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RVA Legends — J. T. Montgomery

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

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1509 East Franklin Street
11, 15, 18, 20, 22 South Fifteenth Street
Built, unknown
Demolished, 1901 (1509 East Franklin); 18-22 South Fifteenth Street, unknown

A merchant of many locations.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 2 — showing the Fifteenth Street and Franklin Street locations

J. T. Montgomery, wholesale dealer in fish, fruits and produce, at 1509 East Franklin street and No. 15 Fifteenth street, is a planter and shipper of the celebrated York-River oysters, and is an extensive dealer in fruits also from the West Indies and the Mediterranean.

April 2019 — looking toward 11-15 South Fifteenth Street today

He has about 40 hands employed here, and more on his oyster plantations on James and York rivers. He is a shipper to all parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Times advertisement — Friday, March 17, 1893

Mr. Montgomery is a native of York county, Va., but has been a resident here for twenty two years. He was a mariner before he went into his present line of business, and had seen the greater part of the world while on the sea.

April 2019 — looking toward 18-22 South Fifteenth Street today

He has been successful here, and, besides being interested in shipping, is the owner of considerable real estate. His sons, John S. and Joseph Stephen, assist him in the management of the business. [RVCJ93]

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — composite view of Plates 17 & 18

According to advertisements of the day, James Thomas Montgomery was quite the entrepreneur, hawking fish, seed potatoes, beans, and other commodities. This variety of his enterprises drove his need for multiple shops on South Fifteenth Street, and what appears to be a warehouse on East Franklin.

April 2019 — looking towards the former 1509 East Franklin Street location, now under the Main Street Station train shed

Unfortunately, both he and his business died young in 1901 at the age of 49, which is why he is mentioned in the 1893 edition of Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James, but not the 1903 edition. The same can be said of his East Franklin operation, which also had to make way for the new train station built by the Seaboard & C&O railroads in the same year.

That said, Mr. Montgomery seems to have been innovator, using pre-printed postcards as a means to deliver his bills for payments.

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — postcard bill from J. T. Montgomery to Mr. J. B. Norris, September 8, 1892 — postmarked September 9

When the U.S. Post Office first issued postal cards in 1873 they were simple plain white cards, as shown in the images above. It wasn’t until 1893 that the U.S.P.O would allow the first picture postcards to be mailed, and another 14 years before postcards as we know them now came into their own. [AOV] Getting on the bandwagon shows a spark of imagination on Montgomery’s part.

As for the traces of his business, all that appears to remain are the 11-15 South Fifteenth Street buildings. City of Richmond says they were built in 1900, but that’s wrong because they are extant on the 1889 Baist map. All the rest have gone the way of the dodo.

(J. T. Montgomery is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [AOV] Art of the View. Virginia Cavalcade, Volume 40, Number 2. Kelly Henderson. Autumn,1990.
  • [RVCJ93] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1893.

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Mayor Stoney names members of “Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety”

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

RVAHub Staff

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Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced the members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety and outlined his primary requests of the diverse group of professionals. The majority of task force members stood with the mayor for the announcement.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The members of the task force bring an array of perspectives from activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, emergency services, artistic, healthcare, and other fields. At the close of a 45-day period, the task force will bring the mayor a set of actionable steps forward to build a safer city for all.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have asked this task force to report back with initial recommendations within 45 days of their first meeting.”

The mayor established three foundational requests of the task force: reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, exploring an approach to public safety that uses a human services lens, and prioritizing community healing and engagement.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” noted the mayor. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“Last month I expressed my support for the VBLC’s package for the summer session,” said Mayor Stoney. “This task force can determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus community advocacy to make statewide change a reality.”

Members of the Task Force

Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat,
 Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS

Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer

Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team

Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development

Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker

Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism

Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia

Councilman Mike Jones

Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District

Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team

Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney

Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church

Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VCU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child

Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD

Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond

Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member

Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson

Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership

Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers

Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns

Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The Mayor’s Office is specifically working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.

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Richmond Then and Now: 114 E. Broad Street

A then and now snapshot of Richmond.

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Original Image from Souvenir views: Negro enterprises & residences, Richmond, Va.
Created / Published[Richmond, D. A. Ferguson, 1907]

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Library of Virginia reopens to researchers by advance appointment beginning today

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm.

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The Library of Virginia has announced that its reading rooms will reopen to researchers by advance appointment beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm. To make an appointment, please call 804.692.3800.

COVID-19, which prompted the Library’s closing to the public in mid-March, continues to pose a serious public health risk. The Library’s reopening plan includes new health and safety protocols based on the latest guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to expect when returning to the Library:

  • Appointments required to use the reading rooms in order to ensure space availability on a researcher’s preferred date
  • Signage describing coronavirus symptoms – Please do not enter the building if you feel unwell or have a fever
  • Face coverings required in the building at all times
  • Physical distancing of six feet required in all public spaces
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer available for the public
  • Frequent cleaning of restrooms and surfaces in public areas throughout the day
  • Returned books quarantined for three days before being available for use again
  • The Exhibition Gallery, the Virginia Shop, our conference rooms, and the reading room at the State Records Center will remain closed

For additional information about what to expect on your visit, take a look at the COVID-19 Update: Guidelines for Researchers, page, which will be updated regularly.

For more on how to use the collections, click here.

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