I mentioned that I spoke last week at Monumental Church during Court End Christmas, but I thought it a good idea to provide a little more information about the church’s national importance and connection to my book.
After the devastating Richmond Theater fire of December 26th, 1811, the people of Richmond decided to construct a church atop the ruins of the theater. America’s first native-born architect, Robert Mills, (designer of the Washington Monument in DC and the US Treasury building) built the Monumental Church–both a memorial for the dead and place of worship–between 1812 and 1816.
As the victims were all buried on the theater site, their mass grave became a crypt located in the church’s basement. The Greek Revival-style church was consecrated in 1814, and was an Episcopal place of worship until 1965. John Marshall and Edgar Allan Poe’s family held pews there. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1969 and is now owned by the Historic Richmond Foundation, which manages its restoration.
You may still see it by appointment. (They also host weddings there!) And if you can’t visit, I am sure that donations to its restoration would be appreciated by the Historic Richmond Foundation. Preservation Virginia has also been part of the restoration process–they have a video of their work here.