HISTORY

COAT OF ARMS

A little bit of history in the form of the  description of the West Avenue Coat of Arms.

 

"In the first quarter of the shield, the red roses  stand for the garden work done year round and the garden tours. The second  quarter holds an open right hand representing the friendly, hospitable, and  interesting people who live here. It is also the hand that reaches out to pick  up and comfort the child who has fallen from his bicycle. The cross of St. James  is in the third quarter together with two escallops or cockleshells. Pilgrims of  whom St. James was patron wore these fan-like shells as a badge. Our collective  ears are habitually tuned in at noon and at six in the evening for the chimes of  St. James. The towers in the fourth quarter of the shield symbolize the  enchanting homes in which we live and the long length of residence here for some  of us. The motto on the scroll is in Latin, Non Sibi Sed Suis, "Not for herself  but for Her Own". The date 1873 in the center base of the scroll is the earliest  known date of the street, now known as West Avenue. Documentation is found in  the map of Richmond City, 1873, by J.F.Z. Caracristic. Of the three storks on  the crest, the center one is a boy stork and both girl storks are expectant,  face-to-face. Five 5-pointed stars blazon the center chief and center base of  the border. They symbolize the highest service rank in the United States and  thus are most befitting our beloved community."


Prepared By: Col. Charles W. Dobson, Mayor, 1970

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Additional Information

A very good article was done in 2013 by the Richmond Times Dispatch that details some of the uniqueness of this neighborhood.  You can view that article here.

Many a Bard have had West Avenue inspire words of Poetry

 

O, little street of fellowship, of tender care  and love,
Of faith, of hope, of charity, a bit of what's above.
No friendships are so lasting, nor any quite so true
As these which you enkindle, Spirit of West Avenue.
 

Why are you not called "Friendship Lane" or
"Happy Children's Row"?
Or "Little Street of Cheerfulness”, is what I’d like to know,
For your happy deeds are many and your sadnesses are few,
what's in a name? Nothing! Tis the Spirit of West Avenue.
 

Frank McCarthy, Jr., 1927



 

O little street, brimful of happiness,
And love, and all that makes life sweet and true,
I wonder how those oafs who christen streets
Could e'er have christened you "West Avenue”
 

You should have had the tenderest, sweetest name,
All redolent of hearts and homes, in lieu
Of which those oafs who christen Richmond streets,
Just christened you a plain West Avenue”.

Cally Ryland, 1939



 

Quoth Miss Malicia Pettigrew,
"It's spring-time on West Avenue,
The cardinal in our backyard
Assumes the role of daily bard --
Upon each porch, 'neath awning's shade
Is heard the rocking-chair brigade,
Broadcasting winter-pent reviews
Of this and other avenues --
New residents are shocked, no doubt,
To find how much is known about
Their private, personal affairs
By occupants of rocking chairs.
The constant, unremitting bangs
That hail emergence of gangs,
Of children who consider sod
Their playground, engineered by God
In spite of all the neighbors who
Know more about yourself than you,
There's no place like West Avenue”
Smiled Miss Malicia Pettigrew.
 

Pleasant Conquest, Jr., 1932



 

A little street only three blocks long,
And the heart of the street is full of song
With the laughter of children and neighborly chattering
Some say we're a self-satisfied gathering!
 

We love our street, quiet and discreet,
From the rest of the city set apart;
Yet, from it wonderful people start.
We have a writer of great renown,
A State official who deserves a crown,
A movie producer of whom we are proud,
We're a happy and congenial crowd
 

Mrs. M.S. Valentine, IV, 1951