Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Richmond: Monument Avenue

Monument to General Robert E. Lee, USMA, CSA,
President of Washington & Lee University


Called one of "America's Most Beautiful Boulevards" and the only street in America listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Monument Avenue is a sweeping boulevard of monuments to some of the Confederacy's most famous figures and one of Richmond's beloved sons.

Monument to Jefferson Davis, President of the CSA

At one time, the city envisioned this avenue rivaling Paris' famed boulevard and becoming the Champs-Élysées of the South. (Quaint, no?) The avenue is host to several spring events, including a 10K race and parades marshaled by the Sons of Confederate Veterans commemorating Lee's birthday and Confederate History Month. Around Easter, Richmonders come out for its annual Easter on Parade tradition, which features folks strolling the avenue wearing spring bonnets and silly costumes.

Left: Monument to Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. His statue faces south, which means Jackson died in action.
Center: The backside of J.E.B. Stuart. His monument, like Lee's, faces north, meaning Stuart--and Lee--lived
through the war. Right: Matthew Fontaine Maury--The Pathfinder of the Seas--memorialized for his
groundbreaking work on charting the physical geography of the ocean. (Click on images to enlarge.)

Beginning in 1890 with the construction of an enormous monument to beloved Civil War general, Robert E. Lee, Monument Avenue features equestrian statues of Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart, as well as a monument to Jefferson Davis. A monument to Matthew Fontaine Maury, originally slated for placement in Washington, D.C., was rejected and sent to Richmond because of Maury's loyalty to the CSA.

Monument to native son, Arthur Ashe

In 1996, after much controversy, the most recent monument to native son and tennis legend Arthur Ashe was unveiled at the western end of the avenue looking away from downtown.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 5/08

3 comments:

Lara said...

a great art and history lesson!

Dusty Lens said...

I am amazed by the monumants we have, but many of us had no knowledge of them. Thank you for this history lesson and bringing awareness to these treasures.

D.C. Confidential said...

Lara: Thanks! I learned a lot on this short little day trip.

Rob: I hear you. I was blown away by the Lee monument! It's enormously breathtaking. And you're welcome!