On the second-floor porch of the Woman's Club's Bolling Haxall House is a mural by artist Luther Coleman Wells of the view toward the river that one might have enjoyed at the outbreak of the Civil War.
Of the 27 identified structures in the painting, only seven remain.
After the Civil War's devastation and following the rise of automobiles, Richmond took perverse pleasure in ripping up, pulling down and digging into historic properties.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Mary Wingfield Scott, Elisabeth Scott Bocock, Louise Catterall and Mary Reed, working as individuals and in groups, pioneered the concept of preservation in Richmond. They researched, wrote, made postcards and led walking tours.
Only allowed to participate in the political process with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, these women were an influential group. Many were married to men of means who could financially affect change in the city. This meant, at first, protecting places associated with the old elite. Over time,
that ideal embraced a more egalitarian perspective.
Despite their efforts, a December 1970 story in the Times-Dispatch quoted an unnamed architect who said, "The heart of Richmond has been eaten out."
Yet in downtown's Monroe Ward, these early preservationists and their successors stood guard.
Historic photographs in the slideshow below courtesy of The Valentine Richmond History Center, Garden Club of Virginia, Junior League of Richmond, Preservation Virginia and The Women's Club of Richmond, Virginia