During and after WW2, many of the palatial homes along Monument Avenue were, as was true of many other urban areas of the era, too big to manage as single family homes. The social fabric of the family changed dramatically during this time. Many owners began renting out rooms, eventually died or passed these mansions on to heirs who couldn’t maintain them. The new owners who acquired them began using the large homes as incoming producing properties. There are many older Richmonders today who remember these gorgeous mansions as their doctor’s and/or dentist’s offices. Many were rented out rooms for law or accountants’ offices.
As the times changed in the 1950s-60s, urban sprawl was bundled in what what many social scientists term “suburban flight.” Monument Ave rode in tandem with this national movement.
By the 1980s things began to change yet again. A big push began, sweetened with tax incentives from the federal, state and local levels, to return these ‘white elephants’ back to their single family origins. Home values rose…as did their taxable value. Buyers found themselves attracted to Monument Ave for the impressive scale and classic architecture of the homes along with the impeccable craftsmanship and cosmopolitan appeal. The central location was another draw as access to much of the City’s entertainment and culture was close by.
Today finds Monument as healthy as ever with most of the significant homes in the hands of caring and dedicated owners.
About the Writer // Jeanne Bridgforth is a Realtor with the One South Realty Group who specializes in Historic Properties throughout the City. She brings decades of experience to the table in many of Richmond’s most spectacular neighborhoods.