First Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory

Richmond (Ind. City)

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NHL Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

Constructed in 1895 in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood, the First Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory, featuring brick towers and crenellation along the roof parapet, was built for an African American militia unit and is now the oldest of three identified black-affiliated armories in the U.S. It also is one of only two surviving armories in Richmond (along with the Blues Armory), where five such crenellated buildings once existed. After the black militia company who used it disbanded in 1899, the building housed the Monroe School for African American children from 1903 until World War II, when it was converted to a reception center for the thousands of black soldiers who passed though its doors between 1942-45.  After World War II, the First Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory (also known as the Leigh Street Armory) reverted to use as an educational facility, serving as the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Photo credit: Calder Loth, 2022

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