Finding Boston in Richmond

Summer Intern Shaleigh Breen explores the archives to find connections between her new home, Richmond, and her hometown, Boston! You might be surprised to see what she found!

What do the Wickham House, a horse and a Valentine Richmond History Center intern have in common?


Hailing from the Bay State, I recently relocated to Richmond this past fall from the city of Boston. Being new to Richmond and an avid history enthusiast, I am always looking for connections to my home state and favorite city here in the River City. I have found two interesting connections here at the Valentine Richmond History Center during my internship thus far.

Alexander Parris designed the Wickham House in 1812. His Federal-style designs would launch his career forward. Due to his success in Richmond Parris would become the leading architect in Boston, Massachusetts beginning in 1817. Parris would later build one of Boston’s most iconic buildings, Quincy Market, in 1824.

Located in the Wickham House above the library fireplace is an engraving of a horse. The horse in the print is a racehorse named “Boston.” According to the wonderful docents here at the Valentine Richmond History Center, “Boston” was one of John Wickham’s favorite horses and he lost him in a bet. After losing the horse, “Boston” went on to win every race that he was ever entered into. Wickham placed the engraving of his beloved horse in his library as a reminder to stop his gambling ways.

I hope that all of you have found my connections between the Valentine Richmond History Center and the city of Boston as interesting as I have. Until next time… and in the meantime, explore! May I suggest starting with the Valentine Richmond History Center and the Wickham House?

-Shaleigh Breen, Summer 2013 Intern