200 North Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia
+37.55641, -77.4746337°33'23" N, 77°28'29" W
Robinson House has multifaceted significance through its distinctive architecture and its compelling social and cultural history. Constructed in the mid-19th century as the country seat of a prominent Richmond banker and landowner, the building gives evidence of the growing taste of Virginia's antebellum elite for Italianate architecture-exemplified by its characteristic fenestration, window trim, bracketed cornice, and decorative porches. Following the house's acquisition and transformation to a three-story dwelling in the mid-1880s by the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers' Home, these Italianate elements were complemented by tall, heavily corbelled chimney stacks and a lofty belvedere with a steep pyramidal roof, features indicative of the more pronounced Victorian mode of the late century. This physical transformation signaled the building's important transition from private residence to institutional headquarters for the nation's first successful and oldest operating Confederate veterans' home. Beforehand, the dwelling witnessed the domestic lives of Anthony Robinson Jr., his wife, Rebecca, their children, and numerous enslaved African American laborers who attended their owners' personal needs and worked the land of the country estate. After 1861, the widowed Rebecca and her dependents endured the strains and deprivations of the Civil War, and at its end, the challenges of Union occupation of the grounds and house. In the postbellum era, her son mitigated financial difficulties by sale ofthe property in 1884. For fifty-six years thereafter, Robinson House renamed Fleming Hall-served as a barracks, administrative center, and museum for the Soldiers' Home. The building's role as the literal and symbolic center of the large residential complex transformed the building into a visual icon of the Lost Cause and a long-standing, important site for collective commemoration, remembrance, and reconciliation.
- August 9, 2014: Added by Dave King