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In This Issue 03
LET THERE BE LIGHT InLight Richmond
A Fan-District Dining Landmark
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About Our Cover: The Altria Theater, better known to many as the Mosque Theater, stands on the eastern edge of the Fan. For nearly 90 years, a veritable whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s who of entertainers including Buddy Holly, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley have graced the stage of this beautiful Richmond landmark. Photo by Marquis Rhodes. 2 RiverCity
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LET THERE BE LIGHT InLight Richmond heading to Scott’s Addition by Zach Brown
s summer gives way to fall, you may find yourself wondering why one particular night seems somehow brighter in the City? This year, that night will be November 11 (from 7 p.m. until midnight), when 1708 Gallery’s InLight Richmond returns to the River City. InLight 2016 brings together light-inspired local, national and international artists for a single night, all of whom have been invited to bring their talents out of the gallery and onto the streets. InLight Richmond blossomed as an outdoor public art exhibition on 1708 Gallery’s 30th birthday, in 2008, and was inspired by European displays. It is modeled after multi-installation, light-based public art exhibitions such as Paris’s ‘Niut Blanche and Italy’s Luci d’Artista. Like many of the galleries around Richmond, the exhibition will feature art ranging from sculpture to performance pieces, all of which will utilize a motif inspired by light. Since its inception, the exhibition has refused to remain stationary as it travels through various city neighborhoods. In previous years, InLight has appeared in Shockoe Bottom, along the Canal Walk, and most recently, in the Museum District. This year, the lights will shine around the burgeoning craft breweries and restaurants of Scott’s Addition. Artists are encouraged to propose projects that respond directly to the site, although existing work is considered. Further, those chosen also participate in a chance to win a $1,500 “Best in Show Award” as they are judged by this year’s juror, interdisciplinary artist Ellina Kevorkian. A second prize- the $500 “People’s Choice Award” will be decided through the attendees voting on their favorite installations. 1708 Gallery invites attendees to bring their homemade lanterns to help kickoff the event and allow gallery-goers to show off their own creativity. 3 RiverCity
For those less experienced in the art of lantern crafting, the gallery offers a number of free lanternmaking workshops and step-bystep instructions through the InLight Richmond 2016 event page (at 1708Gallery.org)
ALTRIA THEATER: ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN AND MOST STRIKING BUILDINGS IN THE FAN, AND IN THE ENTIRE CITY, THE ALTRIA THEATER ALSO RANKS AMONG THE CITY’S MOST POPULAR STAGES FOR THEATRICAL AND MUSICAL PERFORMANCES. THE ALTRIA OPENED ITS DOORS, AS THE MOSQUE THEATER ON OCTOBER 28, 1927.
RICHMOND’S FAN DISTRICT What Makes It So Special?
by Steve Cook
hat is it about the Fan? When Richmonders speak of their favorite neighborhoods, they often make comparisons with the Fan. You’ll often hear, “Well, it’s cheaper than the Fan,” or “We have restaurants as good as in the Fan.” It seems that this diverse and historic region of the city is often held up as the “gold standard” of Richmond neighborhoods. Why? What makes the Fan so special? Is it the architecture? How often have we heard visitors express amazement at the variety of architectural styles found in the Fan. The National Park service, on its website, says: The neighborhood is unquestionably one of the city’s greatest cultural and architectural assets. Within its boundaries lies a rich, cohesive collection of historic buildings in a variety of architectural styles such as Italianate, Richardsonian Romaneque, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, American Foursquare, Tudor Revival, Spanish Colonial, and Art Deco. Perhaps, it’s the history of the Fan that makes it such a special place. While the development of the Fan district as one of the city’s premier neighborhoods didn’t begin until about 1890, the known history of this part of town goes back much further. It has been suggested that even prior to the arrival of the British, what was probably one of the major Indian and game trails, Three Notch’d Trail, ran through the heart of the Fan. What we do know is that by 1791, there was a small community called Scuffletown, located in what is now the northern portion of the Fan. From the late 18th century until it was demolished in 1912, Scuffletown Tavern served as a reminder of that community long after Scuffletown, itself, ceased to exist. The tavern stood near what is today a hidden little gem known as Scuffletown Park. As for the origin of that name, most agree (although there are some who suggest otherwise) it comes from a scuffle, which occurred in the neighborhood in 1780, between local militia and British soldiers under the command of Benedict Arnold. Is that the absolute truth? I won’t swear to it, but it sure makes for a great story. 4 RiverCity
TEMPLE HILL UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED
THE COOK COLLECTION. THE VALENTINE
SCUFFLETOWN TAVERN, 1905 - THE TAVERN, WAS BUILT IN THE LATE 18TH CENTURY AND STOOD NEAR WHAT IS TODAY SCUFFLETOWN PARK, NEAR STRAWBERRY STREET AND PARK AVENUE. IT WAS TORN DOWN IN 1912.
Despite a few country estates sprinkled here and there in those early years, most of today’s Fan District continued to be rural farmland until after the Civil War. However, in 1817, Jacqueline Harvey developed plans for the Village of Sydney on property he had inherited from his father. The village was slated to occupy much of the same area as the Fan. While an economic downturn two years later brought an end to any dreams of Sydney’s development, the street grid, which was drawn up for the village, became virtually the same as exists today in the Fan. Although the streets, themselves, would not appear for many years, it was that grid, which evolved into Park, Stuart, Hanover and Grove Avenues fanning out from Monroe Park westward, that gives the neighborhood its name. The thing that makes the Fan so special, though, is not its buildings. It’s not even its fascinating history. At least, it’s not just these two things. Brian Baird, president of the Fan District Association captures the real essence of the Fan when he says, “Every neighborhood has a story, and those stories turn out to be more compelling than the brick and mortar that physically hold the neighborhood together. The buildings are fun to look at, but the people are much more fun to get to know.” Let me tell you about a few of the folks who I got to know in researching this article.
I spoke with Tom D., who is somewhat a newcomer to the neighborhood and to the city, having moved from his home in upstate New York because of a job offer. His cousin, who already lived in Richmond, suggested he check out the Fan. He did and he now lives in an apartment in the area. He likes the fact that everything is in close proximity. “I can walk everywhere in the Fan,” he says, adding that he also likes the bars and restaurants. “Everyone (in the Fan) is friendly,” Tom says. “It’s easy to make friends here.” I also spoke with some folks who have worked and lived in the Fan and who know the neighborhood about as well as anyone I met. Richard Hayes and Trevor Dickerson, co-founders of RVAHub. com, a cool website that offers a wealth of information on the goings on around town. I asked each to explain what they felt made this little piece of Richmond so special. “It has nearly everything that you need in a neighborhood,” Hayes says. “It has housing of different sorts. It has one of the best elementary schools in the Richmond Public School System (William Fox Elementary), and it has a bunch of restaurants and bars. It’s the trifecta.” Dickerson adds, “It’s all very walkable. That’s what I see as the main thing.” Both men agree that while Virginia Commonwealth University plays an important role in shaping the architecture, the culture and the population of the Fan, the school is not the dominating force. “College is a flavor of the fan, but not the predominate flavor,” says Hayes.
THIS 7.5 ACRE PARK, LOCATED ON THE EASTERN BORDER OF THE FAN IS NAMED AFTER PRESIDENT JAMES MONROE. IT WAS PURCHASED BY THE CITY IN 1851 AND ORIGINALLY SERVED AS THE GROUNDS FOR THE VIRGINIA STATE FAIR. RichmondNavigator.com 5
MANY RESIDENTS SAY ONE OF THEIR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE FAN IS THAT YOU CAN WALK OR BIKE VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE YOU MIGHT WANT TO GO.
“Once you go west of Lombardy,” Dickerson says, you get a good demographic mix.” An “interesting mix” is what Alex Morris says makes The Bamboo Café (1 S. Mulberry St.) a long-time favorite with locals. Adrienne LaPrade owns the restaurant, which she and her husband bought in the early 80s. Before that, it was the Mulberry Café. While Morris, who is the chef and manager, has created a more upscale menu, he says he and LaPrade are content to keep the restaurant mostly unchanged. “It’s a legend. I want to keep it going until I’m old.” He adds that there is a group of regulars who’ve been swapping stories in the small eatery for many years. “There are young and old…different types. It all makes for a cool neighborhood feel. This is their home away from home. They’re like family.” For all that the Fan has to offer, from cobblestone streets to amazing architecture and massive monuments, what really makes the Fan so special is, indeed, the people you find there – a diverse mix, all living, somewhat like a big family of about 14,000 people, living on approximately 228 acres. “Recounting the stories of how people who loved the Fan dreamed up new ideas like Easter on Parade, the Holiday House Tour, bike rallies, political rallies, and on and on - this turns out to be compelling stuff, Baird says. “The history is packed with details of this kind, and the stories continue to unfold.” My advice is, the next time you’re out showing the city off to visitors go to the Fan. No, not through the Fan. Don’t’ just drive down Monument Avenue, even if it is one of the most beautiful streets in America. Park the car. Spend some time visiting with the locals. Soak in the culture. You’ll be amazed at all that VCU has to offer. Sample the wide variety of tastes being served up in so many great Fan restaurants. Do all that and perhaps you’ll come up with some compelling stories of your own.
SCUFFLETOWN PARK, ONE OF THE FAN’S POPULAR POCKET PARKS, OFFERS A PEACEFUL PLACE TO PLAY WITH THE KIDS TO TO SIMPLY GET AWAY FROM IT ALL AND ENJOY THE LOVELY GARDENS. IT’S SITUATED ADJACENT TO AN ALLEY OFF STRAWBERRY STREET.
MONUMENT AVENUE HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY STREETS IN AMERICA.
MORE THAN 14,000 PEOPLE LIVE IN THE FAN DISTRICT, WHICH OFFERS AN AMAZING ARRAY OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES
MORE THAN 14,000 PEOPLE LIVE IN THE FAN DISTRICT, WHICH OFFERS AN AMAZING ARRAY OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES
A Day in the Fan I asked Richard Hayes and Trevor Dickerson, who are the masterminds behind the popular website, RVAHub.com, to share their ideas for a perfect day in the Fan. Hayes: For breakfast, I’d go to either Early Bird Biscuit (119 N. Robinson St.) or Fancy Biscuit (1831 W. Cary St.). Both are great. Fancy biscuit is a little fancier…go figure. I’d have lunch at City Dog (1309 W. Main St.) and then walk around Hollywood cemetery (technically, not in the Fan, but close enough. Located at 412 S. Cherry St.). For dinner. There are so many options. One of my favorite spots is My Noodle & Bar (1600 Monument Ave.). I love that place. In the evening, I’d go to Balliceaux (203 N. Lombardy St.) for music and midnight snacks. For the culture of the Fan, I’d visit Glave Kocen Gallery (1620 W. Main St.), and VCU.
RICHARD HAYES SUGGESTS DINNER AT MY NOODLE & BAR. “I LOVE THAT PLACE,” HE SAYS.
Dickerson: Early Bird (Biscuit Co.) is awesome. Every day, they have their biscuit of the day – all sorts of weird biscuits, and they’re all really good. For a more substantial breakfast, there’s City Diner (2237 W. Broad St.) or Joe’s Inn (205 N. Shields Ave.) – two good staples. For lunch, I enjoy Garnett’s Café (2001 Park Ave.). Uptown Market and Deli (2400 W. Main St.) has really good sandwiches. And, for dinner, I might pick Heritage Restaurant (1627 W. Main St.) or Edo’s Squid (411 N. Harrison Ave.). Culturally, while it’s kind of cheating, the VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at 200 N. Blvd.) and the Virginia Historical Society (428 N. Blvd.) are just across the street (from the Fan.) I also love Chicken Fiesta (2311 W. Broad St.). My favorite hidden gem is Scuffletown Park (Strawberry Street, across the alley from Strawberry Street Café) My Favorites: There are so many great restaurants in the Fan. Many of my favorites were mentioned above, but if I may, here are a few more that I’d encourage you to check out. Fan Noodle Bar (2301 W. Main St.) Great dumplings and a fantastic Thai Spicy Chicken Taco. Greenbriar Café and Coffeehouse (1211 W. Main St.) – Cozy little spot. Excellent sandwiches. Social 52 (2619 W. Main St.) One of the best Happy Hours in town and a very good selection of craft beers. Strawberry Street Café (421 Strawberry St.) – If for no other reason, go for the bathtub salad bar, always fresh and flavorful (The bathtub is no longer used for bathing). RC
Helen’s - A Fan-District Dining Landmark It wasn’t until I had finished our feature on the Fan, for this issue of River City Magazine that I took the opportunity to visit what may well be, not only the oldest restaurant in the Fan, but perhaps the oldest in the entire city. I’m talking about Helen’s at 2527 W. Main Street. I have to start with an admission. I have driven past Helen’s for years. I remember the old Laurel and Hardy figurines in the window. But I had never been in until just before we went to press with this issue. I’m not sure why I had never stopped in. Perhaps it’s because I had an Aunt Helen who I really didn’t care much for. But I’m very glad that I paid a visit, even if it was too late to weave the Helen’s story into my Fan article. That’s a good thing, because the story of Helen’s deserves to stand alone. I said at the outset that Helen’s may be the oldest restaurant in Richmond. I know that some may come to a different conclusion and that often depends upon if you mean the oldest place with the same name, same ownership, same location, etc. But, I’m calling Helen’s the oldest. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Now, here’s Helen’s story: If you go back to 1912, you’d find a drug storein the same building that today houses Helen’s. Back then, it was Fletcher’s Pharmacy. It had a soda fountain . So, I suppose you could say there’s been a restaurant there for about 105 years. Moving forward, in 1927, Humbert and Marie Donati took over and opened a real restaurant. They called it D’s. In 1935, the Donatis gave the restaurant as a gift to their oldest daughter, Helen, on her 21st birthday. The name of the restaurant was changed to Helen’s.
by Steve Cook
For the next three decades Helen’s proved to be a successful beer bar and juke joint. It was a popular hangout for the swing-dancing crowd. In 1967, Helen Donati died and her brother, John, took over the business, which he ran for nearly three decades, himself. He changed the name of the place to Helen’s Inn. John Donati, his wife and their six children lived upstairs over the restaurant until 1994, when he told the business to Leslie and John Tuite, who changed the name back to Helen’s. Since purchasing the business, the Tuites have removed the ceramic celebrities and the dark velvet curtains and restored the décor to the swing-era style of yesteryear. You’ll even find some of the original fixtures from the buildings early days, including the original neon signs and a phone booth. Speaking of fixtures, Helen’s is definitely a Fan fixture, today, and perhaps, culinary wise, better than ever. As for the food, check out our TasteBudz feature in this issue.
The Students’ Sounding Board
arclay DuPriest says she was “terrified” of college students when she was hired in 1985 to manage the Randolph-Macon College bookstore. However, DuPriest, whose previous job was teaching middle schoolers at nearby Hanover Academy, was determined to overcome her fears. When she found a trove of yearbook photos in the store’s trash, she retrieved them and taped them to the walls of her office, surrounding herself with the students she would be serving. Soon, she knew everyone on campus. More than 30 years later, she still does. DuPriest has become a fixture at the store, which is now known as the Campus Store. Through decades of changing faces, the college students who once intimidated her have come to depend on DuPriest, a wisecracking, buoyant presence with a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. “My greatest joy is watching these kids grow up and become successful,” DuPriest said. “It makes me very happy.” DuPriest serves as a sounding board, mentor, cheerleader and parent to the college’s students. And, in fact, she refers to the students as her children. Like their parents, she is unafraid to offer unsolicited advice. If she sees a student with bloodshot eyes, for instance, she might cajole them to cut down on the parties. She reminds students who get checks from their grandmothers to write thank you notes. Students appreciate the attention. Years after they have graduated, they make a point of swinging by the store when they return to Randolph-Macon for a visit. DuPriest particularly appreciates when they bring their children – her grandchildren, she says – to meet her. “I love to see everyone come back to support Randolph-Macon year after year,” she said. “I feel lucky to have this opportunity to be a part of their lives.” RichmondNavigator.com 8
RIVER CITY LIVE
Richmond’s Perpetual Motion Machine:
LOOKING BACK WITH CARBON LEAF The year’s end gives us an opportunity to look back, and for many, it’s a time to return home. This is especially true for Carbon Leaf, one of Richmond’s most venerated and well-traveled touring bands. When they roll into town for their Dec. 17 show at The National, they’ll be wrapping up a 15-date run of shows up and down the East Coast, and they’ll be renewing a homecoming tradition. “We’ve been trying to make Richmond one of the last stops of the tour,” lead singer Barry Privett said when I spoke with him recently. “Last year was a good example. We did a 50-city U.S. tour — pretty intense, like 30 shows in 31 days, where you’re driving through the night to get to the next town, out west especially,” he said. “It does start to wear on you… Coming back into your hometown for the last show of a big tour like that, a week before the holidays kick in, it’s a good feeling. ‘Alright, this is our final exam, and we’re going to blow it out.’ Then you can have this big exhale.” While the band’s history in Richmond goes back more than 20 years, Carbon Leaf actually got its start at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. Privett and guitarist Terry Clark were the first to graduate. “After a summer of not wanting to get into the post-grad working world,” Privett recalled, “we came back and [said] ‘Hey, what if we gave it a go for a little bit?’” Privett and Clark set up shop in Richmond, and the rest of the members gradually followed. “One by one, as each person in the band graduated, they would move to Richmond,” he said. “Before you know it, we were all under one roof on Floyd Avenue in the Fan. That was the band house. That’s where we lived. We had a basement that ran the length of the apartment, and that’s where we set up our studio and rehearsal space.” Ironically, despite the band’s deep Richmond roots, it’s clear from talking to Privett that Carbon Leaf has never been inclined to sit still. “We kept going, doing the college circuit in Virginia, which was pretty ripe at the time. There was a lot of band activity,’’ he explained.
“It’s kind of what campuses did. Fraternities, sororities, campus activity boards – they all hired bands, and so we were making a pretty good go at playing on Fridays and Saturday nights. Eventually that spiraled into Thursday, Friday, Saturdays, and then we would pick up bar gigs near college towns… Anywhere a young band could get local gigs.” Plenty of those early bar shows were in Richmond, and looking back at where those shows took place, illustrates one of the profound truths revealed by calling one place home for an extended period: Change is constant. Privett joked that “We basically closed down most of the bars in Richmond because it seemed like every time we’d get a gig that started working well, the club would shut down for whatever reason.” Among those now-defunct clubs are Crazy Charlie’s, Memphis and Alley Katz. However, one especially beloved venue Carbon Leaf played in the 1990’s, Cary Street Cafe, is still open, and it played host to a pivotal moment in the band’s history. “When we were starting out, we were just a cover band. We didn’t really know what we were doing, or have any ambition,” Privett remembered. “We had our college crowd from doing that, and when we made a conscious decision to stop being a cover band and start being an original band, we lost that audience.” While some of those fans would come back around, their return wasn’t immediate, and Privett compared the experience to starting over. “We eventually had to start at the smaller clubs again. That’s when we started doing the Cary Street Cafe gigs. That was in 1999. Starting over with 50, 60 people, whereas before, with a cover band, we were playing to 300 people. It was tough,’’ he recalled. “We had to really [ask] ‘Is this what we want to do?’ And the answer was yes, because we weren’t having any more fun as a cover band. We felt the pull to be original artists. So we started back up at Cary Street Cafe… and it kept building again from there.” RichmondNavigator.com 9
RIVER CITY LIVE
We eventually had to start at the smaller clubs again. That’s when we started doing the Cary Street Cafe gigs. That was in 1999.
Fortunately, throughout their early years, Carbon Leaf was able to team up with bands performing original music that were making a name for themselves, both within and outside of Richmond. “Boy O Boy, which became Fighting Gravity — they were very good to us. We were kind of a baby band, and they were one of the big local bands on the scene and gave us some good early support slots. They were very generous,’’ Privett said. “And there were other bands that were more musically sophisticated and doing well that we were playing with from time to time, like Agents of Good Roots. But they were already on a different level, and sadly they didn’t keep going.” The fact that such talented groups are now spoken of in the past tense is a testament to Carbon Leaf’s staying power, which
is grounded in their flexibility. From traditional Irish music and folk to rock, country and alternative, the band can offer up a variety of genres. They’re also dedicated to giving audiences varied experiences. Privett maintains a database of what songs were played where and when. “So if we’re going up to New York City and playing,” he said, “I’ll look at the history of the last two or three years that we’ve been through, and I’ll make a chart of all the songs that we’ve played and I’ll make sure that we’re not doing the same thing.” That means attendees for the band’s show at The National can expect a mix of something familiar and something they’ve never seen before — proof that Carbon Leaf has found the perfect mix of sticking around and staying in motion. RC
Mickael Broth - The Man Behind the Murals by Zach Brown
hances are you know Mickael Broth. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, but the 30-foot, dancing Bernie Sanders along Broad Street does, then, yeah, you know Broth. The mural, aptly named “Bernie Slamders,” is one of the artist’s many pieces, which can be seen on building fronts and store interiors around town. If you noticed the two-story, green-skinned wizard adorning the former GRTC bus depot on Cary Street or passed a glance to the roof of En Su Boca, you have unknowingly caught a glimpse of a Broth original. His style, displaying a hyperactive sense of color over skillfully crafted illustrations, is as eye catching as it is memorable. The result is art that is layered to keep you staring longer than you may have intended. Broth, whose work has found its way into restaurants such as Kabana and Mellow Mushroom, recently applied his craft to the My Noodle & Bar “Party Bus.” The brightly colored bus will serve as a mobile exhibition for Broth and as a bar crawl vehicle for My Noodle patrons. Beyond the restaurant walls, the artist’s work will be featured during 10 RiverCity
the Hops in the Park Festival at Henricus Park. You can also see his signature style on the Cookie Lofts water tower just off of Broad Street at the Boulevard, which Broth describes as “hard to miss.” The artist further notes that, unlike his illustrated murals where the building serves as canvas, “the tower itself is the piece.” And things are just ramping up for the muralist. In early 2017, Broth will begin work on a new mural for Mellow Mushroom’s forthcoming Short Pump location. In addition to his water tower project, a number of other Broth standalone pieces will pepper the city in the coming months, adding to the wide array of his work throughout Richmond – all of which are sure to cause Richmonder’s to become increasingly familiar with Mickael Broth’s creative style. For more information on Richmond’s busiest muralist, where to find his art and follow his upcoming work, be sure to check out his website: mickaelbroth.tumblr.com RC
Events Calendar December 3 November 17, 18, 19, 20
Fire, Flour & Fork
Fire, Flour & Fork is a four-day gathering for the food curious, produced by Real Richmond Food Tours with presenting sponsor Virginia is for Lovers, and it celebrates the best the Richmond region has to offer: its complex history, its rich artistic community and its established and rising culinary stars. What to expect: a highly curated mix of dining events, behind-the-scenes tours, demonstrations, talks, food producers, cookbook authors, visiting chefs, culinary historians and craft spirit makers. Nonprofit beneficiaries include J. Sargeant Reynolds Culinary Scholarship Fund, Renew Richmond, Tricycle Gardens, Slow Food RVA, Shalom Farms, OutRVA, Preservation Virginia, Black History Museum & Cultural Center, VMFA Foundation, The Valentine, Center for Rural Culture, Lewis Ginter Community Kitchen and FeedMore. Tickets available online and prices and locations vary. FireFlourandFork.com November 23
Joe Bonamassa at the Altria Theater
Grammy-nominated blues-rock guitar icon Joe Bonamassa announces new North American fall tour dates in support of his brand-new studio solo album, Blues of Desperation (J&R Adventures). Hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Joe Bonamassa has almost single-handedly redefined the blues-rock genre and brought it into the mainstream. Tickets can be purchased online from $81 to $127. 8 p.m. Altria Theater AltriaTheater.com
November 25 through January 9 (Closed Dec. 24 & 25)
Dominion GardenFest of Lights: Living Color
An annual Richmond tradition featuring over a half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted decorations, model trains, fire pit with s’mores and hot chocolate, nightly family activities and more. Virginia's ultimate winter extravaganza! $13-Adults $11-Seniors 55+ $8-Children 3-12. Children under 3 free. FREE for Members Nightly 5 to 10 p.m. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden LewisGinter.org November 25 through December 31
2016 Tacky Light Tour
James Limousine will pick you up at home, hotel or office, and whisk you away for a wonderful Richmond holiday tradition. James Limousine’s Holiday Light Tours are available every night. Package prices vary and can be found online. JamesLimousine.com December 2
The 32nd Annual Grand Illumination of James Center!
Bring your family to James Center for a beautiful (free) family tradition. James Center is very excited to present The Rock-n-Roll Chorus as the featured performance! Katie Dupree of WRIC 8 News will be the Snow Queen! Free 5:55 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reindeer and buildings illuminate at 6 p.m. JAMES CENTER TheJamesCenter.com/grandill.html
An Interactive Workshop Series for the RVA Bride
Bride & Co. is an interactive workshop series designed to assist brides, fiancé’s and their support system (bridesmaids, besties, mothers of the bride and groom, and devoted friends) with planning their dream wedding. Grab your bridal squad each month for informal workshops on wedding planning, invitations, bridal fashion, florals, bridal makeup, cake and catering, entertainment and more. The Event is Free however should you be interested, a wine tasting ticket must be purchased in advance. Light appetizers and desserts will also be served. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The TCT Design Firm EventBrite.com December 31
New Year’s Eve Family Frolic
Enjoy fun family activities all afternoon with the New Year’s Eve Family Frolic. Live music, a parade and more. Fun for all ages! All of the activities are inside the warm and cozy Kelly Education Center. Activities include photo opportunities with the garden keeperbring your cameras! Make your own New Year’s party hat. Write your wish for 2017 and add it to our “wishing chain.” Be a part of the annual Garden tradition: “Rolling in the New Year” by rolling down the hill to the Cochrane Rose Garden. $13-Adults $11-Seniors 55+ $8-Children 3-12. Children under 3 free. FREE for Members 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden LewisGinter.org
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Raising The Bar
INTERNATIONAL COCKTAILS by Whitney Kiatsuranon
he Richmond dining scene is quickly becoming more than just a pristine destination for foodies and food bloggers. Richmonders have caught on to the sweeping notion of high-end cocktails and beverage programs. While locals love their craft beer and fine wines, they also have their choice of specialty cocktails. In this issue, we decided to go beyond the norm and think globally. What if we pushed to obtain a classic French cocktail in an elegant French restaurant? What if the cocktail was exclusive to one particular region of a selected country? Could we find such a cocktail? It turns out that we, as city dwellers, do have that option. We can enjoy a variety of international delights, from the classic Moscow mule at Kabana to a double shot of Irish whisky at Rosie Connollyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The River City is sure to provide you with an around-the-world international drinking experience.
Amour Wine Bistro
3129 W. Cary St.; 804-353-4020; AmourWineBistro.com Let’s start in ever-romantic France, more specifically, Dijon, France. Paul Heitz at Amour Wine Bistro in Carytown, not only knows his wine, he is a lover of wine and educates each patron as they experiment with anything and everything from palate-pleasing dessert wines to high-end champagnes. However, the drink of France is the Kir Royal, or just the Kir, which is made with the Aligoté grape. First a little background: Cannon Kir was mayor of Dijon and sought to capitalize on the Aligoté grape even though it tended to be acidic and typically was quite bitter. The acidity could be tempered with his creation of the Crème de Cassis de Dijon. The drink, Kir, was originally paired with the black currant liqueur, but can also be made with blackberry liqueur. When the Aligoté and the liqueur are combined, you notice very subtle undertones of fruit and nuts with a nice round finish. Some tend to need a more festive Kir rather than the flatness of Aligoté wine and choose to pair the liqueur with a crisp sparkling white wine, giving birth to the Kir Royal. If the Kir, or the Kir Royal, is not enough to get you through the door of Amour then their food, like the Escargot de Bourgogne, certainly will. The main ingredients are cooked in the shell and smothered with garlic, parsley and pastis butter and served with fresh baguettes. They are not only amazing on their own, but also pair nicely with the smooth and semi-sweet Kir.
La Grotta Ristorante
529 E. Broad St.; 804-644-2466; LaGrottaRistorante.com Not too far from France, you will find palate-pleasing cocktails in the heart of Italy. La Grotta Restaurant just recently reopened their doors on the first floor of the Hilton Garden Inn. Chef Antonio Capece is happy with the move and enjoys having the restaurant at ground level. “It is nice to be able to know the weather and gain new patrons through foot traffic,” he says of the restaurant, which is beautifully lit in their bright and airy store front. La Grotta is one of many restaurants that features the ever popular aperitif, Negroni – said to be the perfect drink before a heavy meal due to its supposed ability to settle the stomach. The Negroni has long been a staple of Italy and has recently become a popular favorite here in Virginia. Apparently, the drink originated in the early 1900s when Count Negroni asked his friend and bartender to spice up his favorite drink, the Americano, by replacing the soda water with Gin and in that instant, a classic was created. Since then, Campari lovers have united with this Gin-based aperitif. Once you’ve tasted the belly-warming cocktail, be sure to try something delicious on the menu. I sampled the carpaccio di manzo, which is thin-sliced raw beef tenderloin with lemon capers, Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil. The savory combination of the meat and cheese was a perfect complement to the Negroni on a cool autumn evening. If you haven’t given the new spot a lookover, be sure you do. You won’t be disappointed with the drinks at the bar or the food on the menu!
Metzger Bar and Butchery
801 N. 23rd St.; 804-325-3147; Metz gerBarAndButchery.com Once you’ve tasted the charming beverages of France and Italy, you may be ready to head north and try something with more of a German persuasion. Germany is known for its Jägermeister aperitif, but there is so much more that a skilled bartender can do to tease your taste buds. For instance, if you love the traditional Side Car, you’re definitely going to want to try the Boxer’s Spirit. The drink is an original, created by Kjell Anderson at Metzger’s Bar and Butchery. “It’s like a super charged Side Car variation with German ingredients, so all the sweetness is coming from the booze.,’’ Anderson says. “The Boxer’s Spirit refers to a Porsche and its boxer engine.” The drink itself is bright, fruity and yet still dry, as it pulls its sweet undertones from butterscotch flavors. To make this drink, you will need Asbach Brandy and Jägermeister (both are German imports), Stroh 80, Falernum and a dash of lemon juice. This aperitif is sure to please as a pre- or post-dinner drink. It’s perfect for sipping and can even aid in digestion.
We just made three brief stops around the River City. If you’re in the mood for an international drink but don’t have the time to travel to Europe, Richmond has your cocktail passport waiting for you.
In Search Of: International Dishes
La Grotta 529 E. Broad St.; 804-644-2466; LaGrottaRistorante.com Northern Italian food at its best has moved to its new above-ground location at the Hilton Garden Inn. La Grottaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new spot is just as charming and elegant as the former location and can host private parties from 10 to 100 people. The Ravioli Di Pollo con Panna features homemade ravioli filled with chicken served in a light cream sauce.
2727 W. Broad St.; 804-367-4992; SabaiRVA.com Known for the craft Tiki cocktails, renowned for the amazing Thai street food and praised for the incomparable dĂŠcor, Sabai is nestled in a once dead zone of W. Broad St. and is bringing Richmond a long awaited unique Thai-dining scene. Yum Woon Sen- spicy cellophane noodle salad is prepared with ground chicken, whole shrimp, cherry tomatoes, red onions, scallions, cilantro, Thai chilies and lime juice sauce.
In Search Of: International Dishes
Little Mexico 1328 West Cary St 804-525-4216 LittleMexicoVa.com An Authentic Mexican gem just outside of the Fan and right on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. Little Mexico is a Richmond staple serving up made-to-order, freshly prepared dishes either in their cozy dining room or on their alley-style patio by the bar. Shrimp Avocado Salad is inspired by Mexican flavors, and prepared with fresh avocados and a signature creamy poblano dressing.
e l d o o N MyBar & 1600 Monument Ave 804-308-1613 MyNoodleAndBar.com This may be the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most unique dining spot. With â&#x20AC;&#x153;tree-house and porch-swing seating, complementing the excellent dishes coming out of the kitchen, the whole family will enjoy a visit to My Noodle & Bar. Seafood Ramen is made of shrimp, fish cake, octopus, black mushroom, scallops, creamy broth, corn, fried wonton, cilantro, soft boiled egg, green onion, sesame seeds and ginger with a little spice.
by Whitney Kiatsuranon, Meredith Dauksz and Steve Cook
Every time you turn around, you discover a new restaurant opening up in River City. Here’s a little rundown of some of the places we’ve visited, including some old favorites, too.
FEATHER FLIES SOUTH
The Forest Hill/Woodland Heights area has really started to raise the bar on the dining scene. Laura Lee’s (LauraLeesRVA.com) is now open at 3410 Semmes Avenue. Owner Kendra Feather says, "The reception over here has been amazing. We've been on a wait almost every night, and we're already getting regulars in for dinner and at the bar. We want to be that place where neighbors come out for date night, but also feel comfortable stopping in after a bike ride, and we're starting to see that." With Chef Josh Loeb in the kitchen, I feel certain that Laura Lee’s will not only be a neighborhood hot spot but also a dining destination. From the New York strip to the Chesapeake blue crab, there is surely something on their mostly gluten-free menu that will satisfy your appetite. (WK)
As we go to press, Carlos Londono is set to open Mijas, a sophisticated Mexican experience, at 1218 East Cary Street. The restaurant is opening in what had previously been La Grotta Ristorante before their move to street level. Londono says, “You will not find a microwave or freezer in my kitchen. We are making all the sauces using fresh ingredients, nothing pre-packaged.” Entrees will range from $14.95 to $28.95 and Carlos promises a family-friendly environment with a “long happy hour.” What you’re not going to find is a monster burrito, pre-packaged tortillas or PBR. However if you’re looking for table-side guacamole service and fresh fish on the menu. Londono says, “It’s gonna be fun. I want everyone to feel VIP but I’m not gonna be charging them VIP prices.” (WK)
MOVING ON UP
We recently mentioned that La Grotta (LaGrottaRistorante.com) was Ristorante relocating to an above ground location at 529 East Broad Street, in the Miller and Rhoads building. Well, they’ve relocated, and boy, they’ve really done a great job with the new digs. The elegant dining space has added more seats. They can now accommodate about 150 guests. Antonio Capece says that he is very happy with the space and adds, “This winter you will find seasonal meats on the menu that will vary from lamb shank, wild boar, venison, elk and new seafood dishes.” While I was there, he prepared the homemade spinach spaghettini with peas, shiitake mushrooms and finely cut pieces of ham in a cream sauce. It was just as savory as it sounds. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They reopen at 5:30 for dinner. I highly suggest that you make a reservation. The restaurant stays busy and is proving to be the perfect place to celebrate all occasions! (WK) 18 RiverCity
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
In a separate article in this issue of River City, I told you about my recent “discovery” of what may be the city’s oldest restaurant, Helen’s Restaurant (HelensRVA. com) at 2527 W. Main Street. Since we covered the history of the place in the other piece, let’s talk about the food. It’s great. Enough said. Although I will say a bit more. I’d always thought that Helen’s was more of a beer joint, so I never visited. Not that I’m against beer joints, mind you. However, the new Helen’s (you’ll have to read that other piece to know what I mean) is really a foodie’s delight. While there, I spoke with Claire Tuite, the daughter of owners, Leslie and John Tuite. She’s a lovely young woman who seems to be very much into the history of the place. She even knew that in 1985 the movie, Finnegan Begin Again, starring Robert Preston and Mary Tyler Moore, was partially filmed in Helen’s. Claire knows the food, too. She tells me that chef Clay Hostetler is doing an amazing job, there. I sampled the sensational potato gnocchi, prepared with seasonal squash, cauliflower, wild mushrooms, pistachio pesto, parmesan crackers and sage parmesan broth. I can’t wait to return and try the coriander duck breast. Claire tells me that they make the best hamburgers in town, too. I will definitely be back to find out. (SC)
tastebudz GIVE A GIFT
The holiday season is coming and now is the perfect time to reserve one of our awesome party spaces,” says Linzy Browne, marketing manager at Capital Ale House at 623 E. Main Street (CapitalAleHouse.com). “Want to give the gift that keeps on giving?” Linzy adds, “It’s time to give the gift of beer. When you purchase a $25 or more gift certificate, you receive a free growler.”(MD)
Here are a few comings and goings on the River City dining scene: Bottom Burger – 1719 E. Main Street. Opening in late November Sauce & Toss – 1711 E. Franklin Street (formerly Franklin Street Market). Now open, serving fried fish and chicken and more. The Nile – 306 N. 29th Street. They’re back. The Teklemariams are once again serving great Ethiopian dishes in their own restaurant in Church Hill Tazza Kitchen – 1500 Roseneath Road. We hope to see a Scott’s Addition addition to this popular local regional chain by the first quarter of 2017. ZZQ – 3201 W. Moore Street. Everyone’s buzzing about this big, bold BBQ place slated to open next spring in Scott’s Addition. Spoonbread Bistro – 2526 Floyd Avenue. Chef Michael Hall is impressing local diners with this take on Southern fare in this recently opened eatery.
For more restaurant news, check TasteBudz Online on Thursdays at RichmondNavigator. com and if you have any restaurant news, email us at Tastebudz@RichmondNavigator.com
LADY SINGS THE BREWS with Meredith Dauksz
MAKING MOVES & TAKING NAMES!
We all have watched new breweries pop up in and around the city. Charlottesville based, Three Notch’d opened its doors in early October, along Broad Street in Scott’s Addition. Their Pumpkin IPA and Apple Crumble Donut Amber Ale are giving patrons a cozy introduction to the season and their brewery. They are featuring some Charlottesville favorites as well as Richmondonly brews. If you turn left or right from Three Notch’d, you are seconds from Blue Bee Cidery, the new neighbor on the block. They made the move from Manchester to the brewer’s paradise we all know as Scott’s Addition and they aren’t looking back. Forget the fruitcakes or lemon squares – the breweries in the neighborhood welcomed them with open arms by collaborating on tap shares and events. Down the James, Triple Crossing Brewery is making progress on their expansion into the Fulton Hill neighborhood with their fermenting vessels and barrels decorating the space. Opening in early 2017, the new location will feature a brewpub, pizza kitchen and large outdoor patio space. With Triple Crossing’s bold IPAs and Stone Brewery just a short hop away, these new guys on the block are going to give the East End some serious West Coast vibes. Heading out of the city, a new brewery called Kindred Spirits has opened in Goochland. This new spot is mixing it up with neighborhood food trucks and various musical acts every week. Perfect for enjoying some local tunes by Pat O’Brien or Mike Norris, while scarfing down a Hollywood Cheesesteak or some Mac Daddy fare! Center of the Universe brewery is using their creative license and opening Origin Beer Lab in the heart of Ashland. Here, they will have more room for experimenting and testing out new flavor combinations and varietals. The winners will make their way to COTU for larger production. Some Richmond breweries are spreading their wings even further and setting up their what I like to call “vacation locations.” To name a few: Hardywood, the beer with purpose, is creating a destination brewery in Goochland, opening in the spring. The 24-acre property will feature a distribution center, tap room, tranquil gardens and trails. Not enough? Check out the amphitheater overlooking Tuckahoe Creek. Nice work, Hardywood. We wouldn’t expect anything less. Legend Brewery will open a new location in Portsmouth. You and 120 of your closest friends can enjoy the grandfather of Richmond breweries along the waterfront in the historic Seaboard building – the former Old City Hall built in the 19th century. It wouldn’t be Legend if it didn’t have epic views and a rich history! Finally, to show our neighboring city how we do it in Richmond, Strangeways is building another location in Fredericksburg. This event space, arcade and beer garden will feature their layered-with-flavor wild beers and my personal favorite, their lippuckering-good sour beers. Pretty soon, we won’t have to have a meltdown every time there is traffic on 95 heading north. Just take a deep breath and pull over for a stop at Strangeways.
HAPPY HOUR GUIDE FLAVOR
700 E. Main Street, 20th floor; 804-709-0925; KabanaRoof Top.com Are you ready to get high? Richmond’s highest rooftop dining experience is always a great time, featuring live music and Sunday fun-day events throughout the year. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 3pm TO 6pm Bar Snacks Bar Sips Black cat shrimp $8 Vina Galana Garnacha $6 Togarashi fries $5 Vina Galana Verdejo $6 Veggie hand roll $5 Vina Galana Rosado $6 Pho sliders $8 Mojitos $7 Kimchi hot dog $6 Miller Lite in can $3 ONE MORE THING: Shock top draft $3 On Sundays during brunch you can snag a bottle of Champagne and a pitcher of orange juice for $20. If you happen to need another pitcher and juice you will only pay $10 for every pitcher after your first purchase.
Old Original Bookbinder’s
2306 E. Cary Street; 804-643-6900 BookbindersRichmond.com Rich in history and atmosphere Bookbinder’s is located in a beautifully refurbished tobacco warehouse. Wanna’ go somewhere fancy but not break the bank? You can wine and dine at Bookbinder’s during their happy hour! MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 5pm TO 7pm (bar only) All appetizers are $6 One pound of steamed mussels in a Chablis with garlic butter sauce and herbs. Roasted red peppers served chilled with shaved parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grilled flat bread. Johnny’s junkyard potatoes are fried with bacon, cheddar cheese, chives and a side of horseradish crème fraiche. Gorgonzola fondue served with crispy crostinis served with apples and berries. Drink specials $6 Estancia merlot, 10 Span pinot noir, Uvaggio moscato, Ken Forrester’s petit Chenin a classic house martini. Miller or Coors light $3 ONE MORE THING: No matter what the season may bring you, Bookbinder’s is the perfect location for your private event this winter.
The Daily Kitchen and Bar
2934 W. Cary Street; 804-342-8990; TheDailyKitchenandBar.com This happening hot spot in Carytown features locally sourced seasonal organic produce and meats and works with local farmers to provide a farm-to-table experience at fair prices and support the community. And they don’t just focus on organic foods, The Daily offers organic wines as well. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 3:30pm TO 6:30pm Organic wines $4 (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Malbec, Cabernet) House liquors $3 Specialty martinis $5 12 oz. select drafts $3 Appetizers half off Pizzas $2 off ONE MORE THING: They serve breakfast at 7 a.m., 7 days a week!
1328 West Cary Street; 804-525-4216; LittleMexicoVA.com Family owned and operated since 2007, Little Mexico proves that using the freshest ingredients makes for an amazing dish! If you’re looking for a great fajita and chips and salsa with an ice cold brew Little Mexico is the place for you. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 3pm TO 7pm Draft beer $3 House Rails $3 House Margaritas $4 Tecate $2 Guacamole and queso dip $3 ONE MORE THING: Check out their daily specials like their Monday deals with $1 tacos, $1 PBR 12oz can, $2 Tecate and Victoria 12 oz cans are anything but mundane.
Bottom’s Up Pizza
1700 Dock Street; 804-644-4400 BottomsUpPizza.com Since 1992 Bottom’s Up has been pleasing Richmonders with the specialty pizzas in their historic Shockhoe Bottom location under the railroad tracks. Dining-in or delivery you can’t go wrong with pizza from Bottom’s Up. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 4pm TO 7pm Drafts $1 off Domestic bottles of beer $3 House liquors $3.50 ONE MORE THING: Go online to see their full menu and to print coupons to make your dining experience not only delicious but affordable.
WIDE ARRAY OF
JAPANESE, CHINESE & THAI FOOD
8319 Bell Creek Rd, Mechanicsville • 804-781-4388 • BellHut.com
Celebrate the Holidays with us
We offer private dining accommodations perfect for your next holiday party or gathering. Let us make your holiday one you and your guests will always remember. CapitalAleHouse.com 804-780-ALES
The Plots Thicken: Untold Stories From Hollywood Cemetery by Jody Rathgeb TOM RATHGEB
Hollywood Cemetery is more than a burial spot. It’s also a park, a garden and an outdoor art museum. It’s “a special landscape,” says tour guide Kathryn Whittington, adding that the cemetery’s encompassing background also extends to the people buried there. While most visitors to Hollywood learn of its presidents, generals, soldiers and titans of industry, there are also people of the arts, willful women, a few scoundrels, and visionaries who influenced the way Richmonders live today. Their stories are not often told, but they are fascinating additions to a remarkable place.
THE ARCHITECT OF ‘MORE’
How the cemetery came to be is itself the story of a little-known but notable person: John Notman, neither a Richmonder nor buried in Hollywood. Notman, who was born in Scotland and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1831, was the architect and landscape designer hired by Richmonders William Haxall and Joshua Fry to develop a plan for the city’s expanding need for burial sites. At the time, most cemeteries were either family plots or churchyards, laid out on a grid. But the late 1800s were the beginning of the rural cemetery movement. Inspired by the landscaped grounds of Mount Auburn in Boston, Notman walked the grounds of the former Harvie estate, topographic maps in hand, and in 1848, came up with the plan that would become today’s Richmond jewel. It is marked by curvilinear paths; views of gardens, trees and the James River; and natural features punctuated by reminders of eternity. “He was creating this earthly paradise,” says Whittington, who provides tours of the cemetery through the Valentine Museum. “He is the reason it [Hollywood] is here.” Notman would go on to design the grounds of Capitol Square, extending further his influence on Richmond.
Info: Hollywood Cemetery 412 S. Cherry St. (804) 648-8501 HollywoodCemetery.org; The Valentine Museum (804) 649-0711 TheValentine.org
WOMEN OF WILL
ENGINEER WITH A VISION
Like Notman, Wilfred Emory Cutshaw took a job and made more of it. Hired as Richmond’s city engineer in 1873, his first big project was to build a new reservoir. He gave the city its reservoir, plus more. Landscaping and the displacement of earth for the project became Byrd Park. Likewise, Cutshaw’s work on a pump house by the Kanawha Canal was put to a dual purpose, with a second floor that became a social center. Always on the lookout for ways to bring green into the city, Cutshaw developed such prominent parks as Chimborazo, Libby Hill and Jefferson Hill. He also built a nursery that would provide trees for streets, parks and cemeteries. His modest monument at Hollywood hides the story of an engineer with vision.
Richmond looks like it does today not only because of these men, but also from the efforts of women who saw the value of preservation. Foremost among these is Hollywood “resident” Mary Wingfield Scott. An architectural historian, pioneer preservationist and suffragette, Scott is responsible for saving Linden Row, the Adam Craig House and the Greek Revival Barret House from destruction. Founder of the APVA (now Preservation Virginia), she wrote two books, Houses of Old Richmond and Richmond Neighborhoods. Women were also key in preserving land. Many of today’s Hollywood visitors might recognize the monument of Lewis Ginter because of the botanical garden named after him, but it was his niece Grace Arents, buried across from him, whose will led to the garden’s creation. Arents was a benefactor in many areas. Trained as a nurse, she cared for orphans through a mission church in Oregon Hill, established public baths and playgrounds, and founded the school that is today’s Open High.
ARTS AND LETTERS
While the presidents and generals wrote their legacies in large and sometimes bloody actions, there are many more at Hollywood who left behind writings of a more traditional sort. Pulitzer Prize winner (for the novel, In This Our Life) Ellen Glasgow, a suffragette and student of the Enlightenment, leads the pack. “She believed in a realistic interpretation of the South and its treatment of women … the opposite of a genteel romantic,” Whittington says. Yet, there was a tender spot in her for animals. She was the driving force behind Richmond’s first shelter, and her estate and royalties were left to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Another author buried at Hollywood, who Whittington claims as a favorite, is the Rev. John Bannister Tabb. The poet, teacher, pianist and Catholic convert-turned-priest was once better known than Emily Dickinson. In an eventful life, he published eight books of poetry and one of English grammar. His epitaph is one of his poems, “In Aeternum”: If life and death be things that seem/ If death be sleep and life a dream/ May not the everlasting sleep/The dream of life eternal keep.
FAMOUS BY ACCIDENT
While stories of the Civil War dominate in Hollywood, an unusual one stands out, unlike her grave which is marked only by a tiny Irish flag. This is the burial spot of 18-year-old Mary Ryan, an employee at the Confederate laboratory on Brown’s Island. Her error in packing ammunition created an explosion that killed 45 people, 43 of them women and children, and led to Confederate setbacks that contributed to the war’s end. Whittington, who has also worked as a mansion docent at Maymont and in 1988 created the Historic Richmond walking tour, comments that all tours of Hollywood Cemetery “either teach you Virginia history or reinforce the history you learned in school.” And since most of “history” is “story,” you’ll find plenty in the plots of Hollywood.
More Tales to Tell
Kathryn Whittington, who leads tours of Hollywood Cemetery for the Valentine Museum, was excited to be able to tell the stories she often must skip during regular tours. “How many do you want?” she asked. “Oh, about four or five,” I replied. “That’s all? I have at least a half dozen off the top of my head!” She told them anyway. Here are some tidbits of other Hollywood stories. Consider them trailers in the movie ad for the cemetery.
VARINA HOWELL DAVIS: Her
husband may have been president of the Confederate States of America, but this First Lady was against secession and repeatedly broke the law by writing to her family in the North. Her daughter Winnie is celebrated as a daughter of the confederacy, but not this independent thinker.
SILAS OMOHUNDRO lies in an unmarked grave at Hollywood, but as the proprietor of the second largest slave jail in Richmond (reportedly under the Exxon station on East Broad Street), he is no less a part of Confederate history than all those generals. JAMES THOMAS, a wealthy tobacco merchant, is remembered as the man who saved the bell at First Baptist Church. When church members considered melting down the piece for the war effort, he came up with gold to cover their contribution and save the bell. TOKUKICHIRO ABE is an unusual name to find in the cemetery for good reason: He was Japanese. Sent from Tokyo to consult with American tobacconists, he died and was buried here. Whittington says a package of Japanese cigarettes was once found at the gravesite. RichmondNavigator.com 23