Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 9, 1997):
Monument Avenue was proposed in 1887 both to provide an appropriate setting for a major memorial to Robert E. Lee, and to encourage residential development west of downtown Richmond. The broad, tree-lined avenue with its double roadway inspired prominent Richmonders to erect mansions that catalog early-twentieth-century architectural styles. The houses were, in turn, matched by a series of monumental public sculpturesthat commemorate other heroes of the Confederacy. In the late twentieth-century, a statue honoring native Richmonder Arthur Ashe, noted black tennis player, was added to the group, and stands as a testament to the city's having outgrown the past. Monument Avenue is the country'sonly grand-scaled boulevard with a series of such impressive memorials.