Gilbert J. Hunt makes headlines, 1901

Although we know that Gilbert J. Hunt was responsible for many handsome residences in the lower Fan area and that it is looking more and more like he was the man responsible for the 811-819 Floyd Avenue row, he was also building in other parts of town.  An article on April 28, 1901 in Richmond’s The Times recognizes Hunt:

Activity in residence building here shows much increase as of late.

Great number of handsome dwellings going up in Lee District and every indication of greater activity – front elevation of two fine houses.

The accompanying illustrations are types of the residences which are being erected in Lee District by Mr. Gilbert Hunt, the architect and builder.  Mr. Hunt is erecting upwards of thirty houses in Lee District, several of them to cost as much as $15,000 a piece. It is believed that building activity in that section has barely begun. Since the City Council has voted to give to the property owners of the district the public improvements to which they were entitled as taxpayers, there has been a great demand for lots out there and the price has advanced rapidly.  The erection of these residences is earnest that the purchases were not mere speculations.

These must have been very nice homes, and for comparison’s sake, between 1903-1906 the units at 811-817 Floyd Avenue were selling for approximately $9,000 a piece.  According to Drew Carneal, Lee District is Lombardy Street to the Boulevard. So, simply, The Fan proper!  He writes:

After being annexed by the city in 1893, the 292 acres of the newly formed Lee District experienced only nominal development until after 1900. The early houses were modest two-story single-family dwellings of various architectural styles. While these dwellings stood along, or in small groups, the vista spoke more of rawness and loneliness than of the cosmopolitan cityscape that was rapidly emerging in the area lying east of Lombardy Street.

That is, until builders like Hunt began a slew of construction just a few short years later.  I plan to study these renderings closely and keep an eye out for their matches as I am driving around my neighborhood…

Below is the article.  Thanks to Ray Bonis of Cabell Library’s Special Collections at VCU for coming across this interesting find!

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