The Annual Membership Meeting on November16 was a very chilly fall evening, so the chilies served up by five local restaurants were particularly welcome. President Prudence Justis greeted the large group and reviewed some of the 2021 accomplishments.
Margee Smither, secretary, spoke on behalf of the Board to pay tribute to Norma Murdoch-Kitt, Immediate Past President, for her many years of service to the association in multiple roles. Norma has been a steady force in defining the mission, vision and values of the GPRA in shaping its organization and traditions.
President Justis recognized current Communications chair and co-chair of the Beautification Committee, Susan Rebillot, for her enthusiastic service for several years, including the successful Scene from the Street Garden Stroll 2021 event. Susan was elected during this meeting as Vice President for 2022.
Police Lt. Picard of the 4th Precinct spoke about our neighborhood’s current public safety issues and answered questions. City Councilpersons Katherine Jordan and Ann-Frances Lambert provided a summary of Council actions in 2021 and their expectations of 2022 issues. We also welcomed the firefighters of Station 14.
While the evening featured special guests, tributes, and the Board election, the chili cook-off was serious competition for everyone’s attention. Warmly spiced, unique, delicious chilies were provided by Dot’s Back Inn, Kitchen 64, The Mill, Moore Street Cafe, and Sara Beth’s Lakeside Love Shack. The winner was Kitchen 64’s chili.
Donations were requested for cash to benefit first responders, recipient to be randomly selected. The GPRA pledged to match all donations up to $250. The donations came to $353. The total proceeds of $553 was donated to the 4th Precinct, RPD.
We thank these local restaurants for participating in our Chili Cook-off, and we encourage neighbors to support these restaurants.
From the Board
The GPRA Board extends condolences to Renee Hill on the death of her father, Nelson R. Bickley, Jr. Mr. Bickley was notable for several careers: Lt. Colonel in the artillery, ROTC teacher and head of counseling services at West Virginia State College, and ultimately, as a lawyer.
The Board affirmed the mission of the association on December 8, 2021.
The mission of the Ginter Park Residents Association (GPRA) is to inspire a vibrant community in our Historic Neighborhood by providing a forum for sharing information, connecting neighbors, promoting activities that encourage civic responsibility and involvement. We are a volunteer association striving to make our neighborhood a better place to live. Membership is open to all who reside in Ginter Park.
Board Meetings have been scheduled for 2022. They will be January 11, March 8, May 10, July 12 and September 13. The Board meets every other month, at a minimum, the second Tuesday in the month, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church Fellowship Hall, 909 Rennie Avenue, 7:00 to 8:30 pm.
Board Meetings are open to the public. If you reside within our boundaries and would like to speak at a Board Meeting about an issue of concern, please contact Susan Rebillot, email@example.com to be added to the agenda.
Police stress that 911 should be used for reporting hearing gunshots because 1) calls are used to create density maps (Richmond does not have an automated system); and 2) patrol officers need to investigate in order to find potential victims as well as perpetrators.
Holiday Open House
After nearly two years of cancelled or modified events and virtual meetings due to the pandemic, the GPRA hosted a well-attended and festive Holiday Open House on December 11. Guests were welcomed into the gallery of Virginia Hall at Veritas School, where a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and fireplace mantel set the stage.
In the sunny auditorium, pianist Alex Hassan played traditional Christmas music. Sweet and savory nibbles were provided by Lyons Magnus Foods. In the center of the food table stood a large, delightful gingerbread house. In one corner of the room, children decorated gingerbread characters. Santa Claus mingled with families, and neighbors enjoyed each other’s’ company and the holiday spirit.
Thanks to our team of volunteers who planned and executed this event: Kathie Avery, Sarah Bergh, Candace Blydenburgh, Mark Clark, Paul Curley, Sara Hassan, Udora Hogge, Nancy Falcone, Judy Gail Johnson, Prudence Justis, Leslee Oliver, Julie O’Kelly, Susan Rebillot, and Maggie Stewart.
Also, our appreciation goes to Keith Nix of Veritas School, for offering our venue and to Alex Hassan for providing delightful music.
Multiple “Gracies” Awarded
At the centennial of the Ginter Park Residents Association in 2009, the Grace Arents Benefactor Award was created in memory of Lewis Ginter’s niece and the role she played in the creation of our community and its institutions. This has been awarded annually to an individual (or group) who has significantly contributed to our neighborhood or the association.
Since no award was given in 2020, this year’s Board gave one for that year and another for 2021 at the Holiday Open House on December 11. For exceptional service under extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic, the 2020 Gracie was given to teachers and staffs of Ginter Park schools and the 2021 award to the First Responders we so depend upon.
Receiving the award for the teachers and support staffs of the schools were:
Ginter Park Elementary School, accepted by “Lucy” Lucille Michelle Jones, Principal
Linwood Holton Elementary School, accepted by Nikea Hurt, Principal
Henderson Middle School, accepted by Antoine London, Principal
John Marshall High School, accepted by Monica Murray, Principal
All Saints Catholic School, accepted by Acting Principal George Elliot
Veritas School, accepted by Head of School, Keith Nix
Metropolitan Day School and Dominion Day School were also recipients, but their representatives were unable to attend the presentation.
Antoine London, Henderson Middle School, Monica Murray, John Marshall High School, Julianne Condrey and Prudence Justis of GPRA, Nikea Hurt, Linwood Holton Elementary School, Lucy Jones, Ginter Park Elementary School
The 2021 “Gracie” Award recipients were the RFD firefighters of Stations 14 and 16 and Richmond Police 4th Precinct officers. Captain George Menshian, and Firefighters Thomas Brockenbrough and Jarrad Frye, Station 14 (2932 Hawthorne Avenue), accepted the award. Captain Keron Tull and Firefighters Theodore Brinkley, Jo Jo Berko, and Omar Salin accepted the award for Station 16 (3901 Chamberlayne Avenue).
To the far left: Station 14 Captain George Menshian and his crew.
To the far right Station 16 Captain Keron Tull and his crew.
RPD Commander Donald Davenport and Lt. Brian Prendergast accepted the award on behalf of all of the officers of the 4th Precinct.
4th Precinct Police Commander Captain Donald Davenport,
Julianne Condrey, Prudence Justis, Lt. Brian Prendergast
When Susie Burtch, our Welcome chair, visits new residents to our area, she often gets questions about which streets are included and which are not included within the Ginter Park Residents Association.
Q. Why are the boundaries of the Ginter Park Residents Association such a weird shape?
A. The boundaries were established when the GPRA was re-created in November of 1977 at a meeting called by realtor, long-time resident, and City Councilman Wayland Rennie. The area included roughly the historic lines of the Town of Ginter Park (before annexation in 1914), North Ginter Park (developed in the mid-’20s but part of Ginter’s holdings) and Laburnum Park (originally owned by Ginter’s lawyer, Joseph Bryan but developed by his heirs from 1913 on). At the time the Bellevue Civic Association already existed west of Brook and north of Laburnum. Residents from these three sections intermingled at Ginter Park churches, clubs and the Lewis Ginter Recreation Association on a daily basis. All areas were represented at the 1977 meeting. They were all concerned by creeping apartment building on Chamberlayne Avenue and, at that point, threatened destruction of a Seminary property.
Q. When were the boundaries determined and by whom?
A. They were set by those who met in early 1978 as a steering committee for the new organization.
Q. Have the lines changed through the years?
A. Although district lines within the outer boundary have changed, the only outer boundary change has been the 3000 block of Hawthorne and Pollard Park. These have been “ceded” to the Ginter Park Terrace association.
Cheer to Chamberlayne Corridor
The GPRA thanks the creative designers of the Ginter Park Garden Club for adorning the Chamberlayne Avenue markers with fresh green Christmas wreaths. The years 2020 and 2021 have been challenging for the Garden Club, which has sadly lost some members.
The Garden Club, founded on February 29, 1924, is the oldest garden club in Richmond. Its traditions include its annual participation in the VMFA Art and Flowers show and its Annual Spring Market.
The Spring Market, a spring-themed shopping day, features artisanal and garden-related products, a bake sale, book sale, and lunch. According to the current leaders, Millie Proffitt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lee Lythgoe, the club hopes to host the Spring Market in 2022, so stay tuned.
Wings Over Northside
by Anne Thorn
Excited by stories of World War I flying aces and eager to cash in on the new aeronautical industry, entrepreneurs carved out several private airfields on the edges of Richmond in the early 1920s. One of these was Charles Field, later known as Hermitage Airport.
On the northwest corner of Laburnum and Hermitage it included part of the property formerly owned by the Deep Run Hunt Club (whose building has been recently restored on Avondale Avenue).
The 110 acres of the field were bounded by trees on Laburnum to the south, trees to the north, the switching yard of the RF&P and a forest of telegraph and phone lines to the west. The two runways were sod, and the rest of the field covered by low weeds and grass.
Charles Field was opened on October 23, 1923 by J. Shelly Charles, a distributor of the Eaglerock plane, a three-place, open-cockpit biplane, its light weight and steep climbing ability adapted to the hazards surrounding Charles Field. The field was one of the few Eaglerock service stations along the East Coast.
Operations at the field included local passenger hops, charter flights and barnstorming. On weekends pilots would fly to some rural community and sell rides at the rate of a penny for each pound of the passenger’s weight.
Through the years many Richmonders learned to fly by bartering their services. They would do maintenance, clean-up, grass-cutting, etc. in exchange for lessons.
Shortly before World War II the field was bought by John A. Currie, a lawyer and dealer for Piper Cubs. He established the Richmond School of Aviation and operated a Navy flight school during the war. The name was changed to Hermitage Airport.
The post-war housing and highway demand doomed Hermitage Airport, which closed in 1948. Part of the field was absorbed by Rosedale and Imperial Plaza and the larger segment went into Interstate 95.
A new festive garden flag will be available this year. The new design by Ginter Park native Laura Murdoch-Kitt Clatterbuck features an applique image and comes in two sizes. We have contracted for the small garden size and, new this year, per your request, the house size flag that flies on a flag pole.
Our prices will be $17 for the garden flag and $40 for the house-size flag. Flags are in stock and ready for purchase!
Or, click on the form below to print and mail your order with check (or pay by Venmo).
Plaques take four to eight weeks to deliver depending on engraver’s schedule.
ORDER YOUR PLAQUE TODAY! We have available Ginter Park Historic District, The Queen of Suburbs, as well as Laburnum Park Historic District. If you are struggling with your date, please reach out, as we may have a historian who can help!
The quickest way to report a city customer service request or delivery of service is to use Richmond’s online web portal, rva311.com. Log in to create your account and follow the prompts to have any of these issues addressed, among others:
Trash and solid waste
You can also use the rva311.com mobile app to report your issues. Download the app from Google Play, or the Apple Store.
Ginter Park Welcome Committee
The Ginter Park Welcome Committee appreciates the local merchants who have generously contributed to our new-neighbor welcome bags.
If you’d like to notify us of new neighbors to welcome, please send an email containing their name and address to: email@example.com
Newsletter produced by:
Ginter Park Residents Association
Post Office Box 25374
Richmond, Virginia 23260-5374
Published monthly except
January and August
Advertising and copy deadline is the second weekend of each month. Send comments, corrections and articles to the address above, attention: Editorial Committee.
Board, Committee Members and