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Barret House

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1844. 1980–present, restoration. 15 S. 5th St. Open upon request

Now the headquarters of the Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, this house is one of the finest Greek Revival dwellings in the city. Similar to its neighbor, the Scott-Clark House (1841; 9 South 5th Street), but larger, the house was built for William Barret, a tobacconist who at his death in 1870 was considered the richest citizen in town. The demure Ionic portico leads to a central hall, a curved and cantilevered stair, and a series of high-ceilinged rooms. Originally some of the rooms were frescoed. However, the major feature is the triple-tiered rear portico, which once afforded a panoramic view of downtown Richmond and the James River. The house was threatened with destruction in 1936, and Mary Wingfield Scott and her cousin, Elisabeth Scott Bocock, purchased it. They in turn passed it to the local AIA, which has carried out an extensive restoration program. Also on the lot is a carriage house that contained servants' quarters.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Barret House", [Richmond, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 217-218.

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