RTF in Richmond Magazine & Monumental Church Sports a New Terrace

Happy 200th Anniversary, Monumental Church! In honor of the site’s importance as the resting place for the victims of the Richmond Theater Fire and the church’s historic and architectural value, Richmond philanthropists funded what is now the Dr. Waverly M. Cole and Dr. John R. Cook Memorial Terrace.

In the Richmond Magazine, talented author and actor Harry Kollatz, Jr. tells the “Monumental Love Story” of this new addition  while giving a hearty recommendation for The Richmond Theater Fire. (Thanks, Harry!) In recent years, he has done much to share the story of the fire with Virginia audiences. If you haven’t seen Harry’s dramatic retelling of the night of the fire, then put next Court End Christmas in Richmond on your calendar and show up at the Church for a chilling and moving experience.


Here’s a Monumental selfie in 2012 before I gave a book talk and Harry performed his piece on the fire.

About that terrace: it’s beautiful. (Before & after photos below.) The last time I was on site, the west lawn was a rutted gravel yard that could hold a parked car or two. Now it is a brick terrace with granite engravings detailing important dates in the history of Monumental Church. (Want to see your name there? Make a donation to HRF. A few granite pieces have been reserved for personal engravings.)

This is a brilliant idea. Where before the unfinished area probably put off pedestrians, now it draws them in and educates them about this amazing building and its fascinating history. Bravo, HRF!

In his article, Kollatz, Jr. writes, “Meredith Henne Baker in 2012 published the long-needed The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America’s First Great Disaster. I recommend the book and a stroll along the timeline.” Looking forward to my next opportunity to see that timeline myself!

The west lawn before the improvements

The west lawn before the improvements

the new Dr. Waverly M. Cole and Dr. John R. Cook Memorial Terrace