In 1914, a parcel of land – really a 20′ alleyway – a block away from our row was once subject of an appeals case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Apparently, the parcel bound by Park Avenue, Franklin, Shafer and Harrison Streets that was once John C. Shafer’s, held an alley connecting Shafer and Harrison Streets, which he donated to the City of Richmond for public use. At some point – probably after Shafer’s death, the City was requested to pass a special ordinance making a portion of the alley private behind the now Scott House and a neighboring residence (referred to as Myers, possibly the now Anderson House), which the City passed. That did not fly well with the other neighbors on the street and so Nathaniel W. Bowe (The Bowe House), Ann Clay Crenshaw, Ellie W. Putney, and Channing M. Bolton filed suit on the Scotts, E. T. D. Myers, Jr., and the City of Richmond in 1914 to bring the full alleyway back to public use as Shafer intended.
Click HERE to check it out.
Although it sounds like the court was sympathetic to the plantiffs, ultimately the case was dismissed because this was a matter for the state constitution’s due process and was not within the Federal court’s jurisdiction.
Must have been some tension on Franklin Street between those neighbors! Thank to Ray Bonis and the Shockoe Examiner for passing this find on.