The boulevard memorializes George Washington's mother, Mary Ball Washington; its original name was Mary Washington Avenue. When she died in 1789, she was buried at her request on Kenmore's grounds, on a site that would later be adjacent to Washington Avenue. Outcry over a proposed removal of her grave in 1889 led to the establishment of a memorial commission, which completed a monument in 1894. Contemporaneously, a development company purchased a large tract of land from the owners of Kenmore and subdivided it for houses. Together, the city, the memorial association, and the development company laid out a 150-foot-wide avenue with parallel roadways and center grass plots. It provided an entrance and protection for Kenmore, and Washington Avenue became Fredericksburg's answer to Monument Avenue in Richmond: the street of power, a center of conspicuous residential building, exhibiting a rich panoply of styles. The various monuments memorialize aspects of Virginia history.
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