Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Continuing the Tour

One stop that was inadvertently left out is the view of Chamberlayne Avenue from Hood's Nursery.   This view, at the corner of Westwood Avenue, looks west towards the Union Theological Seminary, recently renamed Union Presbyterian Seminary.  The two houses in the picture are still standing.

One block away stood "THE HOUSE OF BRUCE" at 3500.  On the back of this post card is printed: The House of Bruce, Modern and Distinctive Guest Accommodations, Excellent Meals, Private and Connecting Baths, Steam Heat and Garage.  A guest wrote simply "Picture of the place we stayed in Richmond."  

Another view of the early days of Chamberlayne, before the advent of the tourist home, is here.  This is the west side of the 3600 block.  The first house was built by Garland Pollard, who went on to become a governor of Virginia.  The next house belong to the Ruffin family of Ruffin and Payne lumber.  The third house was built by Mann Sycle in 1908; his family owned a men's department store downtown.

Across the street, at 3607 was the "CHAMBERLAYNE LODGE TOURIST HOME and TEA ROOM".  The proprietor was Mrs. H.E. Haden.  

Two doors down, at 3609, was TOLVIS GUEST HOME.  "A Home Away From Home"  is printed on the back, along with the name of Mrs. K.P. Jarvis, Hostess.
"PARK LODGE", one of the few tourist homes that still stands, is at 3806 Chamberlayne Avenue.  Mr. and Mrs. Julian Gilkeson were the owners.  Along with the usual details about rooms with private baths, this had the added distinction of being recommended by Duncan Hines, himself. 

Down the street was "THE PENFIELD GUEST HOME" at 3810, owned by Mrs. W.S. Penley.  Advertised as a "Quiet Place - No Radios - No Pets.  Strictly Modern Home. Running Water in Rooms. Private Baths, Showers. Garages. Parking Space."  One post card has the message that "The Waynesboro Music Class stayed here while at the Musical Festival in Richmond.  Mrs. Penley is certainly a sweet woman. Ruby Ross"  Another guest  and her friend stayed here in July of 1940.

"REDMONT" was located at 3814.  It had "Private and Connecting Baths, Automatic Heat and Hot Water.  Mr. and Mrs. Oliver A. Chalifoux were the owners.

Closer to the outskirts of town were the last two guest homes.  This one, at 4804, was called "BROOK HILL COTTAGE" and was owned by Mrs. F.B. Deitrick. 

This house still stands, as does its twin at 4800 Chamberlayne.

The last house is "THE VIRGINIAN" at 4832.  This was owned by Mrs. George M. Sawyer.  The condition of the curb looks rundown and Watkins Street at the corner looks unpaved.  Although still standing, the porch was removed and only deck railing now surrounds the existing porch floor.

The Brook Hill Coffee Shop was likely a convenient stop for tourists on the road and visiting at the guest houses.  Today it is a Subway at the corner of Azalea and Chamberlayne Avenues.  Here is this photo, it is a charming brick diner with attractive shrubbery planted on the south side.  Judging from the car parked on the extreme left, this dates from the late 1930's to the early 1940's. 


  1. Great site!

    BTW - The "CHAMBERLAYNE LODGE TOURIST HOME and TEA ROOM" building was moved there around 1920 - it once stood on W. Franklin Street on the corner of Franklin and Laurel.

  2. Thanks for posting this! My grandmother and grandfather owned The Virginian. I remember visiting there when I was a little girl. It had a really neat little closet with stairs that ran from the kitchen to the second-floor landing. My mother said that there was a fish pond in the living room (I don't remember it) and that she used to bring home lots of animals, because she wanted to become a veterinarian (something women were not allowed to do back then). She brought home snake eggs, baby alligators, cats, dogs, turtles, etc. My grandmother and I would often sit on a swing on the back porch while she told me stories with lessons at the end. I remember the smell of the garage and the smell of Ivory soap when my grandmother used to scrub me silly while giving me baths. I remember the street lights shining into the front bedroom window whenever I slept over and how much I loved sneaking into the bedroom that had the porch off of it. I remember one of the tourists, too. He gave me a little Golden Book with pictures of cats playing with yarn on the front of it. Lots of good memories there. My mother grew up in the tourist home, but she said it was hard because she always had to be so quiet since they always had "company." She was never allowed to have friends visit. When I visited, though, I remember playing with a little girl named Nancy who lived across the back alley. Of course, I never brought her back to the house. I understand that my grandmother used to feed the hobos, too, so I imagine they made a mark on or near the house to notify others that she was an easy mark. My grandmother was the sweetest soul around, and I consider my childhood to be unique in that I got to visit her at such a unique establishment.