First Statues, Now Homes

The rapacious purge of all things Southern continues as the Union Presbyterian Seminary demolishes one of the oldest homes in Virginia to atone for slavery and to cleanse the land of the memory of a man who inhabited it:

The 230-year-old McGuire Cottage, one of Northside’s oldest homes, is no longer standing due to what its owner, Union Presbyterian Seminary, claims is “repentance” for the benefit the seminary received from the labor of enslaved persons. The house was once home to a Confederate surgeon – also cited as a reason for demolition – though the seminary says it has no plans for the tract of land on which the house stood.

Dr. McGuire was General Stonewall Jackson’s Corps Surgeon, and he treated General Jackson after the First Battle of Manassas and was the man who amputated General Jackson’s arm after Chancellorsville.

Dr McGuire continued to have a long and illustrious career:

After the war McGuire contributed to the first of the Geneva Conventions, which is why the Boston Medical Journal said in his obituary that he had “humanized war.”

After the Civil War ended in April 1865, Dr. McGuire returned to Richmond, Virginia, where he became chair of surgery at the Medical College of Virginia. He married Mary Stuart of Staunton, Virginia, in 1867. They had ten children, many of whom followed in his footsteps into medicine, notably Dr. Stuart McGuire. They maintained a summer residence just west of Richmond in Bon Air.

Dr. McGuire was president of the American Medical Association and numerous other organizations. He has been described as a brilliant administrator and a gifted teacher and orator, and he also wrote prolifically.

He founded St. Luke’s Hospital and Training School for Nurses, helped found the Medical Society of Virginia, and in 1893 he started the College of Physicians and Surgeons, later University College of Medicine.

American sculptor William Couper immortalized Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire with a statue, placed on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol in 1904, two blocks from his beloved hospital. The inscription upon it reads: Hunter Holmes McGuire, M.D., L.L.D. President of the American Medical and of the American Surgical Associations; Founder of the University College of Medicine Medical Director, Jackson’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, An Eminent Civil and Military Surgeon and Beloved Physician. An Able Teacher and Vigorous Writer; A Useful Citizen and Broad Humanitarian, Gifted in Mind and Generous in Heart, This Monument is Erected by his Many Friends.

In 1913 his University College of Medicine became part of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). McGuire Hall was named in his honor at that time. The following year, his son Dr. Stuart McGuire was named president of the combined institution, a leading medical center. In 1968 MCV became part of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center in Richmond was also named in his honor. It was the first VA hospital to perform heart transplants. The McGuire VA Hospital, as it is known locally, has a full range of health care services ranging from comprehensive outpatient care to complex inpatient services such as heart, liver, and lung transplantation, and care of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. The medical center has 427 operating beds, which includes acute care, spinal cord injury, mental health services, and a skilled nursing home. Dr. McGuire’s great grandson and namesake, Hunter Holmes McGuire Jr., while professor of surgery in VCU, served from 1976 to 2000 as chief of surgical service in the McGuire VA Medical Center and president of the Association of VA Surgeons.

While the progressive policies of today were clearly motivations for destroying the historic home, big business and woke ideology have clearly merged into an all-consuming behemoth. Historic homes, unless they be very famous, make no money, and one would be foolish not to follow where the paper-trail leads:

Union has said it has no plans to build more apartments on the tract, about half of which it sold to Bristol Development Group for the Canopy apartments. Completed last spring, the 301-unit complex was sold last month for nearly $84 million to Henrico-based real estate firm Capital Square.

The writers of the articles are clearly sympathetic to the purges of Confederate imagery and history, as the second article even declares that “Despite its Confederate past, Westwood was considered historically significant by preservation groups such as Historic Richmond, which had put the house on its list of at-risk properties in light of Union’s interest in developing the neighboring apartments.” (Emphasis added).

One wonders why Confederate history is unworthy of being “historically significant.” To them, Southerners’ love for the era is not only bad history, but it’s not even history at all. Which makes one wonder why anyone has to atone for anything if the time was not “historically significant.”

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