From the Richmond Dispatch, 4/8/1886, p. 4, c. 2
Marshall Park and Lee Monument.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
I was grieved to see by your edition of Sunday that so many who expressed their opinions as to what they thought the best site for the equestrian statue of Lee saw fit to disparage other sections of the city. More especially was this directed toward Marshall Park, which, by the way, seemed to be the choice of the majority. It is said that this is “an out-of-the-way place.” To those who have no conveyance of their own – and they constitute the larger number of our people – there are none of the locations mentioned which are more easy of access than this park.
It is said by another that “the tide of emigration is setting towards the West.” To some extent this is true. But I will venture to say that within the last two years there has been more ground covered by new houses on the plateau which forms the crown of this hill, east of Twenty-second street, than on an equal area of ground in any other portion of the city, while the number of new houses erected in Port Mayo and Fulton is almost incredible to one who has not kept up with the improvements in that section. And another thing I will venture to say, and that is that in proportion to the number of houses there are fewer vacant ones than among the same number anywhere else in the city.
This wonderful improvement is due to several causes. First, to its healthiness. Elevated far above the river, with an open field extending for miles beyond, there is no obstruction to the breezes which fan the brow of the son of toil when he comes home in the evening weary and tired. There is quiet; almost a Sabbath’s stillness prevails over the greater part of it, and this the man who works all day delights in when he reaches his home to rest from his labors. Last, but not least: For the last decade this end of the city has had in Council represents fully alive to the interests of their wards, and they have been ably seconded in their efforts to improve it by the far-reaching sagacity of Colonel Cutshaw, City Engineer, who, seeing what nature had already done for it, at once adopted a system by which the streets have been greatly improved, and in most localities property has thereby largely enhanced in value. Marshall Park, once a barren hillside, is now covered with a beautiful green sward. Lovely drives and walks under the shad-trees, and fringed with hedges, and a fountain throwing up its cooling waters, now offer to the sight-seer a picture of rare beauty. Chimborazo Park, once occupied by a crowd which made night hideous, is now as lovely a spot as can be found. A well-graded road connects the two hills, and they are visited by all strangers who come to the city.
This tide of sight-seers will be largely increased when the road to the National cemetery is made, passing, as it most likely will, by the eastern side of Chimborazo Park. All these combined serve to make Church Hill the finest, prettiest, and most healthy place for residences of any within the limits of our lovely city.
W. H. PLEASANTS.