Hello from the History Center’s Richmond History Tours Department! My name is Caroline and I’m the intern working in Tours this summer. My job has a lot of perks, including the opportunity to take as many walking tours as my heart desires. So far I’ve been lucky enough to tag along on our tours of Monument Avenue, City Center, Carver, The Fan, and the History Center’s own Wickham House.
One of my major projects this summer is to create and collect word documents of all our walking and bus tours. This is actually a pretty big job, considering the number of tours we have offered over the years! Many of our tours are created by our tour guides, and some of the scripts for these tours are either typed copies that have not been saved to a hard drive or handwritten copies. Some of these tours don’t even exist in a physical form, but have been memorized by guides and exist only as an oral history. I have been retyping tour scripts, deciphering and typing up handwritten notes, and even audio-recording and transcribing some of our oral-history-type tours.
The most recent tour I recorded was a walking tour of The Fan area, led by History Center guide, Ms. Jeanne Allen. This tour focused on two churches adjacent to Monroe Park, as well as the historic homes, now owned by VCU, that line W. Franklin St. on VCU’s campus. A big fan of historic architecture, I found this tour to be very intriguing.
Besides peaking my curiosity about famous Richmonders like Lewis Ginter, T.C. Williams, Elizabeth Scott Bocock, and their big, beautiful homes, this tour also pointed out interesting architectural details that I had never noticed. I was stunned to see a gargoyle on a house on W. Franklin that I have walked and driven past many, many times.
I particularly loved hearing about the Scott-Bocock house, whose long, interesting history included it serving as Elisabeth Scott Bocock’s private residence, as well as the Symphony House for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, a center for senior citizens, and VCU student dorms from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Our tour group was also able to see the inside of Grace and Holy Trinity Church and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, right next to Monroe Park. I wonder if the VCU freshmen living in the dorms just a few hundred yards from the cathedral realize how stunning and beautiful the insides of these churches actually are! The cathedral even has a crypt, which is very cool and only a tiny bit creepy.
Now that our tours are being recorded and transcribed like this one was, future guides will be able to give these same tours, and the information we have now won’t be lost as the years go by. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to help with this project, and even after my internship comes to a close at the end of the summer, you can bet that I’ll be taking more walking tours this season and beyond…even if I have to pay the $10!
Visit the complete schedule of Richmond History Tours here!
Richmond History Tours Intern
Valentine Richmond History Center