The Lost Northside Home of Magnate and Philanthropist Lewis Ginter
While many may think that Lewis Ginter, the namesake for the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, lived in the home on-site called Bloemendaal House, he actually lived in fashionable Northside in his home, Westbrook, on Westbrook Avenue.
Built in 1815 and expanded in the mid-1880s, Westbrook reflected the grandeur that had come to personify all of Lewis Ginter’s endeavors. Ginter House on Franklin Street, The Jefferson Hotel, and the Ginter Park neighborhood are all architectural gifts he made to the city of Richmond.
Westbrook was an old plantation that Ginter transformed into a Queen Anne mansion with the help of Edgerton Stewart Rogers, the architect who also designed Maymont for James H. Dooley. The house included many unusual amenities such as its own barbershop and a single-lane bowling alley.
Wisely, Ginter insured Westbrook with Mutual Assurance Society in 1894, shortly before his death in 1897. Soon thereafter, Westbrook was converted into a sanatorium (1911), a private institution with 135 beds. This gives you a good idea of the size of the home when Ginter lived there.
Westbrook was torn down after the Sanitorium moved to newer, larger digs, and Westminster Canterbury, a senior living facility, was built in its place.
The original policy taken out by Lewis Ginter can be found in the archives at the Library of Virginia.