Encouraging preservation, restoration, and recreational development on monument avenue and the fan district in richmond, virginia

The Drew St. John Carneal Fund
The Drew St. John Carneal Fund was founded by the Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation to honor a remarkable champion of the Fan District.  The goal of the Fund is to ensure the continuation of the Fan District Historic Street Sign Project established by The Foundation in 2005.  The brown street signs were designed specifically for the character of the Fan streets loved by Drew and were intended to be used throughout the fan.  The Foundation will raise over $20,000 by the end of 2017 in order to help fund the Fan District Historic Street Sign Project and other projects in the fan.  This will ensure the replenishment of the inventory of historic signs both for current and future years.  The Foundation will use this inventory to replace damaged historic signs and prevent the City from installing standard green signs that impair the historic value of the neighborhood. 
The pre-eminent historian of the Fan District, Drew Carneal was a quiet, persistent force for improvement and neighborliness in the Fan.  Drew had a well-developed aesthetic sense; he loved art, he loved the houses of the Fan, but his love of the Fan grew out of his love, and his respect, for the people who chose to inhabit them.  He was an early president of the Fan District Association. He served on the boards of the Historic Richmond Foundation and the Valentine Museum. He became a director of the Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation and a member of the Richmond Commission of Architectural Review Board. He would go on to serve as a vice president of the Maymont Foundation.

Drew devoted much of his adult life to researching the homes of the Fan.  He published his research in 1996 as a 240-page book called “Richmond’s Fan District,” which the Fan District Association website calls the “definitive history” of the area. 

Like the great American poet Walt Whitman, Drew loved that, in a true semi-urban neighborhood like the Fan, citizens lived shoulder to shoulder; they solved problems together; they gained strength in numbers.  In his son Jack’s words: 

He loved that walking your dog with your better half down the median on Monument Avenue on a cooling fall afternoon, the scent of woodsmoke in the air, you might pass the artist whose art hung on your wall, and then you might pass the woman who owned the gallery and who sold you the art.  You might pass the doctor who’d just seen you in his office in your underpants, walking his bulldog, and soon afterwards be greeted by the dermatologist who’d just removed the mole from your back;  Dad loved that on this imaginary walk we’re now taking through the Fan that you might greet the architect who’d recently designed a large civic project and with whom you’d just shared a meal at a restaurant on the corner you’d just rounded, and then you might pass the editor of a local paper.  You might pass tattooed and pierced VCU students walking their rescued pit bulls; and then a few steps later you might stop and speak with the fellow attorneys and bankers and businessmen with whom you worked during the week. 

The greatest honor any of you could bestow on my father…would be to…take a walk through the Fan, or through Church Hill, through Maymont, or through any city or country in which you might find yourself, and to behold all that surrounds you. 

The Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation invites you to honor one of the Fan District’s finest by contributing to one of the neighborhood’s finest causes.  Please make your check out to Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation, c/o Sarah Porter, 1402 Park Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220.


Contact:         Agustin E. Rodriguez