by Robert Traub
Beyond the Boulevard and past the stately homes of the 2300 and 2400 blocks, Monument Avenue transforms into a mixture of apartment buildings and duplexes, modest homes and row houses.
Once considered Richmond’s western-most border, the Boulevard served for the better part of a century as the city proper’s boundary. It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century, as Richmond’s population grew at an exponential rate, that rapid expansion forced the construction of multi-unit dwellings to meet the ever-growing demand for housing in Richmond. This working-class neighborhood would later become home to the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and would come to be known simply as the Museum District.
It is here, at 2905 Monument Avenue, that we find the home of Mr. Robert Traub and Ms. Patricia Stewart.
Nestled between an apartment building and another duplex, this home, thought to be built in 1913, exemplifies both the character and charm of the Museum District. Designed by noted architect W. Duncan Lee, this classic Georgian-revival style house, with portico and simple Doric columns, slate roof and Flemish-style masonry contrast the surrounding structures lacking ornamentation.
The duplex was originally occupied by Asher and Nathan Simon and Leon Nelson. Mr. Nathan Simon, a Richmond tailor, with a storefront located at 718 East Main Street, remained in the duplex at 2905 Monument Avenue until 1922. It is then that Mrs. S. M. Kirsh purchased Mr. Simon’s interest in the duplex, where she would remain until sometime in 1932. Correlating records suggest that in 1937 a Ms. Sadie Meyer Kirsh, presumably the same, had moved to 2616 Monument Avenue and was listed as a widow. There is no mention of Asher and and Nathan Simon after 1932. Mr. Leon Nelson is mentioned as a named partner at the firm of Nelson and Nelson.