Explore the Past - More Allison Street History

Branch Museum of Architecture and Design:

John Kerr Branch House
John Kerr Branch House, 1920s (The Valentine)


When banking heir John Kerr Branch decided to build a house overlooking the Jefferson Davis Monument at the southwest corner of Davis and Monument avenues, the result was one of the grandest mansions in Richmond. The 27,000-square-foot house, completed in 1919, was designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope, who also created Richmond’s Broad Street Station and the National Archives and Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Tudor Revival-style house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features 28 rooms, one of Richmond’s first elevators, and gallery space intended to showcase Branch’s art collection.  The Virginia Center for Architecture Foundation bought the house in 2003 and turned it into a museum dedicated to architecture. Today, the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design is open Tuesdays through Sundays and offers rotating exhibitions and twice-a-month guided house tours, as well as special events throughout the year. (2501 Monument Ave., 0.4 miles.)

C.F. Sauer Co. Headquarters Building and Sign:

C.F. Sauer Co.
C.F. Sauer Co., c. 1918 (The Valentine, Cook Collection)


Sauer’s Sign
Sauer’s Sign, 2019 (Photo by Tre Rockenbach)


The historic headquarters of the C.F. Sauer Co. is located on Broad Street just 300 feet east of the Allison Street Eastbound GRTC Pulse Station.  After noticing that better-quality spices and flavoring extracts were usually sold in drug stores and only in large quantities, pharmacist Conrad F. Sauer founded the C.F. Sauer Co. in 1887 to make pre-packaged, smaller amounts of these products available in grocery stores.  His company began at 17th and Broad streets, but in 1911, it moved to its present location at the corner of Broad Street and Hermitage Road. In 1929, the Sauer family purchased Duke’s Products Co. of Greenville, S.C., makers of the well-known Duke’s mayonnaise. Subsequent company acquisitions included Dean Foods, High's Ice Cream and Pleasants Hardware.  After 132 years, the Sauer family announced in 2019 that it was selling C.F. Sauer Co. to a private equity firm. The company headquarters and manufacturing plant, which displays the iconic animated “Sauer’s Vanilla” sign containing more than 1,200 light bulbs, remains in the hands of the Sauer family. (2000 W. Broad St., <0.1 mile from Allison Street Eastbound GRTC Pulse Station, 0.1 mile from Allison Street Westbound GRTC Pulse Station.)

The Fan District / First Regiment of Virginia Infantry Monument:

The Fan
1318-1320 Floyd Ave., 1956 (The Valentine, Edith Shelton Collection)


First Regiment of Virginia Infantry Monument in Meadow Park
First Regiment of Virginia Infantry Monument in Meadow Park, 1973 (The Valentine, Reinier Hendriksen Collection)


The Fan District to the south of the Allison Street GRTC Pulse Station gets its name from the way its streets extend out in a triangular fan shape from Belvidere Street westward to Arthur Ashe Boulevard.  In the early 1800s, developers hoped to turn the area into a town named Sydney, but economic issues stymied their plans. Large-scale construction finally began in the 1880s, creating an 85-block residential neighborhood filled with houses in the Queen Anne, Italianate, Richardsonian Romanesque, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Second Empire, Art Deco and Beaux-Arts styles. The Fan is also home to businesses, restaurants and tiny “pocket parks.” Meadow Park, located in a wedge formed by Park Avenue, Stuart Avenue and Meadow Street, contains a monument to the First Regiment of Virginia Infantry, which was organized in 1754 with George Washington as its lieutenant colonel and whose members fought in seven American wars. (First Regiment of Virginia Infantry Monument, Park Avenue and Granby Street, 0.4 miles from Allison Street Eastbound GRTC Pulse Station, 0.5 miles from Allison Street Westbound GRTC Pulse Station.)

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