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Jackson Ward Historic District

Richmond (Independent City), Virginia
County of Richmond (City).
Roughly bounded by Fifth, Marshall, and Gilmer Streets and the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike
National Register Number: 76002187
Resource type: District.
Property type: Historic District: Historical. The threat level was Threatened in
Congressional District: VA-3 Certified Local Government: YES
This NHL offers public access.
Please contact the NHL directly for visitor information.
Current use/information: Historic District.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 2, 1978):
This fine 19th century residential neighborhood is significant as the hub of Black professional and entrepreneurial activities in the city and the State. Fraternal organizations, cooperative banks, insurance companies and other commercial and social institutions that figure prominently in that era bore fruit here; individuals of exceptional vision and talent--such as Maggie Walker, John Mitchell, W.W. Browne, and Giles B. Jackson--lived and worked here. The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is within the district.

Many individual contributing houses throughout the district that are vacant and deteriorating. In addition, key institutional and commercial buildings, like the First Battalion Armory and the Monumental Church, are in serious structural failure due to years of neglect. The National Park Service only owns about a third of an acre within the district, part of the Maggie L. Walker NHS.

In 1999, Jackson Ward was awarded $650,000 from the Save America's Treasures matching grant program for stabilizing and weatherproofing a number of key buildings in the District, including the First Battalion Armory, the W. W. Browne House, the Elk's Lodge/Taylor Mansion, 523 and 527 N. First Street, the Black History Museum, the Southern Aid Building, and the Booker T. Washington School. The City is in the process of moving the Tucker Cottage, the oldest building in the neighborhood, out of the path of development and plans to find a developer for reuse. The City is also funding and developing incentives for rehabilitation in a six-block area in the eastern portion of the District through the Neighborhoods in Bloom program.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
The NPS has already committed to the neighborhood's preservation through its development of the Maggie Walker National Historic Site. As a result of the 25% State Rehabilitation Tax Credit, there is renewed interest in rehabilitation projects in the District. To prevent further demolition, a variety of incentives as well as local protection mechanisms, like the Neighborhoods in Bloom program, are needed to stimulate and manage the reuse of existing historic structures. In addition, a reevaluation of the NHL district boundaries may be in order in light of recent scholarship and demolition activity.

Comments and questions about the database may be directed to NHL_info@nps.gov