I knew Charlie Richmond, who died last week at 72, only slightly, but he made a big difference in preservation on both the north and south sides of town. Some knew him best for several preservation and construction projects in Old North, where he had worked to imaginatively preserve some almost-gone houses on East Scott and West Baxter.
About 10 years ago, Charlie and I spent a pretty fascinating afternoon around what was then known as the Rose Property, along the south-side clifftops. He carried Capt. Orlando Poe's 1863 map of fortifications and trenchwork, looking for features that aligned with Poe's precise drawings. He was convinced that many of the odd ripples in that woods, then threatened with development, were the scars of ancient war. Though part of the land he wanted to preserve was developed, his research contributed to the gathering interest in preserving the area now known as River Bluff, a 70-acre site destined to be an accessible park.
But he may be best remembered as the architect who led the preservation of the nearby Vestal landmark, the extraordinary 1923 marble building known as Candoro, which once a year hosts the popular Vestival. At the time of his death, he was president of the Candoro Arts & Heritage Center. His unexpected death is a loss to the city.