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East End News

Peeking into a house on 27th Street

Design site Apartment Therapy takes a peek into another Church Hill home:

Arielle and her husband live in this Richmond home, known as the “2nd Billups House.” The Billups family is among the oldest in the Church Hill neighborhood, dating from the 1860s. This house, in particular, was built by Charles Jackson Billups in 1900. History is a big character in this house — but Arielle’s rich, moody style complements it perfectly.

Arielle has blogged the renovation and progress of her home on her blog, Scotch and Nonsense. Arielle and her husband have only been in this house a year but they have done a ton of work to make it home.

Looks like the house might be more mid-1880s than 1900. From the Historic Richmond Foundation:

Both houses, 601 and 603, are presumed to have been built soon after 1884, when one of them was constructed by Robert Sims. Both were owned by Charles Jackson Billups, who operated the Billups Funeral Home at 2500 E. Marshall St. Number 601 is called the first Billups House and number 603, the second Billups House. They are particularly well-detailed, side-hall-plan, Queen Anne townhouses. The ornamental upper-window deads and the pinnacles on the top of each pyramidal roof are typical of the era. The porch on number 603 is original, whereas the porch on number 601 is a partial reconstruction.

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50 comments

Eric S. Huffstutler 10/09/2016 at 10:41 PM

I had to think about this twice answering the above since the two houses mentioned, were not “lived in” by the Billups family.

Apparently, they were built as rental property and for a fact, 603 is seen as a boarding house in the 1890s. But, are they the “same” houses standing today as 601 and 603 were seen owned by African Americans at least as far back as 1883. The Church Hill North Historic Registry says that 601 was built in 1887 and 603 in 1888, after the earlier date listings shown in city directories.

This brings us to the 20th century theory because there is a property transfer in 1906, from Margaret T. Snyder to Charles J. Billups in that same area, if not same property saying it was located 25-feet east of 27th and 41-feet north of Leigh Streets..

The Billups family home was located at 511 N 25th and torn down in 1929 to make way for the Sunday School Annex of Leigh Baptist Church. Charles lived there until he was old enough to join the family business in 1884 and then moved on his own by 1891 to 612 N 26th. But his father, Lafayette Billups, who founded the funeral home business, died in 1893, and Charles moved back home with his widowed mother. Then, when he married his second wife in 1896, he built the house at 424 N 25th (next to the East End theater – corner of 25th and Clay), and lived there until 1912.

I am not sure how building naming for historical purposes are established and there has been some controversy in the past about it with no concrete method enforced. Some say it is the builder, some say the first tenant (which normally is the owner but not always). But under the circumstances that these properties were built for income and not personal occupancy, who knows????

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