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Must-See RVA! — Victory Renovating Works

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.




AKA, Victory Rug Cleaning, Victory Apartments
407 South Cherry Street
Built, 1890
VDHR 127-0362

Mitosis! Sort of…

[RVCJ03] — original building

Though a minor industry here, perhaps, compared with tobacco, iron, fertilizers and etc., the Dyeing and Cleaning business merits remark, and taken in the aggregate is by no means small. There are about eight or ten concerns in it, not counting the smaller ones or the carpet cleaning business, in some cases associated with it.

(LOC) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 101 — showing ‘Victor Renovating Works’ — no one is perfect, right?

There is one house interesting as the highly successful venture of a lady. It has agents throughout Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, who forward work to it by express, delivery, after renovation, being effected in the same manner. This house is prepared for work in all departments, whether cleaning, dyeing, scouring or the dry process known as “French” cleaning.

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, June 27, 1909

Three of the ten houses referred to above have complete and modern plants. The smaller concerns often, are patrons of the larger. The bulk of the business is the cleaning and dyeing of apparel. Lately, however, there has grown up a very considerable carpet cleaning business. There are three concerns in that branch alone. One house makes fine mattresses also; another weaves rugs; a third does wall paper cleaning. [RVCJ03]

[RVCJ03] — W. J. Glasgow, proprietor

Uh, do any of these businesses have NAMES? Rocket Werks is just curious. And while City of Richmond dates the construction of the building as 1890, Englehardt states that the business was established in 1896. Unless this was used for another commercial facility (in Oregon Hill? Really?), one of these two is WRONG.

May 2018 — showing parapet medallion

In any event business for Victory must have been good. At some point after 1905, the building was expanded to include 409 South Cherry, doubling its size. While the new building generally mirrored its neighbor, and the parapet medallion was centered to cover both, 409 was considerably less detailed.

May 2018 — showing corbelling at 407 South Cherry

No attempt was made to mimic the decorative first floor pilasters, nor did 409 have the same rich, beautiful corbelling as the 407 facade. Pity.

The building was converted to residential space in 2013, and today goes by the Victory Apartments moniker. At the time, the proposed conversion met with resistance from the Oregon Hill neighborhood association. While their concerns were understandable, we are fortunate not to lose this hidden gem.

(Victory Renovating Works is part of the Atlas RVA Project)


  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.


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