Connect with us

Downtown

RVA Legends — First Market & Cage

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

Avatar

Published

on

  • AKA, Old Market, Seventeenth Street Market, 17th Street Farmers Market
  • 100 North Seventeenth Street
  • Built, 1794 (Cage & 1st building); 1854 (2nd building); 1912 (3rd building); mid-1980’s (4th building); 2019 (plaza)
  • Demolished, 1827 (Cage); 1854 (1st building); 2nd building (1912); 1961 (3rd building); 4th building, 2015

A location of many incarnations.

[ORN] — from an insurance plat showing the original Market building (A) and Cage (B) — note the now-hidden Shockoe Creek flowing to the west of the Cage

The Building A on this plat is used as a Market house. Walls built of brick 126 feet long by 33 feet wide, 2 stories high covered with wood. The 2nd part is an addition to the said Market, 32 by 33 feet of one story in height.

The Building B is used as a Cage for disorderly persons. Walls build of Stone & Brick 52 feet in circumference three stories high with a dais. (illegible) these two Buildings are contiguous within 30 to each other, and are not contiguous within 30 feet to any other Building whatever. [ORN]

(Historical Richmond, Fiona Carmody) — showing a whipping post placed inside the market

As early as the 1780’s a market was established on the site of the present one now called “First Market,” “the Old Market” or the “Seventeenth Street Market.” At first it was only a wooden shed supported on locust-posts. Between it and Shockoe Creek was a green bank where women washed the clothes.

[RAW] — 2nd Market building built in 1854 — occupied by the Chahoon forces during the Municipal War of 1870

In 1794 a brick building replaced the primitive shed. Above it was a hall, which after the destruction of Quesnay’s Academy was used as a theatre. Before the erection of Mills’ City Hall, the Council had its meeting-room there. West of the market, as shown in the insurance-drawing, stood the “Cage,” or lock-up, of which institution and its unwilling tenants Mordecai gives a picturesque account. [ORN]

(Richmond Times-Dispatch) — Dementi Studio photograph of the 3rd Market building, date unknown but prior to World War II

Here were encaged (when caught) the unfeathered night-hawks that prowl for prey, and screeching owls that make night hideous, and black birds, who had flown from their own nests, to nestle elsewhere, like cuckoos; and some birds, both black and white, who had no nests at all were brought to roost here until that official ornithologist, the police master, should examine into their characters. This was a somewhat convenient arrangement to the citizen, who, on rising in the morning, missed the attendant on his household comforts, and as he went to market had only to look into the cage for his flown bird. [RBGD]

Truly, a multi-purpose campus, where shoppers could browse the foodstuffs and witness righteous punishment meted out via flogging. A little red meat to go with the veg; a Colonial-era version of Sports Clips. Good times.

(Richmond Times-Dispatch) — showing 4th Market building, which lasted from the mid-1980s to 2015

In 1854 a more commodious market was built. This also had a hall on the second floor which was often used for political meetings. The present “Old” or First Market dates only from 1913, and the oldest of the stores surrounding it goes back only to the 1830’s, but the location and atmosphere of the market are among the few things that have remained relatively static in a city that has changed practically everything that could be changed. [ORN]

May 2019 — showing the revamped First Market plaza, which formally opened in March 2019

The Farmers’ Market continued to prosper and undergo renovations until the mid 1900’s. It was during this time that the Shockoe Bottom area began to decline. The era of “bigger is better” came, and supermarkets were the modern answer to our grocery needs and family farmers were seduced by the regular paychecks offered by factories. The First Market House was razed in 1961 and the Farmers’ Market was reduced to scattered vendor stalls, but the predicted total demise never happened. (City of Richmond)

May 2019 — showing the bronze bell from the 3rd Market building

Indeed, there is no keeping this location down, as popular as it seems to be. In 2015, the 4th version of the Market space was reclaimed by the City of Richmond in an attempt to convert it to a public space, while still maintaining a gesture to its roots.

The significantly revised public plaza still carries the memories of the buildings that have gone before it, including the old bronze bell from the 3rd Market building, and the bullheads from the 4th building, which were actually rescued from the Second Market, which used to live at Sixth and Marshall Streets.

May 2019 — showing one of the two terra-cotta bulls that were displayed at the 4th Market building

This new space will still continue to host a weekly farmers market, but will also play host to festivals, music, art, vendors, educational programming, and whatever else comes along. Given the transformation of Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill over the last 10 years and the vast foot traffic, this just might be a formula for success.

Despite the fact that the new plaza is there for us to see, there are so many buildings lost to us that this is an RVA Legend. So let it be written.

(First Market & Cage is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [ORN] Old Richmond Neighborhoods. Mary Wingfield Scott. 1950.
  • [RAW] Richmond After the War. Michael B. Chesson. 1981.
  • [RBGD] Richmond in By-Gone Days. Samuel Mordecai. 1946, from the 2nd edition, 1860.

rocket_werks

RVA Legends is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!

Comments

comments

Combining protean forces from the forbidden Zero Serum with the unbridled power of atomic fusion, to better probe the Wisdom of the Ancients and their Forgotten Culture.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Arts & Entertainment

Maymont Garden Glow Cancelled Tonight Due to Weather

Mother Nature is bringing the rain and the wind today so the folks at Maymont want to keep everyone safe and dry.

Avatar

Published

on

Due to the forecast for severe weather during Garden Glow at Maymont tonight, we have decided to cancel the event for 10/29. We hope that you can join us on a different night through Nov. 8. If you have already purchased tickets, please check your email. bit.ly/30oc6ci

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Crime

Four charged for throwing objects at restaurant patrons, rocks at police car, and assaulting officer Tuesday night

On Tuesday night a group of individuals walked through Richmond, eventually damaging vehicles and buildings in several areas in the city and causing unrest. Four were arrested.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

On Tuesday night a group of individuals walked through Richmond, eventually damaging vehicles and buildings in several areas in the city and causing unrest. Four were arrested.

After leaving Monroe Park, the group headed west along West Main Street. At approximately 9:54 p.m., individuals in the group were observed throwing objects at patrons at a restaurant. Soon after, officers observed an individual throw a large stone and damage an RPD K-9 vehicle. A photo of the stone that was recovered is attached. Later, that same individual was seen throwing an object against a business. As officers moved to arrest this individual, a group member assaulted an officer.

An unlawful assembly was not declared and no chemical agents were deployed.

The Department consulted with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney on possible charges and charged four individuals. Their photos are attached.

Paxton Chapman was charged with obstruction of justice, carrying a concealed weapon, and pedestrian in the roadway.

Saraswati Rowe was charged with obstructing free passage.

Harrison Sellers was charged with inciting a riot and throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle.

Michael Toney was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Downtown

Become a Richmond tourism ambassador from the comfort of your own home

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism offerings.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Richmonders have a new way to learn about the region – from home.

Richmond Region Tourism is launching a virtual version of its popular I Am Tourism ambassador workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 9-11 a.m., with a second session on Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 9-11 a.m. New classes will be held monthly.

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism products and offerings.

The Oct. 28 session includes information about the economic impact of tourism and an overview of the attractions, events and activities in the Richmond region. A virtual tour led by Bill Martin, The Valentine executive director, will guide the class on a custom visit to some of his favorite places.

“The I Am Tourism program is an exciting opportunity for everyone in our community to become knowledgeable and influential representatives of the region,” said Jack Berry, Richmond Region Tourism CEO and president.

The primary reason people travel to the Richmond Region is to visit friends and family. National travel data points to this trend continuing as people continue with more car-based trips during the pandemic. The I Am Tourism classes provided an opportunity for residents to become knowledgeable ambassadors when guests visit.

“Richmond’s hospitality industry hasn’t escaped the devastating financial impact of the pandemic, but we’re seeing signs of growth and progress. The new virtual sessions are an opportunity for the entire community to help the tourism industry and the region’s economic rebound,” Berry said.

Participants must register for the Oct. 28 class by Oct. 27 at noon.

Since the I Am Tourism program launched in 2015, more than 2,600 Ambassadors have gone through the program. Richmond Region Tourism also creates custom classes for employee engagement activities for local businesses.

For more information on upcoming I Am Tourism ambassador trainings and to register, visit visitrichmondva.com.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather