Tobacco and Trolleys: Industry and Transportation
Antebellum Architecture
Richmond's African American Heritage
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RICHMOND
Pace-King House

Pace King

Pace-King House
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development

 

Located in the Shockoe Valley and Tobacco Row Historic District, the Pace-King House is a rare survivor of the grand mansions built in Richmond just prior to the Civil War. Completed in 1860, the house is an important early example of the Italianate style in Richmond. The home gets its name from two of its occupants, James B. Pace in the 1870s and Mrs. Jane King in the 1880s and '90s. This Italianate mansion is of a grand scale with elaborate embellishment, such as its fine cornice, clearly designed to impress. Most notable is the festive cast iron porch, outstanding in a city already famous for its ironwork. The Philadelphia firm of Wood and Perot, who cast the 1857 James Monroe Tomb in Hollywood Cemetery, is the most likely maker. Other features of the property include a full-width two-story rear porch and a well-preserved kitchen quarter at the rear of the property. Built by black Africans, this auxiliary building is an important African American architectural resource.

Many personalities prominent in Richmond’s commercial and political history have associations with the house. It was originally home to Charles B. Hill, an active member of the local Democratic Party and a long-time alderman of the old Jefferson Ward. Mr. Hill made his living as an auctioneer, and his home was testament to his professional success. Mr. Hill died only two years after moving into the house. After his death, Philip K. White acquired it. A newspaper account from the late-19th century stated that for a time Charles G. Memminger, Secretary of the Confederate Treasury lived there, though Confederate archives do not list the house as an official address. Mr. Memminger may have been a guest of either Mr. Hill or Mr. White, until he found more permanent quarters. That same account reported that here “. . . some of the finest entertainments were given and most brilliant receptions held that distinguish the brief but brilliant days of ‘Dixie’.”

Mr. White died in 1865. James B. Pace, a prominent Richmond businessman, purchased the house at auction. Pace owned and operated the J. B. Pace Tobacco Company on nearby North 22nd Street. He was also a president of the Planters National Bank, one of the founders of the Virginia Trust Company, and a City Treasurer from 1905 until his death in 1920. In 1881, Pace sold the house to Mrs. Jane King, who ran a fuel company and wholesale and retail ice company that her late husband founded in 1856. She enlarged two of the house’s outbuildings for use in the ice business.

A series of three more owners, including the Richmond Methodist Missionary Association, held the property until 1975, when it became a tenement. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities owned it for a time before selling it to a private owner.

Plan your visit
The Pace-King House is located at 205 N. 19th St. It is a not open to the public.
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