Must-See RVA! — Yarbrough-Pohlig Factory

Must-See RVA! — Yarbrough-Pohlig Factory

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

April 2019 — looking toward 2411 East Franklin Street

AKA Pohlig Box Company, A. Pohlig Paper Box Factory, Pohlig Bros. Inc, Turpin & Yarborough Tobacco Company, Turpin Factory Hospital, Yarborough Factory Hospital, & Second Alabama Hospital
2411 East Franklin Street
Built, 1853
Architect, John Freeman

What’s in a name, right?

On this site in 1853 Turpin & Yarborough Tobacco Company constructed parts of this building as a tobacco factory, one of five tobacco factories in Richmond at the time. (Pohlig Box Factory)

(Library of Congress) — undated photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

When the Civil War began in 1861, it was rented by at a rate of $250 a month for use as an Alabama hospital.

The building was well ventilated, fitted with gas and water, and had a small yard that was opposite the cemetery of St. John’s Church. A two-story wing was attached to the main building and a storage room, laundry-facilities, deadhouse, and privies were located in the yard.

(Alabama Department of Archives & History) — Juliet Opie Hopkins

Mrs. Juliet O. Hopkins, wife of Judge Arthur F. Hopkins was the guiding force behind finding accommodations for sick and wounded Alabamians in Richmond, Initially many were sent to a division of Chimborazo, but by the end of 1861, Mrs. Hopkins had established two Alabama hospitals in the city.

[ORN]

Even before the hospitals were in operation, she oversaw both the recruitment and training of nurses and the operation of a warehouse that served as a receiving and distribution center for the donations she solicited from the people of Alabama. This tireless woman rented the buildings, hired and sometimes paid the attendants, and purchase the supplies and provisions necessary for operating the hospitals. Before the opening campaign of 1862, she established yet another hospital to care for the ever-increasing numbers of sick and wounded. [RWH]

April 2019

In 1865 the Turpin & Yarborough Tobacco Company resumed operations until the sale of the property in 1909. Pohlig Bros. Inc. converted the site to a paper box factory that remained in continuous operation until relocating in 1992. (Pohlig Box Factory)

(Find A Grave) — August Pohlig

A knife-grinder and polisher in his native Germany, Pohlig came to America in 1859. In 1866, he and a partner, Otto Meister, formed the Pohlig Box Company. The partners used cardboard, cloth, and glue to make their boxes and help meet the growing need for lightweight, low-cost packaging. The business, still in operation today, remained in the Pohlig family’s hands until 1987. (Find A Grave)

April 2019

Until recent years there has been no business on Church Hill other than neighborhood shops such as the very early one we have noticed at Twenty-seventh and Marshall. A small business neighborhood has now grown up on Broad between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-sixth, expanding north for two blocks on Twenty-fifth.

April 2019

Nor did factories attempt to push from the crowded Valley up the steep slopes. The single exception is the tobacco factory built in 1853 at the southwest corner of Franklin and Twenty-fifth by Turpin and Yarbrough, the architect being John Freeman. Since the burning of the Dunlop Mills, this is the handsomest and least altered of the old factories or warehouses left in Richmond.

April 2019

Its almost eighteenth-century simplicity of line contrasts curiously with the florid mansions which the tobacco and flour magnates were building for themselves during the 1850’s. Since 1909 the Yarbrough factory has been owned and operated by the Pohlig Brothers’ paper box factory. [ORN]

April 2019

The Pohlig family owned the company until 1987, and it was moved to Chesterfield in 1992. It has since gone through several ownership changes and is now part of a holding company called Oliver Packaging LLC. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Oddly enough, the old factory building is not part of the Virginia Historic Registry, possibly due to its conversion into residential and retail space by Stanley Shield LLC in 2004. It has gone by many names over the years but seems that only one architectural historian, Mary Wingfield Scott, has written about it, so we’ll go with the one she gave it.

(Yarbrough-Pohlig Factory is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [ORN] Old Richmond Neighborhoods. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1950.
  • [RWH] Richmond’s Wartime Hospitals. Rebecca Barbour Calcutt. 2005.

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