Ethel Bailey Furman House

Historical Significance

Ethel Bailey Furman, born in 1893, is identified by the Library of Virginia as the first female African-American architect in Virginia and is one of Richmond's lesser known but highly influential architects. Furman's father, Madison J. Bailey was the second black contractor to be licensed in Richmond. As a child Furman accompanied her father to client sites, becoming acquainted with building sites, construction methods, and architecture. Later, Furman attended Armstrong High School and received architectural training in New York and later at the Chicago Technical College.

Furman completed over 200 architectural commissions within the historic Church Hill Community, most of which have since been destroyed. Some of her most significant surviving works are an educational wing for the Fourth Baptist Church on Q Street, built in the International style; the baptistery addition to Cedar Street Memorial Baptist Church, located at 2301 Cedar Street; and the St. James Holiness Church at 16 East 28th Street.

Furman was active in the Richmond community; she received the Walter Manning Citizenship Award and was named to the Richmond Afro-American's Community Honor Roll in 1954 and 1959. In 1985, a small city park was dedicated to her memory at 28th and M street, near the site of her home and office.

Physical Description

The house exhibits a Queen Anne style tower and pylon porch supports. Designed by Madison Bailey, the structure was used as a home and office for both Furman and Bailey.

Geographical and Contact Information

3025 Q Street
Richmond, Virginia

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Ethel Bailey Furman House,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 22, 2019,

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