A Visit to 819 S. Cathedral Place

100_1473On Tuesday of this week, I was very fortunate to meet with Mr. Walter Harrow from the Virginia Baptist Mission Board who was so incredibly kind to give me a tour of 819 South Cathedral Place, the westernmost unit of our row.  This is also the unit that appears to be the first sale and deed transfer from developer John C. Shafer to George Stevens in 1892.

It is understandable why this home was so desirable.  George Stevens was already residing on the row two houses down at 815 Floyd Avenue and evidently liked the location.  He was married and probably living with a few small children as well as an in-law, according to the Richmond Directories of that time.  819 was built with a slightly wider footprint, and of course being on the end offered more windows for added light and circulation, which couldn’t hurt the full household.  And, Stevens was headed up the ladder towards distinguished success at Chesapeake & Ohio Rail.  He was in the position to make the purchase of a comfortable residence for his family. Continue reading “A Visit to 819 S. Cathedral Place”

Findings on George W. Stevens, resident of 819

Some small developments and findings on George W. Stevens, so far first owner-occupier of one of the row houses.  His obituary printed in the New York Times notes his sudden death while dictating a letter at the age of 69.  He had four children, the first his only girl, Helen Stevens who married Episcopal minister Rev. John J. Gravatt.  So, we now know that most likely the property was transferred to Helen by will, then sold (transferred by deed) by the Gravatts to the Holzgrefe sisters in 1942.

Click through to see the obituary. Continue reading “Findings on George W. Stevens, resident of 819”

Help from VCU Real Estate Services

Last week I visited VCU’s Real Estate Services office to have a look at the title polices and environmental assessments of the row on South Cathedral to see if I could garner any new clues.  Mitzi and Josh were very helpful in locating the files I needed to view.  The deeds on file for the VCU-owned row gave a brief history of most recent owners going back to those just prior to the Catholic Diocese.  This was a great help!  The more names to associate, the better.  This also added quite a bit to the chronology of each unit, leaving a portion of the middle to fill in.  Hopefully with the help of the Richmond court records and Architectural Survey files that can be achieved.  Here’s a look at the current chronology of the western unit, 819 S Cathedral Place: Continue reading “Help from VCU Real Estate Services”