I was wondering if you had any information on the two large lions on pedestals on Pritchard Place at Carrollton Avenue. Can you tell me when they were placed there and why? Who was Pritchard anyway?
The Pritchard Place subdivision was developed in 1913 and was so named because it was an extension of Pritchard Street, which already existed. Pritchard Street was named for R.O. Pritchard, a businessman who developed the luxurious Verandah Hotel in 1838 on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Common Street. The hotel cost $300,000 to build; it was destroyed by fire in 1855.
A large ad in the newspaper in 1913 advertised the Pritchard Place neighborhood and showed a picture of the lions that would be placed at the front entrance to guard it. The Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company was contracted to carve the lions from Bedford stone.
Residential development had taken off in the Carrollton area, and the developers of Pritchard Place, the Hopkins-Rhodes Company, described it as an "ideal location for your home within easy access to the best car line in the city and only fifteen minutes from Canal Street."
About 15 years later the lions of Pritchard Place were famous, at least locally. Folks who had cars loved a Sunday drive, and the newspaper ran an article suggesting places to go on drives around the city. The lions were on the list. They were in the paper again in 1930, but this time they were portrayed as "extreme traffic menaces." The article pointed out that when the lions were placed on their pedestals, there were so few automobiles that no thought was given to a potential traffic problem. However, drivers emerging from Pritchard Place in 1930 were at risk when they tried to turn onto Carrollton Avenue because the giant lions blocked the view of oncoming traffic. Accidents had occurred, with one near fatality.
In 1999, a car crashed into one of the lions and knocked it onto the sidewalk. After much "roaring" from the folks in the neighborhood, then-state Rep. Alex Heaton and Sheriff Charles Foti restored the lion to its pedestal.