Civil War  |  Historic Site

Adams-Van Lew House

Virginia

East Grace St and N 24th Street
Richmond, VA 23223
United States

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A black and white photogrph of the Adams-Van Lew House
Adams-Van Lew House Richmond, Va. Library of Congress

Richmond mayor Dr. John Adams built a mansion here in 1802. It became the residence of Elizabeth Van Lew (1818–1900) whose father obtained it in 1836. During the Civil War, Elizabeth Van Lew led a Union espionage operation. African Americans, such as Van Lew's associate Mary Jane Richards (whose story closely parallels that of legendary spy Mary Elizabeth Bowser), served in Richmond's Unionist underground. Van Lew served as postmaster of Richmond from 1869 to 1877. Maggie Lena Walker, nationally known African American businesswoman, banker, and leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke, was born here by 1867. The house was razed in 1911 and in 1912 the Bellevue School was erected in its place.

Marker: SA-69, Department of Historic Resources (2005)