Monument Avenue Historic District
Jefferson Davis monument on Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia
|Location||Bounded by Grace and Birch Sts., Park Ave., and Roseneath Rd.; Roughly, Franklin St. from Roseneath Rd. to Cleveland St., Richmond, Virginia|
|Architect||Pope, John Russell; Et al.|
|Architectural style||Georgian, Other, Gothic Revival|
|NRHP reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||February 16, 1970|
|Designated NHLD||December 9, 1997|
|Designated VLR||December 2, 1969, December 12, 1989|
Monument Avenue is an avenue in Richmond, Virginia with a tree-lined grassy mall dividing the east- and westbound traffic and is punctuated by statues memorializing Virginian Confederate participants of the American Civil War, including Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Matthew Fontaine Maury. There is also a monument to Arthur Ashe, a Richmond native and international tennis star who was African-American. The first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee, was erected in 1890. Between 1900 and 1925, Monument Avenue greatly expanded with architecturally significant houses, churches and apartment buildings.
Monument Avenue is the site of several annual events, particularly in the spring, including an annual Monument Avenue 10K race. At various times (such as Robert E. Lee's birthday and Confederate History Month) the Sons of Confederate Veterans gather along Monument Avenue in period military costumes. Monument Avenue is also the site of "Easter on Parade,"  another spring tradition during which many Richmonders stroll the avenue wearing Easter bonnets and other finery.
"Monument Avenue Historic District" includes the part of Monument Avenue from Birch Street in the east to Roseneath Avenue in the west, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark District. In 2007, the American Planning Association named Monument Avenue one of the 10 Great Streets in the country. The APA said Monument Avenue was selected for its historic architecture, urban form, quality residential and religious architecture, diversity of land uses, public art and integration of multiple modes of transportation.
Monument Avenue was conceived during a site search for a memorial statue of General Robert E. Lee after Lee's death in 1870. City plans as early as 1887 show the proposed site, a circle of land, just past the end of West Franklin Street, a premier downtown residential avenue. The land was owned by a wealthy Richmonder, Otway C. Allen. The plan for the statue included building a grand avenue extending west lined with trees along a central grassy median. The plan shows building plots which Allen intended to sell to developers and those wishing to build houses on the new grand avenue.
On May 29, 1890, crowds were estimated at 100,000 to view the unveiling of the first monument, to Robert E. Lee.
It would take about 10 years for wealthy Richmonders and speculative developers to start buying the lots and building houses along the avenue, but in the years between 1900 and 1925 Monument Avenue exploded with architecturally significant houses, churches and apartment buildings. The architects who built on Monument Avenue practiced in the region and nationally, and included the firms of John Russell Pope, William Bottomley, Duncan Lee, Marcellus Wright, Claude Howell, Henry Baskervill, D. Wiley Anderson and Albert Huntt. Speculative builders such as W. J. Payne, Harvey C. Brown and the Davis Brothers bought lots and built many houses to sell to those not designing with an architect.
The street was originally, and continues to be, a favored living area for Richmond's upper class. It (especially the Fan District section) is lined with enormous mansions from the end of the gilded age. The Museum District part of Monument Avenue includes a combination of such houses (especially in the 3100 block), apartment buildings and smaller single-family houses. West of Interstate 195, Monument Avenue becomes a more commonplace suburban avenue.
Through the decades the avenue has had its ups and downs. As early as 1910, but mostly during the 1950s and '60s, many of the large houses were subdivided into apartments, or interior rooms and carriage houses were let to boarders. A few houses were demolished to make way for parking lots or building expansions, and several modern additions were tucked between earlier existing buildings. But protections put in place by the city by designating Monument Avenue as an Old and Historic Neighborhood have helped maintain the integrity of the neighborhood. In 1969 a group was incorporated called The Residents and Associates for the Preservation of Monument Avenue, led by Zayde Rennolds Dotts (Mrs. Walter Dotts, Jr.), granddaughter of Beulah and John Kerr Branch, who had commissioned a house on Monument Avenue in 1914 by the firm of John Russell Pope. In 1970 the group changed its name to the Monument Avenue Preservation Society (MAPS).
In August 2017, following violence linked to far right white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, VA, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced that the city's Monument Avenue commission would include potential removal of the confederate statues as an option for dealing with the issues raised by statues glorifying the legacy of the south. 
|Monument Avenue (5:34), C‑SPAN|
- Robert E. Lee Monument – equestrian sculpture by Antonin Mercié; unveiled May 29, 1890
- J.E.B. Stuart – equestrian sculpture by Frederick Moynihan; unveiled May 30, 1907
- Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America – sculpted by Edward Valentine; unveiled June 3, 1907
- Stonewall Jackson – equestrian sculpture by Frederick William Sievers; unveiled October 11, 1919
- Matthew Fontaine Maury, oceanographer – sculpted by Frederick William Sievers; unveiled November 11, 1929
- Arthur Ashe, tennis player – sculpted by Paul DiPasquale; unveiled July 10, 1996
Robert E. Lee Monument
Matthew Fontaine Maury Monument
The "Pathfinder of the Seas" monument of Matthew Fontaine Maury is located on Monument Avenue at Belmont Avenue, closest to the Arthur Ashe monument. The Maury monument is not a Confederate war monument per se, demonstrating little indication of his role in the Confederate war, which included serving as chief of sea coast, river and harbor defenses and acquiring ships and supplies for the Confederacy through his work in the Confederate Secret Service in Europe, mainly in Ireland, France and England. When the Sons of Confederate Veterans celebrate Confederate History Month or Lee-Jackson Day by parading in period military costumes from east to west on Monument Avenue, they make a turn before they get to the Maury monument, a further indication that Commander Maury's monument is not a Civil War monument. Most of the Confederate veterans were gone when Monument Avenue turned to the sciences with the 1929 statue to Maury.
In 1915 the Matthew Fontaine Maury Association was founded with the purpose of erecting a monument to Maury though serious fundraising did not happen until after the end of the First World War. Eventually the United Daughters of the Confederacy joined in the fundraising, the State Virginia and the City of Richmond each donated $1,000, and even President Wilson, a native Virginian, joined the Association.
The committee selected Richmond sculptor Frederick William Sievers, the author of many Lost Cause memorials, to produce the work and he created the "most allegorical of Richmond’s monuments.”  The monument was unveiled as part of an Armistice Day celebration on November 11, 1929. 
The figure of Maury faces eastward, toward the Atlantic Ocean that the "Pathfinder of the Seas" charted. He holds in his left hand a pencil and compass and in his right hand a copy of his charts. Beside his left foot is his book, Physical Geography of the Sea, as well as a Bible, indicating the central role that faith played in Maury's life. A globe of the Earth is tilted slightly on its axis behind his head. It represents both land and sea, and the woman standing calmly is a representation of Mother Nature between the land and sea. Around the base of the globe are depictions of people clinging to a sinking boat in bad weather representing the dangers of the sea with a woman in the center, and on the right (north) side of the globe there is a farmer, boy and a dog representing Maury's work promoting land weather service, which dates back further than 1853. Maury attended the International Meteorological Organization in Brussels, Belgium on August 23, 1853, where Maury, leading the way for this conference with his ideas of land and sea weather predictions and representing the United States, promoted his ideas of safety on both land and at sea to many nations which agreed to follow his ideas. Every maritime nation had its ships reporting to Maury at the National (later Naval) Observatory in Washington D.C. These elements represent Maury's work with atmospheric science, to the benefit of all mankind and their enterprises on land and on the sea. Weather warnings and reports had been dreams of Maury during his lifetime up until when he died and he was successful in his work. He thought of the ships at sea as "a thousand temples of science for all of humanity" and believed these brought men and nations closer together in a common self-protection against storms and deaths. There are fish, dolphins, jellyfish and birds around the monument's perimeter.
Arthur Ashe Monument
The decision to place the statue of Arthur Ashe by Paul DiPasquale on Monument Avenue was controversial. Detractors pointed to a lack of correlation between the Richmond native tennis star and Confederate leaders. Some residents thought the monument should be placed at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center instead. The monument became a focal point of racial tensions in the city around the times of its commission and its unveiling. Many of the city's majority African American residents cited Ashe's distinguished place in the modern history of the city as a reason for inclusion, while some residents and other parties rejected it as inappropriate for Monument Avenue, which until 1996 contained only statues of men with a relationship to the Confederate States of America.
The controversy over the statue may have also been driven by design and placement choices. Ashe's statue is much smaller than those of most of the Confederate leaders and is the farthest from downtown Richmond, situated just outside the city's Fan district.
- List of works by Antonin Mercié
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Virginia
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Richmond, Virginia
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
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- Richmond Approves Monument to Ashe, New York Times, Retrieved on July 28, 2007
- Venture Richmond
- Monument Avenue
- Richmond's own 'Great Street' - News - inRich.com
- Boritt & Holzer, The Confederate Image: Prints of the Lost Cause
- "Preservationist Zayde R. Dotts dies". Richmond Times Distpatch, Sept 29, 2007.
- Times-Dispatch, MARK ROBINSON Richmond. "Mayor Stoney: Commission to consider removal of Confederate statues on Richmond's Monument Ave.". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
- "Monument Avenue". C-SPAN. November 29, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- DuPriest, James E., Jr. and Douglas O. Tice, Jr., Monument & Boulevard: Richmond;s Grand Avenues, A Richmond Discoveries Publication, Richmond, VA 1996 p. 19
- DuPriest, James E., Jr. and Douglas O. Tice, Jr., Monument & Boulevard: Richmond;s Grand Avenues, A Richmond Discoveries Publication, Richmond, VA 1996 p. 20
- DuPriest 1996, p. 20.
- DuPriest 1996, p. 21.
- Richmond Approves Monument to Ashe, New York Times, Retrieved on July 28, 2007
- Driggs, Sarah Shields; Richard Guy Wilson; Robert P. Winthrop (2001). Richmond's Monument Avenue. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.
- Williams, Frances Leigh (1963). Matthew Fontaine Maury Scientist of the Sea. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
- DuPriest, James E., Jr.; Douglas O. Tice (1996). Monument & Boulevard: Richmond's Grand Avenues. Richmond Discoveries. ISBN 0-941087-03-4.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. VA-1322, "Monument Avenue"
- Review of Driggs, Wilson, Winthrop book
- Monument Avenue Internet Repository
- Richmond, Virginia, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Photograph. Robert E. Lee, Equestrian Intersection of Monument and Allen Avenue, early 1890s Through the Lens of Time, VCU Libraries