Every house needs a name. Well, maybe not every house but apparently it’s a good idea when you are applying for some type of certification as we are with the LEED process. I understand that a name gives the project, and the home, some meaning and an identity. You can’t just makeup a name. It has to happen. I figured a name would just sort of emerge naturally. After a few months of tossing around ideas that clearly had no relevance, I took the advice of my friend Brenda and headed downtown to do some research.
One of my first tasks was to determine when the house was actually built. There is plaque on the house indicating that it was built in 1910 but real estate records indicate that it was built in 1909. I haven’t completely reconciled the date discrepancy but I believe that construction began in 1909 and it was first occupied in 1910. I began my search at the City of Richmond Library where city directories dating back to the early 1800’s are kept. During my first visit I became obsessed with the Patterson family that originally occupied the home. The mother of the family was 50 years old when she moved in and had two daughters and a son! Can you believe that? Really? That’s me! Upon learning that little tidbit of information I was on a mission to learn anything and everything I could about her and the family. I studied clippings from the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper, poured over volumes of the City Directory and spent hours on archival web sites in search of the family and their story. From the directories I discovered that the Patterson family occupied the home longer than any other group of people. They lived in the house from 1910-1955. That’s 45 years! I was determined to get to know these folks.
Mr and Mrs Lauchland Patterson lived on Oregon Hill in Richmond in the late 1800’s with their daughters Jessie C. and Francis Mamie and their son, L. Moseley. Sadly, on November 6, 1901, Mr Patterson was tragically killed in an accident. He was 52 years old. Serving as the foreman of a bricklayers group, he was working on the fourth floor of the new Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company on 12th Street when the scaffolding collapsed carrying with it Patterson and two other men. Dick Johnson and Loyal Hayes were described in the paper as Negroes and were said to have been transported to the Richmond Almshouse. Both men recovered from serious injuries. Lauchland was transported to The Retreat where he died of internal injuries and a skull fracture. He was buried two days later in Hollywood Cemetery about 2 blocks from his home on S. Laurel Street. Lauchland lived 1849-1901.
Directory records indicate that in 1910 Lauchland’s widow moved into our recently purchased home with her son Moseley. I was able to find a newspaper clipping describing in detail the wedding of her daughter Mamie to Walter Bernard Freeman on July 24, 1907. Records also show that her other daughter, Jessie, was married to Herbert L. Rees. The directories indicate that both sets of couples lived in the house at various times during their mother’s occupancy. They also owned and occupied the house next door for a few years. It appears that around 1932 ownership of the house changed from mother to son, perhaps she passed away, and remained that way until 1955 when it changed deed again to a woman that I assume was Moseley’s wife (Mrs Thelma A. Patterson). Perhaps he passed away at that time. She left the residence the following year. I was also able to view copies of Moseley’s World War I and World War II registration cards. He was 48 years old when he registered for WWII in 1940 and the registration card describes him as: short, medium build, blue eyes, dark hair and possessing all of his limbs.
Here comes the really cool part for me: The women that I have become fascinated with was named Honor B. Patterson. She was born in 1860 and lived to around 1932 as far as I can discern. What a unusual name. I looked it up and it was not uncommon at the time of her birth and apparently Jessica Alba recently named her daughter Honor. As I delved deeper into her family history, she became a real person to me and even though I have never seen a photo of her and don’t even know if she was a kind person, I have connected with her. I was compelled to honor her in some way by naming the house and the project for her and her family. After all, they lived in the house for almost 50 years!
So we have decided to name the project and the home Honor’s Corner. It feels perfect.
Additional Richmond LEED homes:
The Phoenix The Grove Avenue home was devastated by fire and rose from the ashes into a beautiful home place.
The Augusta Project Richmond’s first Platinum LEED home, that was obviously named for it’s location on Augusta Avenue.