Located in Jackson Ward, a recognized National Historical Landmark in the city of Richmond, The Hippodrome Theater and the Taylor Mansion are the centerpieces of the latest project to return this area to its legendary prominence. This historic neighborhood was the center of African American commerce and entertainment in the early 1900s, garnering the nickname “Harlem of the South”.
The famed Second Street, known as “The Deuce”, was a bustling hot spot of performance venues including the same Hippodrome Theater that stands today. Built in 1914 as a vaudeville and movie theater, it later became a celebrated musical locale attracting such legendary greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway – just to name a few.
Rich in cultural development, Jackson Ward was home to many influential people, including Maggie Walker, the first woman to charter and serve as president of an American bank, and Rev. William Lee Taylor, president of The United Order of True Reformers.
Taylor’s private home, originally built in 1907 by renowned architect John Lankford, has now been beautifully revitalized into the adjacent restaurant, The Speakeasy Grill, specializing in Southeastern Cuisine.