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RVA Legends — T. J. King Company’s Seed House

A look into the history of Richmond places and people that have disappeared from our landscape.

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1600 East Franklin Street
Built, before 1877
Demolished, circa 1901

Okay, someone’s got some ‘splainin to do.

(LOC) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877 — Plate L — 1600 East Franklin showing ownership by Mrs. Carrington

A growing line, one to be remarked on account of its development lately, is the Nursery Business, the floral branch of it especially. In the immediate vicinity of Richmond there are half a dozen flower growers and two concerns cultivating trees, plants and ornamental growths. The seed trade also has its representation. All the greenhouses included it is estimated that there are about 350,000 to 400,000 feet area under glass. Richmond is a liberal buyer of flowers, particularly at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 4 — 1600 East Franklin 12 years later

The fall chrysanthemum trade is large. Besides the home trade nearly as much business is done outside the city, in this State and in North Carolina particularly. Lynchburg, Norfolk and Raleigh are supplied from here largely. The cultivation of choice varieties of flowers, as a specialty, is extensively pursued. Several of the flower growers have won fame in the trade with their products, in violets, roses, carnations and dahlias particularly. The cut flower business supports a number of stores that buy from the growers.

(LOC) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 19 — 1600 East Franklin 12 years later showing empty lot

Winter is, of course, the harvest time of the florists. Greenhouses are a conspicuous feature of the landscape along the roads in nearly all the suburbs of the city. Besides those of the regular growers (one of which, at least, is a show place of the city), there are a number of very fine private establishments of this nature. Hedges are common and the climate is one unfavorable to such flowers and plants as flourish in the open. [RVCJ03]

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — 1600 East Franklin is hidden by the train shed at center

So what’s the problem? The Chamber of Commerce book Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James, published in 1903, clearly depicts T. J. King’s seed house standing at 1600 East Franklin. Unfortunately, the C & O Railroad depot, also known as Main Street Station, was built in 1901. The Sanborn map above, showing an empty lot, was published in 1905.

February 2019 — 1600 East Franklin Street today

The picture from Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James shows an empty lot to the left of the seed house, while the Beers and Baist maps clearly show other structures present. Perhaps T. J. King tried to stick it out where he was rather than move, but it appears he only delayed the inevitable. By 1905, the building was gone.

(T. J. King Company’s Seed House is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Sources

  • [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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Photos: Faces of a Parade

We took some traditional parade photos but have decided to go a little more intimate and focus on the faces you see during the Dominion Christmas Parade.

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Downtown

Virginia launches expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and New York City

The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

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Recently, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary Valentine joined DRPT and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) to launch expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and cities along the Northeast corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

The new train is the first expansion of service under Governor Northam’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program to significantly expand rail infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. The event ended with a ribbon-cutting and the inaugural train heading out of Main Street Station at 5:35 am with the Governor, state officials, and DRPT/VPRA staff on board. Early ridership numbers indicate healthy demand for the extended service.

The Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative is already receiving recognition throughout the country for its role in changing the future of transportation. At the District of Columbia’s Committee of 100’s bi-annual award ceremony, DRPT received a 2021 Vision Award recognizing the Transforming Rail in Virginia Program. Director Jennifer Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of DRPT, Governor Northam, and the Virginia General Assembly.

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Community

Shockoe Illuminates Throws the Switch Tonight

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Shockoe Illuminates will be Dec. 3rd at the 17th Street Market. They’ll have local artisans with one-of-a-kind presents, boozy hot drinks provided by amazing restaurants, kids activities, carolers, roller skating, and more! Loads of information at the 17th Street Market Facebook.

 

Did you catch that there is roller skating?

We don’t need ice to have fun and skate! During Shockoe Illuminates on Dec. 3rd you can roller skate and then come back all weekend for more fun! $10 to rent skates or bring your own.
  • 12/3 5:00-9:00
  • 12/4 4:00-8:00
  • 12/5 3:00-7:00

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