If you call Richmond home, the name Maggie L. Walker should sound familiar. Her legacy lives on all around the city, and late this year there will be a new addition to the landmarks in her honor. Here at Chesapeake Bank, we’ve partnered with River City Ventures to finance renovations to the old St. Luke Building located at 900 St. James Street in Richmond.
“The St. Luke Building is an important reminder of the contributions Maggie Walker made both locally and nationally,” said Chesapeake Bank Richmond Regional Executive Frank Bell. “We’re especially excited to see the building renovated in her honor.”
The St. Luke Building is where Walker became the first woman in the country to open and serve as president of a chartered bank.
According to Richmond Biz Sense, the four-story building will be converted into a dozen one- and two-bedroom apartments above a 3,700-square-foot commercial space. Developer Charles Ayers Jr., plans to display an original office chair, personal safe and other items in the building to commemorate Walker.
Walker was a major public figure in her day, advocating for the rights of blacks in Richmond by educating and empowering the community through various organizations and initiatives. In 1902, Walker established The St. Luke Herald newspaper. The following year, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank which opened at the St. Luke Building in 1903.
Originally a grade school teacher, Walker earned both national and state recognition by serving as the leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke, a national fraternity and burial society. Her leadership increased the organization’s membership and helped it to achieve solvency. Walker was also on the board for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and an active member of the Virginia Interracial Commission. Her impeccable vision, relentless energy and dedication to civil rights was truly unmatched.
Maggie L. Walker’s St. Luke Building will be finished by the end of the year. Its completion will signify new housing for Richmonders and a reminder of the important history within our community.