From the Richmond Times, 7/18/1901, p. 5, c. 4
TO BEAUTIFY THE GROUNDS.
Virginia Club to Have a Lovely Home in the Van Lew Property.
The Virginia Club expect to have their new home, in the Van Lew house, ready for them by September the 1st.
The grounds, from which there is a magnificent prospect over the river and across the flats of Chesterfield, will need attention before the club is satisfied with them. A landscape architect will be employed, and the great natural beauty of the grounds will be much increased by various improvement.
Special attention will be given to the trees and shrubbery, of which there is a great profusion. Several of the trees, it is said, are worth, as they stand, five hundred dollars apiece, one in particular – a large black walnut – being especially fine.
It is probable that the alum spring, on the Franklin-Street side of the yard, will be forced up by a ram to supply water to the house.
Before the club took over the property, the grounds were overrun with grass and bushes, almost like an untouched woodland. The walks were covered, the growth of years, and the underbrush had grown so thick that it afforded shelter for game. The other day, when the workmen began clearing up the grass and bushes a “molly cotton tail” popped out from cover and scurried off.
When asked about the improvements to the inside of the house, Mr. Edgar Fergusson, the chairman of the Building Committee, said they preferred not to say anything for the present. A week or two hence, when something had been done, would be time enough for that.
The Building Committee consists of Messrs. Edgar Fergusson (chairman), John Adams, J. R. Charlton, president of the club, and Julian Bryant.