AKA, Virginia Fire & Marine Insurance Company; Branch, Cabell & Co.
1015 East Main Street
Architect, George Johnson
A building so tall and skinny, you have to see it in sections.
The building was erected to house the Virginia Fire and Marine Insurance Company and served as their headquarters until 1953 when it was sold to Branch and Company.
The street level portion of the facade consists of a four-bay arcade composed of free-standing Corinthian columns on pedestals, supporting semicircular arches. The arcade forms a screen across a split in levels in the lower portion of the building. In the western-most bay of the arcade a flight of steps ascends to the door of the first floor, while in the other three bays steps descend to the are and to the entrance to the lower level.
Behind the arcade, the arch motif is repeated in architectural features which form the front wall of the first floor and the lower level which are executed in wood, while those of the arcade itself are in cast iron. This arcade supports a full Corinthian entablature which forms the pedestal base of the second floor.
The four bays of the second floor are separated by single engaged Corinthian column with Corinthian pilasters at the edges of the facade. The engaged columns of the second floor support an engaged balustrade which forms the pedestal for the engaged columns between the bays of the third floor. The space between the third and fourth floor is also in the form of an engaged balustrade.
Crowning the facade is a large, full Corinthian entablature with a relatively thin architrave and a wide frieze. The frieze is ornamented with four rosettes; the cornice features modillions, dentils and eggs and darts. (VDHR)
The architect, George H. Johnson, received $595 for plans, specifications, and super-intendence. Baltimore’s Hayward Bartlett Foundry received $5314 for the front itself. The building cost $31,263. Johnson was an Englishman who had come to the United States and worked for one of New York’s most important ironworks, that of Daniel Badger, where he designed fronts. His Richmond work is distinguished. The cast iron was intended to look like stone. [ADR]
Architectural historian Robert Winthrop calls this the finest of Richmond’s ironfronts, and you’d be hard pressed to argue with him. Taken as a whole, the rich detail is stunning.
(Branch Building is a 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.
Must-See RVA! is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!
Businesses Unite to Bring Change to Monument Avenue
“We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.”
The Monument Commitment is a pledge by Richmond employers to work for change not only along Monument Avenue but in the community.
RVAHub is proud to stand with the businesses below.
If you would like to learn how to add your organization to this commitment email: [email protected]
The pledge reads:
Governor Northam, Mayor Stoney, City Council Members:
We are employers of the Richmond community.
We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.
We ask that you commit to support the respectful removal of all the confederate monuments on Monument Avenue in coming months, and do not repair – other than for public safety – the monuments as they currently stand.
For our part, we commit to confronting racism in our organizations and supporting you in eradicating systemic racism in our community.
It is time to take them all down.
Please note we created this post on Friday morning and since businesses are being added constantly some businesses might not be on the list above. This is not a statement against those businesses just an inability to keep up. This link will give you the most current list of those that have made the commitment.
Wayback RVA — Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank
A Then & Now photo essay of Richmond places from around the area.
The Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics
Savings Bank, Mr. Jno. Mitchell Jr., Pres.
- Souvenir Views Negro Enterprises and Residences, Richmond, Va. D. A. Ferguson & Co. 1907.
- Richmond Planet masthead.
- Logo, Order of the Knights of Pythias.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 3.
- [RTD] John Mitchell Jr. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Michael Paul Williams February 21, 1996.
- 311 North Fourth Street.
John Mitchell Jr. was aptly described as “a man who would walk into the jaws of death to serve his race.” Mitchell – newspaper editor, entrepreneur, city councilman and candidate for governor – was one of the most respected black leaders of his day. [RTD]
A fascinating individual. The Shockoe Examiner has an interesting post from 2012 about Mitchell’s grave in Evergreen Cemetery. Alas for the old bank building, it’s former location now rests under the Richmond Convention Center.
(Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)
Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End
No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.
A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.
We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!
Here he is in town.