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RICHMOND
Henry Coalter Cabell House

Coalter Cabell House

Henry Coalter Cabell House
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development

The Henry Coalter Cabell House, like many of Richmond’s distinguished historic residences, takes the name of its most famous resident rather than the original builder or owner. Colonel Henry Cabell (1820-1889) leased the house, which William O. George built in 1847, for three decades beginning in the 1850s. Cabell, a Civil War veteran and a leading member of the Richmond Bar, was the son of Virginia Governor William H. Cabell.

Though originally an ell-shaped Greek Revival house, the Henry Coalter Cabell House has subsequent additions that reflect a mixture of Greek Revival and later 19th century revival styles. The home has a large central section with a two-story portico flanked by smaller wings. Four columns in an invented Greek-style order by Minard Lafever support the portico. They have lost their acanthus leaves, which makes them look Egyptian. Just below the second floor windows of this central portion is a balcony with an elaborate floral-patterned iron railing, thought to have been added c. 1880. The double entrance door on the main façade contains early etched glass panels and iron gates. When a wing was added in 1948, the inside of the house was gutted and replaced with new partitions and furnishings. Nothing remains of the original interior of the house. According to the late Mary Wingfield Scott, one of the city’s staunchest early preservationists, the original interior trim lacked the refinement typically found in houses built in Richmond in this period.

The Henry Coalter Cabell House is important among Richmond’s architectural landmarks with its distinctive portico. The house is also the sole survivor of several blocks of distinguished houses that made Gamble’s Hill one of Richmond’s most fashionable neighborhoods in the late 19th century. The saving of the Cabell house through its adaptation to business use set an important example for preservation in Richmond. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and designated as a City of Richmond Old and Historic property in 1975.

Plan your visit
The Henry Coalter Cabell House is located just east of the Monroe Ward area of downtown Richmond at 116 S. 3rd St.  The building currently holds private offices and is not generally open to the public. The Henry Coalter Cabell House has been documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey.
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