The 4900 block of Evelyn Byrd Road: Charming period architecture, but the woodland setting ‘steals the show’ | Featured Real Estate Articles
Doug Childers/Homes Correspondent
Riverside Drive, which winds along the bluffs above the James River in south Richmond, has several residences so impressive and eye-catching that you’ll be as likely to admire them as you are to gaze at the scenic river below.
The 4900 block of Evelyn Byrd Road, which runs from Westover Hills Boulevard to Riverside Drive, offers a quieter appeal.
“Most of the houses are charming examples of 1920s, 30s and 40s architecture, but the sloping topography and gentle arc of the road leading to Riverside Drive steal the show and enhance the block,” Mimi said. Sadler, historical architect. and founder of Sadler & Whitehead Architects PLC.
In all, block 4900 has 18 houses, built from 1924 to 1969 on fairly large lots – up to just over half an acre. Today the block is filled with mature trees and shrubs, giving it a woodland character.
Most homes are modest in size, compared to the larger properties around the corner from Riverside Drive. Home sizes range from approximately 1,500 to 3,000 square feet. Their architectural styles are very varied, which is not surprising given the range of construction dates.
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“Like many neighborhoods of the era, examples of the Colonial Revival style dominate the block, but there are also charming Tudors,” Sadler said.
Among the stars is the Colonial Revival house at 4910 Evelyn Byrd Road. Built in 1924 for William Jones, who specialized in labor relations for the C&O Railway, it is the oldest house in the district. “He’s been in the same family from the start,” Sadler said. “Amazingly it has a fireproof attached garage which was really rare in the 1920’s.”
While many of the block’s early homes were custom-built, its later post-war homes – including several Capes and Ranches – were custom-built. The block’s single-story split-level – built in 1969 at 4920 Evelyn Byrd Road – is the stylistic outlier.
With all this variety, the block is a representative slice of the Westover Hills neighborhood that surrounds it. “His mix of home styles, building materials and construction dates is common in Westover Hills,” said Tim Schoenman, realtor at Long & Foster and resident of Riverside Drive.
Not that the whole 4900 block is actually in Westover Hills. The northern half is part of the River Hill Subdivision, which was developed concurrently with Westover Hills. A 1920s map of Westover Hills shows River Hill laid out with 51 individual lots. Even today, residents of the subdivision identify their neighborhood as distinct from Westover Hills.
It’s a small but exclusive club, and it’s not easy to join, especially if you’re hoping to move to the 4900 block of Evelyn Byrd Road.
“There has only been one sell off on this block in the past 12 months,” Schoenman said. “The house at 4914 Evelyn Byrd Road sold for $510,000. Homes rarely come on the market, and when they do, they usually sell for the asking price or above.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the block’s peaceful setting and proximity to the Buttermilk Trail and Forest Hill Park are key attractions for shoppers looking for a relaxed lifestyle that offers plenty of options for outdoor recreation, he added.
Editor’s Note: This is an episode of the “Top Blocks” series, which examines individual city blocks that have historical or architectural significance.