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Demolition on Selden Street

4 comments

Lee 07/29/2014 at 9:41 PM

Do they even try to at least salvage anything? Those cornice brackets, for example? That’s money, hiding in plain site. Maybe looting some of these places for things like doors and tiles and woodwork could provide funding for saving others?

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Cameron 07/30/2014 at 12:57 AM

I’ve been upset over the past week over the demolition of 2119 Selden St. last Monday. I had tried getting in contact with several organizations who I thought were dedicated to saving and rehabbing buildings in Richmond. They seem to work in certain parameters which this situation did not meet.

I am also upset with the lack of information from the owners who seem clueless as to what to do other than demolish a house that was not beyond the simple fixes to bring it to code. I wish I had the money to have bought it from them because I would certainly have done some work. I have tried to stay in contact with the owners. My hope is that they replace it with a similar styled house and if they are just going to sell the land, I hope it is to someone or an organization that would rebuild something that matches.

I feel a huge sense of failure because of this demolition and the demolition of 2105 Selden in 2006, which I also tried to save. I fear like 2105 and other lots in Woodville, that 2119 will be another field we’d have to report. Its demolition already punched a hole in the last row of original houses. The other row in the 2000 block had two houses demolished in 1993 for a building the Woodville Church of the Nazarene never built. Instead a large, out-of-place house was built in 2008. The only thing that made it fit in the row was its setback and that it was one story, but the architecture is modern instead of Italianate-influenced. The loss of 2119 also marked the loss of one of the last original two story houses in Woodville.

The house at 2119 was not owned by the original family during my lifetime, but it always had a resident until 2006 when Premier Investment Properties LLC C/o Stacy Martin bought it and let it sit. I had tried to find them but they apparently didn’t really exist. I was glad to see it finally out of their hands and I had high hopes that someone would fix it up. The current owners dashed that by not even considering renovation and, I feel, misleading me.

When I called the demolition company initially, they had requested a permit from the city but the city apparently did not issue it because they did not expect the house to be fully demolished. They thought the house would be renovated, supposedly. Even the city’s assessor’s information on the property which has not yet has been updated lists the house in FAIR condition. Typically the city does not request demolition of anything fair for its age.

There is no regard for the history of Woodville. RRHA destroyed blocks of it and displaced many families in the 1950s. It was not a place that needed revitalization nor an experiment in poverty concentration. These were hard-working people who owned their homes and were proud of their community. I heard the stories of how awful it was for those who had their land taken and the fear for the remaining residents thinking there would be an expansion of Fairfield Court leading to the loss of their family homes and properties. There’s no regard for the history of the neighborhood by the city itself practically erasing its name in one location and moving it to another, overtaking another subdivision. I guess I can’t blame people too much for not knowing anything. Only Selden Richardson recognized the importance of the neighborhood in Richmond’s history in “Built by Blacks,” and I thank John for recognizing the neighborhood here in its original location outside of city events. There’s so much most people do not know and I wish to enlighten, but by the time my research and work is done, will there be anything left?

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Cameron 07/30/2014 at 1:13 AM

Lee, the man fixing up the house next door practically helped himself to a lot of things in and on the house. He said someone gave him permission to strip the house of its aluminum siding. I was at least glad to see what was underneath because I did not know that the downstairs windows used to be two separate windows that extended down to the porch. On the back, I saw that the upstairs windows were shortened. The man fixing the house also took two of the house’s iron supports, the railings, the front and back security doors, and the banisters, spindles, and newels which had interesting finials. I have one of the brackets. It was attached to one of the wires and when they disconnected the house, it was ripped off the front. The windows were installed in 1993 and the man said he could have taken them too but didn’t. He said the house had been already been stripped of its pipes, which isn’t a surprise as they would have been copper.

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Lee 07/30/2014 at 8:26 AM

@Cameron – my apologies. I assumed this was the city’s doing, not the owner. Not sure my previous comment is relevant.

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