Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire's summer cottage, Westwood. (Photo by Monica Escamilla)
When it was built:
Why it matters:
Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire’s former summer cottage was threatened by the development of apartments on land owned by Union Presbyterian Seminary. McGuire was the personal physician to Andrew “Stonewall” Jackson and one of the founders of the Medical College of Virginia.
Parts of Westwood may date to the 1790s, but the place grew during the early 19th century into a frame, one-and-a-half story house.
Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire’s summer cottage, Westwood, joined the Historic Richmond Foundation’s “At Risk” register in 2015 because Union Presbyterian Seminary planned to develop the 19-acre Westwood tract into apartments.
Nearby residents objected to the $50 million, 301-unit Seminary project and clubhouse primarily on the basis of increased traffic. The new community is to be named Bristol at Westwood — after the Franklin, Tennessee-based Bristol Development Group. The units, for students and the general population, will create revenue that Seminary officials say they can then put into scholarship funds.
The City of Richmond Board of Zoning Appeals in October granted the Seminary a zoning exception that will now protect eight houses, a physical plant, the Rice Apartments and McGuire Cottage. Without the special exception, the zoning would have allowed existing buildings to be removed.
The dwelling, one of Sherwood Park’s oldest structures, was part of the 1892 Sherwood Land Company’s holdings. The company’s directors included a trio of well-off friends: tobacco tycoon Lewis Ginter, who established a rural residence called Westbrook north of Bellevue Avenue; newspaper publisher Joseph Bryan, whose home was known as Laburnum; and renowned physician McGuire, who called his small retreat Westwood.
Parts of Westwood may date to the 1790s, but the place grew during the early 19th century into a frame, one-and-a-half story house. The oldest portion is the Greek-Revival southern side. After 1887, McGuire remodeled and expanded Westwood into an Italianate cottage. He built an office on the second floor and connected an adjacent dependency structure to the house. A freestanding staircase dominates the entrance hall.
McGuire’s widow, Mary, sold Westwood to the Westwood Land Company in 1901. The Union Theological Seminary, to which Ginter deeded land, purchased the cottage in 1907. The Seminary once rented the cottage to married students, but it has stood empty since 1994.