Who would be in the Church Hill Hall of Fame?

01/12/2013 1:38 PM by

What if there were a Church Hill Hall of Fame? Who over the past few centuries has made their mark enough to be remembered?

I’ve got 6 people that seem like shoe-ins, listed from most recent and going back… Who else would you nominate?

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Church Hill Hall of Fame

L. Douglas Wilder (1931-)

L. Douglas Wilder was governor of Virginia from 1990 until 1994. His was a political career of many firsts: the grandson of slaves, he was the first African American elected governor of any state in America. He was the first black member of the Virginia Senate in the twentieth century. And he was the first African American to win statewide office in Virginia when he was elected lieutenant governor in 1985. A Democrat, he ran briefly for United States president in 1991 and in 2004 was elected mayor of Richmond, serving until 2008.

l douglass wilder

Thomas Cannon (1926-2005)

The self-described poor man’s philanthropist, he gave away more than $150,000 over the past 33 years, mostly in thousand-dollar checks, to people he read about in the Richmond Times-Dispatch who were experiencing hard times or who had been unusually kind or courageous.

Recipients included a Richmond woman who started a youth center in her low-income apartment complex, a retired postal worker who was a faithful volunteer at his neighborhood elementary school, a man and woman who wanted to return to Vietnam to visit their home town, a Richmond crime-victim advocate, a Petersburg teenager who had been abandoned as an infant and recently had been named Boys and Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year for Virginia.

thomas cannon

Ray Dandridge (1913-1994)

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 1987

Diminutive, bow-legged Ray Dandridge was one of the best defensive third basemen in the history of the Negro National League or any other league. A contact hitter who consistently batted .300 or better, Dandridge played seven years with Newark of the Negro National League and also spent eight summers in the Mexican League and 11 winters in the Cuban Winter League. After the color barrier fell, he played four years with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in Minneapolis, batting .318 overall and winning the American Association MVP in 1950.

ray dandridge

Mary Wingfield Scott (1895-1983)

Virginia Preservationista, authored Houses of Old Richmond, published in 1941, and Old Richmond Neighborhoods, published in 1950. Miss Scott’s books are still the bibles of Richmond architectural history. She was instrumental in the preservation of Linden Row, Oregon Hill and Church Hill, and she has been an inspiration for generations of preservationists who have followed in her footsteps.

mary wingfield scott

Elizabeth Van Lew (1818-1900)

The first Union flag to wave over Richmond in four years was raised in 1865 by this famous and effective Union spy. Born into a prominent Richmond family, Elizabeth Van Lew returned from her schooling in Philadelphia as an adamant abolitionist determined to fight slavery in the bastion of the South. “Slave power,” she wrote in her diary, “is arrogant, is jealous and intrusive, is cruel, is despotic.” Outspoken and rebellious, she appeared to her neighbors to be more than a little eccentric and soon became known as “Crazy Bet.” After Virginia seceded and Fort Sumter fell, she used her reputation for innocuous idiosyncracy as a shield behind which her shrewd and resourceful mind devised schemes to abet the Union cause from within Richmond.

elizabeth van lew

Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

St. John’s Church became famous as a living memorial to American liberty when over 100 Virginia colonial leaders, including Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Peyton Randolph met here in March of 1775 to avoid the wrath of Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in Williamsburg. St. John’s Church was the only building in Richmond suitable to hold the delegates. Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech was delivered on 23 March 1775 inside the church. Henry’s timely resolutions passed by a narrow margin and the American Revolution began the following month when shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.

patrick henry

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