RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For years, the historic homes on Monument Avenue and the Fan District have displayed gold and sometimes charcoal-colored historical markers that read “The Fan Area Historic District National Register of Historic Places,” which displays the year the home was erected and a silhouette of the Lee Monument.
But after months of social change and summer of protests, residents who live in the Fan have decided to do away with the Confederate iconography on their front steps.
Starting this month, the Fan Women’s Club president Christie Wisotzki says residents will have the option to replace the old Confederate plaques with a new design.
“We started talking about updating our plaques a few years ago, and it just really resonated with us when our neighbors were expressing their desire to change the image on the plaque,” said Wisotzki.
Since 1985, the Fan Women’s Club (FWC) has been offering the plaques to residents in the Fan on Stuart Avenue, Monument Avenue, the streets between Broad and Main, and between Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Harrison Street. The plaques on Monument Avenue have ‘Monument Avenue Historic District’ engraved on them, but are otherwise identical to the markers located on other streets.
Wisotzki says over 200 of the club’s 230 members narrowed the plaque design to four choices before finally selecting a Fan-inspired symbol to succeed the old Robert E. Lee design.
“It’s emblematic of the Fan and the neighborhood that we live in, and how the streets kind of go out in a Fan direction - which is where we get the name from,” said Wisotzki.
The FWC says the previous plaques were designed to highlight the date that the house was built and to acknowledge the role that the Fan home or building had in contributing to the area on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wisotzki says the FWC will not be forcing residents to remove or replace the current marker from their homes, nor will they be if they choose not to but are hoping that all residents will come to embrace the new design.
“The historical goal of the plaque is to represent the year that the home was built, and we would never want anyone to feel unwelcome due to an image on the plaque,” said Wisotzki. “We just want everyone to feel welcome and to feel that the Fan is a place for everyone.”
According to FWC, the plaques will cost $100. Residents can order a historic plaque HERE.
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