In addition to Mrs. Reed, Mrs. Bocock, Mr. Fleet and Mrs. Catterall, the Reed Square Foundation honors the memory of others who played important roles in the establishment and success of the St. John’s Church Old and Historic District.
Below are capsule biographies of other honorees.
Miss Marguerite Crumley
Mrs. Elizabeth Golsan Schneider
Betty Joyce Moore
Miss Marguerite Crumley
Few people’s names are more synonymous with historic preservation in Church Hill than Marguerite Crumley’s. During her 41 years as a resident of Church Hill, Miss Crumley worked in a variety of ways to preserve and enrich the neighborhood and city.
When she and her sisters Carol and Rose Marie moved into the Hilary Baker house at 2302 East Grace St. in 1959, the St. John’s Church Old and Historic District was 2 years old. Mary Wingfield Scott had directed the restoration of the house, and the William Byrd Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities owned it. The sisters were ideal tenants who took an interest in the neighborhood and its development. They bought the Baker house in 1964.
Marguerite Crumley had a distinguished career in education. As the Director of Vocational Education Programming Services for the Commonwealth, she was the first woman in the country to hold such a position. She was also an early member of the Future Business Leaders of America and took a keen interest in its programs and activities. Though active before, when she retired in 1978, she took a more vigorous role in preserving Richmond architectural heritage.
The year she retired she was president of the Historic Richmond Foundation which at that time was headquartered in Church Hill. Immediately thereafter, from 1979 to 1981, she led the nationally recognized effort to preserve Richmond’s Victorian Gothic Old City Hall from destruction. When asked by the Richmond Times Dispatch about her motivation to save old buildings, she said her “interest in old Richmond stemmed from a desire to avoid the sameness of modern architecture.” She was on the City’s Committee for Architectural Review for six years during which time she guided the restoration of countless houses. She was also a board member of the J. Fulmer Bright Foundation and helped direct its efforts to restore and improve the City’s parks including Patrick Henry, Libby and Chimborazo.
In many ways, these preservationist accomplishments would suffice for a lifetime of achievement, but in 1991 she topped them with the publication of “Church Hill – The St. John’s Church Historic District”. She wrote the large format book with Jack Zehmer, then executive director of HRF, who took most of the pictures. “Church Hill” is an architecturally literate textual and photographic tour of the entire district punctuated by historic information, old photographs, drawings and maps. Miss Crumley’s devotion and love for her subject flow from every page.
Upon her death, a bench and plaque in her honor were placed in the St. John’s Mews. The Reed Square Foundation thanks her family for their support of Miss Crumley in all of her historic preservation efforts and for their gracious hospitality to the author of this profile when he was researching this article.
Mrs. Elizabeth Golsan Schneider
Mrs. Schneider, a native of Richmond, was an active board member of the Historic Richmond Foundation in the 1960s and 1970s. She was a proponent of historic preservation, particularly in Church Hill where she lived, until she moved from Richmond in the 1970’s.
Cognizant of the need for businesses to locate in Church Hill, Mrs. Schneider opened “The Shop on Church Hill” at 2315 East Broad. The shop sold elegant accessories for the home. A friend recalled that everything she did, she did with style and quality. Having founded the shop to promote business, the time eventually came to close. She had a “marvelous” sale and gave her employees generous gifts. Mrs. Schneider also took a keen interest in the 2300 Club to which she donated furniture and fixtures.
Mrs. Schneider was one of the few HRF Board members to actually live in Church Hill. She bought 2308 East Grace on the pilot block in a dilapidated condition and restored it beautifully. She restored three houses in Church Hill. After a time at 2308, she acquired and restored 2403 and 2401 East Grace Street. Her restorations were first rate, especially 2403 where she lived for several years after moving from 2308.
Mrs. Schneider was known for her ingenuity and creativity. The year 2403 was on the tour for Historic Garden Week, she timed the planting of her bulbs so they would be in full bloom the week of the tour. They made a beautiful display. She attended the Church Hill Christmas Ball for many years and took a keen interest in all activities promoting the vibrant social life that came to characterize the neighborhood.
In her history of the Historic Richmond Foundation, Mrs. Catterall described Mrs. Schneider as a “vital and generous part of Church Hill life” and she is recalled as a benevolent landlord who cared about her tenants and their comfort. When she moved from the area, she left a legacy of accomplishment, gentility, generosity and kindness.
Betty Joyce Moore
– A Personal Reminiscence
Although I knew Betty Moore, in her hats and stylish ensembles, from Church Hill Association meetings and neighborhood activities I did not know her well until Eileen and I moved to the 100 block of North 26th Street where we became friends. Betty always made a point of making the acquaintance of her neighbors and befriended many.
I recall clearly at a Church Hill Planters meeting sitting in Betty’s living room with its distinctive moldings and mantels, fine artwork and elegant furniture. I felt as though I were in a museum on the other side of the velvet rope—with delicious food to boot which Betty prepared. As a member of the Planters, Betty took great interest in the trees and landscaping of Church Hill.
Our convivial block invited Betty to all of its get-togethers and she rarely missed one. If Betty was in the room, the conversation never lagged. Skilled in the art of conversation, Betty knew how to draw people out without being inquisitive. At her memorial service she was spoken of as the “life of the party” and that was our experience.
My feelings for Betty matured when I saw the look on her face at the prospect of Reed Square–the companion property to her house–being developed. We talked frankly about it and the delicate situation it put her in due to her long association with the owner of the property, the Historic Richmond Foundation. Happily Reed Square was saved from development and preserved the historic look of her house and adjoining grounds.
Spring and summer weekend afternoons Betty was often on her back porch reading or working the New York Times crossword puzzle. Frequently I’d be working in Reed Square. When I finished she never failed to offer me a cold beverage which I often accepted as we chatted. Betty was a brilliant woman with a wide experience. Among many stories, I especially remember the sparkle in her eye as she related amusing anecdotes of William Faulkner at the University of Virginia when she was there. She was a font of knowledge about “old Church Hill” in the nineteen sixties and seventies and had paper ephemera of House Tours, garden tours and other events going back many years.
Betty lived in the same house in Church Hill for over forty years. During that time she was robbed and shot in the hand; her car was run into or broken into several times, and her house needed near constant attention. But Betty never considered leaving the neighborhood or lost faith in the value of community participation, neighborliness and a sense of place. When I visited her in hospice she was immediately focused on the neighborhood as she greeted me with a lilting, “Hello Tom. What’s the news?”
Over many years Betty forged strong friendships with many people. Her dynamic personality and enthusiasm for life naturally drew people to her. Friends from the early years who’d long since left the neighborhood remained close. Never the most practical of people, as she aged, Betty became increasingly dependent on the kindness of her friends to help her manage day to day activities. Her independent spirit fought this dependence and she limited the number of people aware she needed help.
Betty was scrupulous about the appearance of her property. Among the people who knew her best and saw her most was her handy man who kept her sidewalks clear, hedges trimmed, and yard orderly. He kept one eye on the grounds and one eye on Betty. His presence was a comfort to her friends and he kept them informed of her well-being. We are in his debt. I’m sure he misses her as much as any of us.
As her health declined, Betty stayed in her house as long as she could. For many weeks this was only possible with the daily attention of two wonderful friends in the neighborhood. They know who they are. When she could no longer be alone in the house, an old friend, as executor of her estate, made her last days as comfortable as possible. Over the years Betty had always come through for her friends and when she needed them most, they came through for her. When Betty died we lost a direct link to Church Hill’s historic district origins; an element of fineness is gone. It was a privilege to know Betty Joyce Moore, all who knew her well were better for it.
by Tom Sanders
On July 6, 2010, long time Church Hill resident, Larry Parker was stung by a bee on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Larry died of anaphylactic shock. He was 60 years old. Larry was well known and highly regarded.
I first encountered Larry’s name in the early nineties when Eileen and I were in charge of selling tickets to the Church Hill Christmas Ball. Sales had been sluggish the first few days when we got our first table reservation, “Parker party of eight.” That ticket order boosted our spirits. Soon tickets sold well and everyone had a great time. Larry and his group were lively.
Back in the heyday of the semi-annual Alley Rally neighborhood clean-ups, I often directed one of the trucks. Larry lived in the 2200 Block of East Grace Street. When we came by Saturday morning he was always ready for us with tree cuttings and bagged leaves. He would consolidate other people’s items to make it easier on us and to make sure nothing was missed. I acquired an appreciation for an orderly alley from Larry.
I grew to know Larry better when we were both members of the Church Hill Planters, which he helped found. It was at a Planter’s meeting that I realized how close he was to our neighbor Betty Moore. In the 1970s Larry had rented the basement of the Anthony Turner House from Betty, they were fast friends and ran in the same crowd. Larry was Betty’s go-to-guy for help decorating for events and landscaping advice. I remember helping him one Saturday trim the holly trees in Reed Square that overshadowed Betty’s grape arbor. Larry was a skilled pruner and had an unerring eye for plant forms. He was equally skilled as an interior designer and whenever Betty’s house was open for a tour or event, Larry would come over and make sure the interior looked its best with fresh flower arrangements and decorative touches. A golden Christmas tree one year was remembered by all who saw it. One year, when his own house was on the House Tour, his imaginative use of live plants and cut flowers garnered admiration.
No one is capable of taking on all the aesthetic challenges of Church Hill but we can work on individual areas and have an impact. Larry felt that way about 23rd Street from East Grace to East Franklin. He worked to keep both the street and sidewalk grass free during the summer and he was a driving force to get the sidewalk redone. One of the first projects of the Church Hill Planters was his idea of planting trees at the foot of Bellevue School. Both projects added to the beauty of that Church Hill gateway.
At his memorial celebration at Shirley Plantation, hundreds of friends gathered to pay their respects, express their grief, celebrate his life and exchange stories about Larry. Friends of Larry’s, a couple, told the story of being on a road trip with Larry when, much to Larry’s amusement, he was mistaken for the couple’s son. Every year thereafter the “son”, Larry, would send a father’s day card to his new “father.” Such was Larry’s nature.
Larry Parker lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years. His area of Church Hill was always squared away and his relationships in good repair. His untimely death brought shock and dismay to all who knew him. Church Hill lost a valuable neighbor and friend that day.
by Tom Sanders