After recovering old photos in VCU’s Special Collections and piecing back together the original 800 block of Park Avenue, I was able to determine that two houses that stood at 810 and 812 Park Avenue were parcels that were originally John C. Shafer’s that were sold to Gilbert J. Hunt:February 1, 1888 Deed Book 134B, p. 299 $10,000 North side of Park Avenue between Shafer and Laurel Streets
This deed probably included more lots than just 810 and 812, which will be verified with the next trip to the Records Room.But the most interesting aspect of these two lots is evidence in old photos of the original homes that suggest their style: a match to the style of the rowhouses at 811-819 Floyd Avenue! From a typical side hall town house plan, with a mansard roof adorned with the same iron cresting, dormers in the 3rd story roof on all façades, a three story front façade bay window projection, the wood and brick combination modillion cornice line, as well as the unique side porch design with slate roof (evident on 810 Park Avenue in a 1956 photo; the porch on 812 Park Avenue must have been removed by 1956, according to photographic evidence). they are essentially they same. Hunt built these two homes on land he acquired from John C. Shafer, and it seems to me that it was no coincidence that the same style appeared on the parcel basically across the street (the triangular lot in between the 800 blocks of Park and Floyd was empty at the time) on land which Shafer owned, when the two men were doing so much business together.
Could there have been an attempt by Gilbert Hunt to design a mirrored row of this style on either side of of the triangular lot on which the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart would one day be erected?