State Historical Marker for Mary Wingfield Scott to Be Dedicated in Richmond

Published April 19, 2023

Virginia Department of Historic Resources
(dhr.virginia.gov)
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2023

Contact:
Ivy Tan
Department of Historic Resources
Marketing & Communications Manager
ivy.tan@dhr.virginia.gov
804-482-6445

—The marker recalls the work of Mary Wingfield Scott (1895-1983), a pioneering historic preservationist in the City of Richmond—

RICHMOND – A state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) will be dedicated highlighting Mary Wingfield Scott, the historic preservationist and architectural historian best known for her work to protect and restore Linden Row in the City of Richmond.

A public dedication ceremony for the marker will be held Monday, April 24, starting at 9:30 a.m., at the marker’s location near Linden Row Inn on 100 E. Franklin Street in Richmond (23219). A reception and tour of Linden Row will proceed following the ceremony’s conclusion. The event is free and open to members of the public. Guests can register online for the event here.

Mary Wingfield Scott was born in Richmond on July 30, 1895, to James Hamilton Scott and Mary Wingfield Scott. Her travels to Europe and New Orleans, Louisiana, in particular, inspired her interest in historic preservation. She received a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago and published her dissertation, Art and Artists in Balzac's Comédie Humaine, in 1936. Wingfield Scott became one of the founders of the William Byrd Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (later Preservation Virginia) in 1935. Throughout her professional career, she researched and documented Richmond’s historic buildings using primary sources, such as deeds, newspaper articles, and insurance policies, to advocate for the protection and adaptive reuse – as opposed to demolition – of the city’s aging buildings.

Between 1950 and 1957, Wingfield Scott purchased a row of seven historic houses, known as Linden Row, in Richmond to ensure that the houses would be preserved and rehabilitated for use. In 1971, the Commonwealth of Virginia designated Linden Row as a historic state landmark, and in that same year, the National Park Service included the houses in the National Register of Historic Places. Wingfield Scott gifted Linden Row to the Historic Richmond Foundation in 1980. She died three years later in 1983 and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Today, the houses have been restored to comprise the Linden Row Inn.

The historical marker dedication for Mary Wingfield Scott is presented by DHR, Preservation Virginia, Historic Richmond, and Linden Row Inn. Representatives from each organizing group will make brief remarks during the dedication ceremony.

The marker was approved for manufacture and installation in 2022 by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, which is authorized to designate new state historical markers. DHR, the marker’s sponsor, will cover its manufacturing costs.

Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,600 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority.

PLEASE NOTE: DHR markers are erected not to “honor” their subjects but rather to educate and inform the public about a person, place, or event of regional, state, or national importance. In this regard, markers are not memorials.

 

Text of the marker:

Mary Wingfield Scott (1895-1983)
Mary Wingfield Scott is credited with transforming historic preservation in Richmond, her native city. Having earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago, she brought a scholarly approach to the field. She helped found the William Byrd Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (later Preservation Virginia) in 1935, documented Richmond’s historic buildings, and advocated for their protection and adaptive reuse, inspiring generations of preservationists. She also gave lectures, published books and articles, and led tours of historic neighborhoods. Scott bought and restored seven houses here at Linden Row.

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