VCU isn’t the first college or university to dominate the area around West Grace Street. In the 1830s, a Baptist seminary relocated to the present-day 1100 block of West Grace Street and changed its name to Richmond College. 

It occupied the entire block and incorporated the Federal-style Columbia House (built 1817-1818) as an academic building. (Columbia, which is located at 1142 West Grace Street, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.)

“West Grace Street stopped at Richmond College, and it wasn’t cut through the campus until the 1890s,” Chen said.

After the college moved to the Westhampton area in 1914 (where it became the University of Richmond), developers built large apartment buildings in the 1100 block of West Grace Street. By then, residential construction had leapfrogged over the college campus and moved further west into the Fan District, reaching the Boulevard by the end of the 1920s.

SOURCE: West Grace Street: From antebellum architecture to midcentury subdivisions – Chris Novelli contributed to the article. He is an architectural historian with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

1134 W. Grace Street, Richmond, VA – Photos – 2018