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Posts Tagged ‘Monument Ave’

For those of you who want to spend the day with your dogs (and really, what true Richmonder doesn’t own a dog) then Woofstock is the hot place to be today.  The event is a fundraiser held by the Richmond Animal League to raise money for homeless animals.  Last year the festival raised over $50,000 and this year the goal is $70,000.  For those of you that are not familiar with the Richmond Animal League (RAL), it is an awesome animal rescue organization located in Chesterfield.  They are Richmond’s oldest no-kill organization, which rescues animals from the shelter, spays and neuters them, gets them healthy in some cases, and then puts them up for adoption.  They recently opened up a low cost spay/neuter clinic that is incredible.  We adopted our cat from RAL last year and it has been a great experience watching as she finally becomes comfortable with the idea that she is with us forever.  But, back to the event. 

Woofstock is will be held today, May 15th, on Monument Avenue between Lombardy and Allen from 10am-4pm.  Scheduled events include a fundraising dog walk, RAL alumni parade, K9 training demo, a doggie fashion show, contests and more.  There will also be plenty of animal related vendors, exhibits, and lots of live music.  There will be food, drinks and kid-friendly activities as well so bring both kinds of kids (human and furry).  If you have a weak heart for homeless animals (like me), beware.  Woofstock is the largest annual dog adoption event in Richmond and there will be plenty of adorable sweet animals looking for forever homes. 

The event itself is free, although a $5 donation is recommended and greatly appreciated.  So, bring your dog and spend some time outside on the Avenue showing off your dog’s best features.  As if we needed one more reason to strut our dogs down Monument.  At least this time all the money will be going to a good cause. 

All dogs must be on a leash at all times and must be up to date on all vaccines and rabies shots.  In case you have one of those crazy leashes that allows your dog to run 8 blocks ahead of you, you can only have a 6ft leash at the festival.

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I loved all your posts about the one thing that always represents Richmond to you!  For me, its Monument Avenue.  My first introduction to Richmond was driving down Monument Ave.  It was love at first sight and it has been synonymous with Richmond for me ever since.  Monument Ave. is the heart and soul of the city, the entry into the Fan, and a visual display of our city’s history and architecture.  If you want the full Richmond experience, you must go and experience it!

First, some history about the famous avenue.  The earliest proposal for creating Monument Avenue appears on an 1888 plat showing the subdivision of the Allen Estate west of the present intersection of Franklin and Lombardy Streets.  In 1890, an estimated 100,000 people showed up to see the unveiling of the first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee.  The statue was first assembled in Paris before it travelled to Richmond where it was pulled  by Richmond residents in wagons to its final destination.  Bad economic times (somethings never change), however, stalled the development of Monument Avenue and for awhile, the Lee Monument stood alone in a tobacco field. 

Finally, in 1906, the city council approved the extension of Monument Ave West to the Boulevard.  In 1907, the road began to be paved with its well-recognized asphalt paving blocks.  In May 1907, the J.E.B. Stuart monument was unveiled at the corner of Monument Avenue and Lombardy in what is now known as Stuart circle.  Next month the Thomas Jefferson monument was erected at Davis and Monument Ave.  Monument Avenue quickly became one of the most fashionable places to live (again, some things never change!).   In 1919, the Stonewall Jackson monument was unveiled at Boulevard and Monument Ave.   

The Matthew Fontaine Maury Monument, located at Monument Ave and Belmont, was unveiled on Armistice Day, November 11, 1929.  Maury was called the “Pathfinder of the Seas” and was known for his work in oceanography and meteorology among other things.  Although he was a Commodore in the confederate navy, he is not widely considered a confederate war hero.  The statue was originally supposed to be placed in Washington D.C., but it was rejected because Maury had abandoned his career in the Union military to join the confederacy.  My research didn’t really find a straightforward answer as to why the Maury monument was chosen for Monument Avenue, but it is one of the most detailed and beautiful monuments on the Avenue.  It was also the first indication that Monument Ave was moving away from its confederate war heroes theme and focusing more on Richmond heroes.  In 1996, the final monument, Arthur Ashe was unveiled at Monument and Roseneath.  Arthur Ashe was a native Richmonder, humanitarian, and famous tennis athlete.  He gave permission for the statue in 1993, but died before it was completed.  I still remember all the controversy over where the statue was going to be placed.  After a lot of debate and a very long public hearing, the statue was placed at Monument and Roseneath.  This was a huge step by the City of Richmond to reassert Monument Avenue as a street honoring Richmond’s heroes, not just war heroes.  

Aside from its historical significance, Monument Avenue is also an awesome display of the architectural history of Richmond.  I, for one, could spend hours walking up and down Monument just looking at the houses.  Housing styles include colonial revival, spanish colonial, Tudor, French renaissance, Italian renaissance, mediterranean villa, arts and crafts, plantation style and more.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the economy suffered (again) and many of the larger mansions were turned into boarding houses and apartments.  Eventually, concerned citizens began converting the homes back to single family.  One of the tipping points was when the city tried to pave over the original asphalt paving blocks to lessen the noise (if you have driven on them, you know what they are talking about).  People pulled together (one even stood in front of the paving machine) and were able to stop the construction. 

Shortly after, in 1967, Monument Avenue was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.  In the early 1970’s, Monument Avenue became the ceremonial parade route in the city, and hosted the first Easter on Parade in 1973.  People who have “paraded” down Monument Ave on their way to the Governor’s mansion include:  Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower, and Queen Elizabeth.  In the 1980’s the city began restoring and cleaning the monuments while people continued renovations on their homes.  Except for a few homes that were torn down over the years, Monument Avenue has survived mostly intact.  In 1989, the Monument Avenue historic district was expanded and in 1997 the Avenue was designated a National Historic Landmark.  It is the only street in the United states to receive that honor.   The only other district labeled as  a National Historic Landmark in Richmond is Jackson Ward.  In 2007, the American Planning Association named Monument Avenue one of the 10 great streets in the country. 

Today, Monument Ave. is at the heart of many Richmond traditions including Easter on Parade and the Monument Ave 10k Race.  You cannot have a Fan Home and Garden Tour without touring some of the grand homes on Monument.  On any given day you can see people walking and jogging up and down Monument Ave.  There are always sunbathers and people relaxing on the grassy median or around the monuments.  Lately, you can always find a good game of cornhole going on as well.  It is a great place for dogs, and trust me you will see tons of them (just watch where you step). You will always see people sitting out on front porches or makeshift rooftop decks people- watching and relaxing.  Monument Avenue is one of the most unique “streets” in the country, I’ve never seen anything like it.  I still sometimes go out of my way to take a drive down it.  Admit it, you do too!  What do you like most about Monument Ave?

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Easter on Parade is one of the great Richmond traditions.  It’s not a parade in the traditional sense, but involves more than 30,000 Richmonders “parading” up and down scenic Monument Avenue between Allen and Davis Avenues.  Music, arts, crafts, children’s activities, food, balloon artistry, a petting zoo, and of course, people and pet watching are all part of the celebration. Admission is free.  The parade runs from 1-5pm.

The highlight of the event is always the Pet Bonnet and People Bonnet Showcases.  The Easter bonnets and pet costumes are always amazing.  This year they will be held at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, on the Zayde R. Dotts Main Stage at Allen Avenue. There will also be roving entertainment, including Jonathan Austin, More or Less Morris Dancers, a stilt walker and Peggy the Clown.  In addition, there will be merchandise vendors, food vendors, balloons, and a children’s area.  Not to be outdone by the people, the homes on Monument Avenue are also decorated for the holiday.   The weather is supposed to be beautiful so bring your sunscreen and have fun!

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Well, it’s finally here.  The Ukrops Monument Ave 10k (how much longer will we be able to call it that?) is tomorrow, March 27th.  Many of you have been training for months.  Some of you have been praying for a few hours now, but at this time tomorrow it will all be over.  The 10k is one of Richmond’s most beloved traditions.  USA Today named the race one of the best running races in the country.   This year will be a big one as the race is sold out and there was record sign-up.

As most Richmonders know, this is much more than a race.  It’s more of a spectator event.  There is a dress-up and run contest sponsored by the Richmond Times Dispatch.  As one of the runners who ran behind Indiana Jones last year, I can tell you this contest can get very crazy.  The Spirit groups along the route are also crazy fun.  Spirit Groups of at least 10 participants are encouraged to show their enthusiasm and support for runners and walkers during the 10k by song, dance, music, cheers and banners. A group’s goal is to show the most energy and spirit for the duration of the race.  Both the dress up contest and spirit contest have cash prizes.   There are also many live bands entertaining fans and supporting runners along the race route. 

There are other events going on at the same time as the race.  A very large part of the race every year is the Massey Challenge.  The VCU Massey Cancer Center is an official charity of the 10K.   Runners can donate to the Massey Cancer Center themselves, or use their participation in the race to fundraise.  At 8am, before the race starts, there is also a 1 mile fun run for kids.  

The actual race starts in waves at 8:30 with an after race party in Monroe Park behind the finish line.  Click here for information on road closures and parking.   The weather is supposed to be good for running, good luck everyone!

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