From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/12/1907, p. 10, c. 6
BALLARD HOUSE SOLD FOR TAXES
Famous Hostelry, Where Prince of Wales Was Entertained, Brings $12,500.
Under a decree of the Chancery Court the old Ballard Hotel property, at the corner of Fourteenth and Franklin Streets, once the most fashionable hostelry in the South Atlantic States, was sold at public auction yesterday morning. The property was bought by Mr. John A Lancaster for the Citizens’ Relief Association, the financial arm of the Associated Charities of the city, for $12,500. The building will continue to be used as the home of the Associated Charities, having rooms assigned to the work of the Baptist Central Neighborhood House, the white tuberculosis dispensary of the City Board of Health, and carious of the subsidiary agencies of the Associated Charities, which will continue to use a considerable part of the property.
Some portions of the building, including some rear buildings on the alley, will be rented for sufficient income to carry the interest on the investment.
The Ballard House was completed in 1857, the fancy iron work front being the product of the Tredegar Company, of this city. When built the house was considered a model of the latest hotel equipment, outrivaling the older Exchange Hotel, which stood opposite, until the two were combined under one management with a bridge between. In 1858, when the Prince of Wales, with a distinguished suite of English nobility, spent some days in Richmond, he was given rooms on the second floor of the Ballard House, the chamber occupied by the present King of England being the corner room on the second floor, a room which was at that time handsomely frescoed, and which was ornamented with an elaborate chandelier. The Exchange and Ballard Houses became less popular with the decline of the neighborhood, and some years since the Exchange was torn down and a wholesale warehouse erected on the site. The Ballard has not been used for hotel purposes for many years.
Its affairs have been for many years in the courts, its owners having given a mortgage to the Universal Life Insurance Company shortly after the war. This insurance company failed in the seventies, leaving the Ballard House as one of their principal assets.
The present sale was to wind up the affairs of that company, and to settle with the city and State for years of back taxes, which the trustees of the defunct insurance company have been unable to pay.
A considerable gathering attended the sale, and while the price was considered a fair one for the neighborhood, it was generally said that for the purposes of the Associated Charities and their possible industrial development, the plant was an ideal one, and could not be duplicated at many times the cost.