Robinson House Added to Virginia Landmarks Register

I am happy to report that the Robinson House, located on the grounds of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, in Richmond is among twelve sites to be added to the Virginia Landmarks Register.  The VMFA will rehabilitate the structure and use it as a regional tourist center. This is great news for those who care about the preservation and interpretation of sites related to Richmond’s Confederate history and heritage.

The Robinson House in Richmond, located on the campus of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is significant for its distinctive architecture and compelling history, particularly as part of the nation’s first successful and oldest operating home for needy Confederate veterans.

Constructed in the mid-19th century as the country house of Anthony Robinson Jr., a prominent Richmond banker and landowner, the Robinson House indicates the popularity of Italianate architecture with Virginia’s antebellum high society. In 1884 the Robinson family sold the house to the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans, at which time it was transformed it into a three-story institutional headquarters for the R. E. Lee Confederate Soldiers’ Home. For 56 years thereafter, Robinson House-renamed Fleming Hall during the Soldiers’ Home era-served as a barracks, administrative center, and museum until the facility officially closed in 1941.

The building’s role as the literal and symbolic center of the large residential complex for Confederate veterans made it a visual icon of the “Lost Cause” and a long-standing, important site for collective commemoration, remembrance, and reconciliation events. While more than 30 buildings and structures once stood on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, only Robinson House and the Confederate Memorial Chapel remain, both of which are now owned and maintained by VMFA.

5 comments… add one

  • Betty Giragosian Oct 1, 2013

    Thanks, Kevin, for this information. I hope that the person who told me that the VMFA would not permit this to even be considered has the grace to be ashamed of himself. However, I doubt it. This is good news, indeed.

    • Andy Hall Oct 1, 2013

      Betty, a supporter of the Virginia Flaggers also claimed recently that the VDHR has declined to apply for “National Status” for the Robinson House. This is not true, as VDHR submitted a proposal for inclusion of the structure on the National Register of Historic Places last summer. You can read the application here, that gives an extensive history of the site both as a veterans’ home and of the R. E. Lee Camp that sponsored it. The person making that claim included a link to — wait for it — the VDHR’s National Register of Historic Places application for the Robinson House.

      • Doug didier Oct 1, 2013

        The document refers to photos which aren’t in the posted site. One refers to photo with three flagpoles. Another photo reference states two poles. Wonder which flags were used. I would think one would be the United States flag.

  • Betty Giragosian Oct 1, 2013

    LOL!!! Nor can i understand how someone can tell such a tale that is so easy to check.
    “Truth is the Daughter of Time.”

  • Rob Baker Oct 1, 2013

    Great news. Now when is the flag going up?

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