High-Rise for the Elderly

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


In the City of Richmond, the eleven-story, 200-unit High-Rise for the Elderly, also known as the Frederic A. Fay Towers, is representative of the impacts of the Housing Act of 1959, which extended and amended laws relating to the provision and improvement of housing and the renewal of urban communities, and later authorized direct federal loans for private nonprofits to develop rental housing for senior citizens. In line with this nationwide focus to provide low-income housing for the elderly, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority constructed the High-Rise for the Elderly as its first purpose-built residential tower for senior citizens in 1971. Completed in the International style, the building is located within the larger public housing complex known as Gilpin Court in the city’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. Smaller-scale multi-family housing surround the building and its associated landscape, which were designed by prominent Virginia architect E. Tucker Carlton and landscape architect Kenneth R. Higgins, respectively. Equipped with elevators, an emergency alert system in each unit, a ground-floor mailroom, laundry area, a trash shoot on each floor, a lounge, and a cafeteria, the building provided senior residents increased accessibility, safety, and activities that increased overall quality of life. Residents were asked to form a “buddy system” so they could check in on each other periodically. The RRHA also offered additional services, such as transportation to nearby markets, and hosted group activities in the High-Rise for the Elderly’s common areas.

Last Updated: February 16, 2024

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

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