Maggie Walker’s home has big $ impact on local tourism, economy

Nia Tariq | 5/31/2019, 6 a.m.
The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Richmond’s Jackson Ward contributed close to $900,000 in overall economic impact for ...
The National Park Service runs the Jackson Ward home of the late Maggie L. Walker, a Richmond businesswoman and national icon. Tours begin at the visitor center, 600 N. 2nd St. Photo by Regina H. Boone Richmond Free Press

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Richmond’s Jackson Ward contributed close to $900,000 in overall economic impact for Richmond last year, according to a new report by the National Park Service.

The home of the late iconic businesswoman and civil rights advocate, located at 110 ½ E. Leigh St. and run by the National Park Service, is a popular tourist destination.


Ms. Walker

Dr. Andrea DeKoter, chief of interpretation and education for both the Walker site and Richmond National Battlefield Park, told the Free Press that 10,961 visitors came to Mrs. Walker’s home in 2018. They spent $647,000 with surrounding businesses, she said, contributing to an estimated cumulative benefit to the local economy of $882,000 and supporting the creation of at least 10 jobs in the area.

Visitorship when combined with the Richmond National Battlefield Park installations totaled 210,306 in 2018, according to park service data, with visitors spending $12.4 million for lodging, restaurants, food and other purchases.

That overall spending supported 187 jobs locally and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $16.9 million, according to NPS officials.

“We are delighted to share the story of these special places and the experiences they provide,” Doyle Sapp, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site stated in a news release. “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. And it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.

“We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

Virginia’s senior U.S. senator in Washington, Sen. Mark R. Warner, visited the Maggie Walker house April 26. He is the lead sponsor of the Restore Our Parks Act, which seeks to address the $12 billion backlog in maintenance needs in the nation’s national parks.

His visit called attention to the legislation, which has bipartisan support, and the more than $700,000 in overdue maintenance needs at the Maggie L. Walker site.

Mrs. Walker’s home has been part of the National Park Service since 1978. Free tours of the home are available starting at the site’s visitors center, 600 N. 2nd St., which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday.