathering?

How about Monumental Church? It was designed by Robert Mills, America’s first native-born architect and the only architectural pupil of Thomas Jefferson, according to the Historic Richmond Foundation, which owns the building. Mills also designed the Washington Monument.

Located in historic Court End at 1224 E. Broad Street, Monumental Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark in 1969. See a previous article to learn more about its history and also listen to a recent episode of History Replays Today, The Richmond History Podcast, as Leslie J. Naranjo, Director of Preservation Services for Historic Richmond talks about the fire at the old Richmond Theatre at the location of Monumental Church.

With a recent upgrade to an outdoor patio space, the renovation of the church is nearly complete. Local design build firm, WestView Companies, designed and constructed the historic timeline, which was constructed of solid granite pieces, inlaid into the new memorial terrace on the west side of the church, and etched with key historical events to showcase the location's rich history.

Among the nearly two dozen key activities etched into the timeline:

1811: Theatre destroyed by fire on December 26th claiming 72 victims, including Governor George W. Smith and former U.S. Senator Abraham Venable.  Dr. James McCaw and slave, Gilbert Hunt, saved many from the burning building.

1812: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall headed the Building Committee to raise funds to erect a memorial on site.

1812: Robert Mills, first native-born American architect and architecture student of Thomas Jefferson, designed the octagonal church with a Delorme dome.

1971: Church designated a National Historic Landmark by National Park Service.

2014: Celebration of 200th Anniversary, installation of Memorial Terrace, restoration of marbleized altar.

Phil Riggan loves Discovering Richmond. Follow him on twitter @RigganRVA. He is currently graduate student working on his Masters degree in Urban Planning at VCU.

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