the wonderful world of veena.

22 September 2014

veen on the road: monument avenue.

I had lots of plans for visiting museums and historical homes in Richmond, and then I discovered that my first full day in town was a Monday, meaning all of those places were closed.

Not to fear, however, since there is one particular sight that can be visited at any time: Monument Avenue.

I admittedly did not know much about Monument Avenue, even up until the point I actually got there and saw it for myself. And to be honest, even once I got there I was a little confused. So here we go: Monument Avenue is the only street in the US that is registered as a historic place, a stretch of road that includes 6 monuments spread across approximately 20 city blocks. The first, of General Robert E Lee, was erected in 1890; the most recent, of Arthur Ashe, was unveiled in 1996.

You can walk from one end of the Avenue to the other, or you can do what I did, which was drive from Ashe's monument to Lee's, park and grab a bite to eat, and then drive back, stopping along the way to take pictures. Since it was a weekday, there was plenty of street parking, and it was much preferred to walking since it was pretty sunny and hot out.

The monuments themselves are beautiful and also have a bit of an interesting backstory. Of the 6 monuments, 5 are of men with ties to the Confederate States of America; the final, of Ashe, doesn't seem to have any ties to the others and is also set farther back than the first 5. The distance between Ashe's monument and the next closest one is so much that I thought perhaps I had taken a wrong turn or had not actually found the right place. I like that Ashe has been recognized in some way [I didn't even know that he was from Richmond until I saw his monument and looked it up], but it is rather odd.

The monuments are all pretty impressive and are definitely worth at least a drive past. The Avenue is the site of many events throughout the year, including parades and a 10k, so if you time your visit right, you might get to see one of those rather than just drive through on a Monday morning.

Stay tuned, because we will be revisiting numerous Richmond highlights this week!

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