It feels like there are about a million and a half projects going on in Richmond right now, doesn’t it? We’ve got giant rings coming to the riverfront, bikelanes spiderwebbing their way across the city, and a hellacious cement public space retrofit with the semblance of a Terran atmosphere. These things make the city a better place to live for sure.
But what about all the little, small-scale neighborhood nuisances? Stuff like the intersection near your house with no crosswalks, the road on the way to work without a bike lane, basically all of Scott’s Addition and its lack of sidewalks. No one person could keep track of all the millions of tiny things that need to be fixed—and I say that as a guy who spends his free time voluntarily putting stuff like that into his brain! It’s all very unfortunate because these small things make a practical difference to the lives of folks living nearby.
What we need is, to borrow a term from the productivity world, an external brain—a place where we can collectively document the shitty things in our neighborhoods that bother us.
So, without further ado, I’m exited to introduce This Dang Wiki: A Place Where We Can Collectively Document the Shitty Things in our Neighborhoods that Bother Us.
I’m still working on that tag line, but something like this probably better: The Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Richmond Urbanism.
This is a place for folks/nerds who care about the city to document what needs fixing in their neighborhoods, brainstorm solutions, and find effective strategies to get those solutions implemented. If this project interests you, there are a couple of ways that you can get involved:
- Add stuff! What bugs you about your neighborhood? What makes you feel unsafe? Add it to the wiki!
- Make things look pretty! There are folks out there in the world who love nothing more than to format things to make them look beautiful. If you’d like to do that, more power to you!
- Document! Go out, grab some pics, take some measurements, plot Scott’s Addition’s missing sidewalks on a Google map. Then make sure to dump all that info into the wiki!
- Find primary source material! What ordinances, studies, and master plans relate to the topic at hand? What laws will limit the scope of a solution? If you are a master of PDFs, this is the job for you.
Don’t worry too much about doing things “the right way.” For the moment, there isn’t really a right way—that’s for us to figure out as we go a long. So go forth, sign up, and let’s build an encyclopedia of small-scale Richmond urbanism!
This Dang City is a Ross Catrow and Susan Howson jam that they’re willing to share. Enjoy.
Must-See RVA! — Cokesbury Building
A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.
- 415 East Grace Street
- Built, 1921
- Architects, Carneal & Johnston
Once there was this trendy little bookstore in the heart of the downtown shopping district.
This building was built for the Methodist Publishing House and designed by Garnett & Johnston. Its design clearly is related to the Mosby Store at the corner of Jefferson and Broad Streets, by Starrett & Van Vleck.
That design was, in turn, related to McKim, Mead & White’s Gorham Building in New York, a modernized version of an Italianate palazzo with an arcade at the base of the building and a heavy projecting cornice at the roof.
This design was felt to be a particularly successful blending of traditional and modern features, most appropriate for a modern shop.
The Cokesbury Building is designed carefully and well detailed. The first floor arcade was glazed fully, but is now closed partially.
The interior vaulted ceilings have been removed, but the building is otherwise well preserved. The reason for the popularity of this building type is seen easily. It is simple, dignified and impressive. [ADR]
The Cokesbury Building, with the Cokesbury Bookstore on the first floor, was an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Book Concern. Created in 1789, this organization was established to religious materials for the Methodist church. It would eventually expand to include books and religious supplies and rebranded as the Cokesbury Press in 1925. By 2012, there would be 57 Cokesbury Book Stores nationwide, one of which used to be on Grace Street.
But in that same year, Cokesbury announced the closure of their brick-and-mortar stores, and today they’re online only. The Grace Street location had long been abandoned by that point, having relocated to Tuckernuck Square shopping center in 1992. A loss, really. They were more than just religious books and often had unusual or hard to find titles, back in the days before Amazon.
Today, it’s the Cokesbury Building Apartments.
(Cokesbury Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)
- [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert Winthrop. 1982.
Must-See RVA! is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!
Suspects Sought in Credit Card Fraud
Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individuals in the attached photo, who are suspected of using a stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases last week.
On Monday, March 30, the victim was notified that their card had been used at the Farm Fresh located in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Surveillance footage shows two females buying food and cigarettes worth over $400 with the victim’s card. They were last seen leaving the store in a silver convertible with a black top. A photo of the vehicle is attached.
Detectives determined the card was also used at the McDonald’s located in the 1800 block of East Broad Street.
Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call First Precinct Detective J. Mitchell at (804) 646-0569 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
Billy Jack’s Shack Closing for Good
Unfortunately, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be writing about a restaurant not being able to re-open.
Billy Jack’s Shack the local spin-off of the Westend’s Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint at 5810 Grove Ave. will not survive the economic downturn of COVID-19. According to this Richmond BizSense.com article on the closure, Jack Brown’s is doing alright for now considering the situation.
Owners Jason Owenby, Mike Sabin, and Aaron Ludwig made the announcement on Billy Jack’s Shack Facebook.
It is with heavy hearts that we make the unfortunate announcement that Billy Jack’s RVA will be closing down permanently. While our time here was brief, the relationships and memories we’ve made are eternal. We appreciate everything that y’all have done for us, especially those of you in the Bone Club. These are difficult times for everyone involved and if you would like to support some of our staff who are now facing employment uncertainty, please feel free to donate at the link below. We can not properly express how much this decision pains us and how bad we are going to miss everyone. Please message with any further questions and stay tuned to our Instagram page for some trips down memory lane