Connect with us

Downtown

RVA Legends — The Grasbergers

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

Avatar

Published

on

[RVCJ93] — showing B. A. Grasberger shop on West Broad Street

B. A. Grasberger

  • 1011-1013 West Broad Street
  • Built, after 1889

J. A. Grasberger Carriage Works

  • AKA, Grasberger Vehicle Company
  • 16-18 North Twentieth Street
  • Built, before 1877
  • Demolished, unknown
  • AKA, General Hospital #14 (Second Georgia), Castle Thunder Hospital
  • 20-24 North Twentieth Street
  • Built, 1849

A tale of two carriage makers.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 10 — showing the theoretical location of B. A. Grasberger’s shop

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 10 — showing the theoretical location of B. A. Grasberger’s shop

B. A. Grasberger, carriage and wagon manufacturer, of 1011 and 1013 West Broad Street, has been established about two years. He pays special attention to the making of light work to order, like buggies, carriages and delivery wagons, and he has a first-rate trade and is prospering.

May 2019 — looking towards 1011-1013 West Broad Street from Hancock Street

May 2019 — looking towards 1011-1013 West Broad Street from Hancock Street

Mr. Grasberger is a Pennsylvanian by birth, but has lived here nearly all his life. He learned his trade here, and was considered one of the most expert mechanics in it in this city before he started on his own account. He makes superior work a specialty. His factory is equipped with all the necessary appliances for the expeditious turning out of his productions. [RVCJ93]

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 60

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 60

Grasberger’s location at 1011-1013 West Broad Street, while technically within the city limits at the time, was like having a shop at the edge of the known universe. It wasn’t a location that sported regular business traffic, and the 1889 Baist map shows nothing at the location. The 1905 Sanborn map calls both of these addresses as sheds, so the operation must have been small.

This might explain the new business established by his older brother.

[RVCJ03] — 16-18 North Twentieth Street

[RVCJ03] — 16-18 North Twentieth Street

Curiously enough, at the time of the 1893 edition of Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James Boniface A. Grasberger’s brother, Julius A. Grasberger was working for a competitor, James McDonough & Co., a carriage manufacturer, whose shop stood at 5-17 North Eighteenth Street. However, by the time of the 1903 edition, there is no mention of B. A Grasberger, and instead, J. A. Grasberger Carriage Works down in Shockoe Bottom took his place. [RVCJ93]

May 2019 — looking toward 16-18 North Twentieth Street

May 2019 — looking toward 16-18 North Twentieth Street

What happened to Boniface? Did he join his brother and together form a new business, and it just didn’t have his name? There is nothing that states so, but he would have only been 38 in 1903, and he lived until 1945. Unless he suffered something catastrophic that made him stop working, it makes sense that he would continue to be a carriage maker, just like the days of old. Going into business with his brother doesn’t seem like a stretch, but we don’t know.

 

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 3 — showing both of 16-18 North Twentieth Street shop

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 3 — showing both of 16-18 North Twentieth Street shop

Julius set up shop in a pair of two-story industrial buildings that at the least, pre-date the 1877 Beers maps, and which may have been at least as old as the building that directly faced it from across the alley.

(Newspapers.com) — advertisement in Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, February, 14 1909

(Newspapers.com) — advertisement in Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, February, 14 1909

However, unlike Samuel Cottrell, Julius A. Grasberger could see the future. By the early twentieth century seems to have gravitated away from carriage and wagon business, and made the transition to selling automobiles.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45 — showing both 16-18 North Twentieth (bottom) and 20-24 North Twentieth (top)

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45 — showing both 16-18 North Twentieth (bottom) and 20-24 North Twentieth (top)

His place of business was across Rose Alley in what at one time was General Hospital #14, Castle Thunder Hospital. Not to be confused with Castle Thunder military prison, which was close by, but a four-story brick tobacco factory that was built in 1845.

May 2019 — looking toward 20-24 North Twentieth Street

May 2019 — looking toward 20-24 North Twentieth Street

It was managed under the auspices of the Georgia Hospital Association and became the second of four hospitals established for sick and wounded Georgians (the first was General Hosptial #16, the third was #19, and the fourth was #17). It was older and smaller than similar buildings but the capacity was still listed as 150. There were three wards and each bed was numbered in paint on the footboard. A “very insufficient privy” was located in the small yard behind the building.

It remained a Confederate hospital from October 1861 to March 1863. [RWH]

(Newspapers.com) — advertisement in Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, September 1, 1912

(Newspapers.com) — advertisement in Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, September 1, 1912

Eventually, Julius expanded his business all the way to Franklin Street, which if he still used the other two properties, gave him command of most of the west side of Twentieth Street. No clues when the original factory buildings were pulled down, but a likely candidate would be when that portion of Twentieth from Rose Alley to Main Street was converted to a parking lot for the Poe Museum.

(B. A. Grasberger & J. A. Grasberger Carriage Works are part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.
  • [RVCJ93] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1893.
  • [RWH] Richmond’s Wartime Hospitals. Rebecca Barbour Calcutt. 2005.

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

Downtown

Schools, nonprofits hustle to feed over a half million Virginia students: ‘It’s incredible’

Richmond school bus driver Tyrone McBride is still driving a big, yellow bus through Richmond neighborhoods, but these days, he’s transporting boxes of food for kids in need. More than a week has passed since Gov. Ralph Northam announced students will not return to school this academic year, and volunteers are still fighting to feed the 590,000 children in Virginia with free or reduced lunches who were ordered to remain home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Capital News Service

Published

on

By Hannah Eason

Richmond school bus driver Tyrone McBride is still driving a big, yellow bus through Richmond neighborhoods, but these days, he’s transporting boxes of food for kids in need.

“It gets me out of the house,” said McBride, who has been a school bus driver for 18 years, “and you know, you’re doing a great deed and helping people out.”

More than a week has passed since Gov. Ralph Northam announced students will not return to school this academic year, and volunteers are still working to feed the 590,000 children in Virginia eligible for free or reduced lunches who were ordered to remain home during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools have been closed since March 16, though students were originally slated to return by March 27.

Whitcomb Court resident Simone Sanders said her children are now eating at home during the day, but she didn’t receive an increase in food stamps. One child is disabled, which prevents Sanders from being able to work.

“It’s affecting us bad, especially in the projects, and there’s nothing for the kids to do all day,” Sanders said. “And then you have to worry about your child just being outside getting shot.”

Sanders said she’s grateful for the food from Richmond Public Schools, and says she occasionally gives food to neighborhood kids who say they’re hungry.

The Richmond Public Schools meal distribution program, like others around the state, continues to evolve during the coronavirus pandemic that caused a surge of Virginians to file for unemployment. Almost 46,300 Virginians filed for unemployment between March 15 and March 21. The previous week 2,706 people filed an unemployment claim, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

The program started with 10 school sites, and has since grown into at least 43 sites throughout the community and 10 school sites.

Erin Stanley, director of family engagement at Richmond Public Schools, said volunteers, bus drivers and the district’s nutrition staff have made the efforts possible. Volunteers were using personal vehicles to drop off food, but RPS decided that school buses would better suit the cause.

“We did that for a couple of reasons,” Stanley said. “One, so we can get more food out, and two, because school buses are a bit more well known and probably more trusted than individual volunteers going in with their personal vehicles.”

Plastic bags filled with milk cartons, sandwiches, apples and snacks are handed out in neighborhoods found on the Richmond Public Schools’ website. School distribution sites are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and neighborhood times vary by location. Any student in the school district can use the program, Stanley said.

Volunteer Natalie Newfield said many families she gave meals to lost jobs in the restaurant industry.

 “They’re changing the way they do deliveries, which is amazing,” Newfield said. “Every day you give them a count. If they need more food, the next day, all of a sudden your bus has more food. It’s incredible.”

Statewide efforts to feed children in Virginia

When schools closed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture activated the Summer Meals Program, which funds public schools and local organizations to serve breakfast and lunch during the summer.

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, pressed the USDA to change its policy which required parents to have their child with them when picking up food.

Roem said it was difficult for a Prince William County mother to access food for her two children. Her daughter has an immune system deficiency caused by recent cancer treatments, making her susceptible to the COVID-19 virus.

“When you’re talking about a 7-year-old with cancer, we have to really evaluate what is it that our policy is trying to prevent that is more important than feeding a child with cancer,” Roem said.

Roem said she was able to bring groceries to the family, who live in the representative’s district. As they carried bags of food inside, Roem said the mother told her children, “We’re eating tonight.”

“I fought with the USDA for a full week and won a major, major victory for kids throughout Virginia and across the country, and especially immunocompromised kids, to make sure that they stay safe, that they stay home,” Roem said.

The USDA waived the restriction last week, and states can now choose to waive the in-person policy for students to receive food.

No Kid Hungry, a national campaign launched by nonprofit Share Our Strength, is offering emergency grants to local school divisions and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants can help people who are trying to make meal distribution possible, but may lack the equipment necessary to feed children outside of a school setting.

Sarah Steely, senior program manager at No Kid Hungry Virginia, said the grants can fund necessities like vehicles, gas, coolers and equipment to keep food safe during distribution.

“Those might not be resources that folks already have, because those aren’t service models that were expected of them before,” Steely said, “so we’re here to support community organizations and school divisions as they figure out what it is they need to distribute to kids.”

The organization works with YMCAs, childcare centers, libraries and all 133 of Virginia’s public school divisions.

The organization recently activated their texting hotline for those unsure of where their next meal is coming from: text “FOOD” to 877-877. The hotline is generally used during the summer months, but was reactivated to combat food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Steely called the hotline “a tool in a bigger toolbox of resources” and encouraged families to contact their local school board for updated information about their locality.

“They count on that as a primary source of nutrition, so with schools closed, we want to make sure that the students who are accessing meals at school are now accessing those meals at home,” Steely said.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community

Use Exact Change or E-Zpass on Powhite Parkway Starting Today

There will be no manned booths taking money on Powhite for the foreseeable future.

Avatar

Published

on

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has temporarily suspended cash exchange tolls on Powhite Parkway extension and the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge. This means there won’t be someone to take your money so either have exact change, pay too much, or use an E-Zpass. No mention of any changes to Nickel aka Boulevard Bridge.

As of April 1, if you make an unpaid trip on a Virginia toll facility, you may be able to pay that toll through the “missed-a-toll” process before receiving a notice/invoice. The “missed-a-toll” payment process must take place within six days of the unpaid toll trip.

The standard administration fee associated with “missed-a-toll” has been suspended temporarily.

Exact change can still be dropped into the coin basket at the Powhite Parkway Extension.

E-ZPass is now the most convenient and safest way to pay tolls.

For more information or to order your own E-ZPass, click here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community

Friday Cheers cancels, postpones various concerts amid COVID-19

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

Avatar

Published

on

Friday Cheers fans are devoted and unwavering, but in these times we must all be mindful that the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed our daily social interactions and we must all follow the directives of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order through June 10.

The governor’s order prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals.

With these guidelines, and for the safety of both our patrons and staff, we have made the following changes to the May Friday Cheers schedule:

  • Jade Bird with Sweet Potatoes that was previously scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2020 is cancelled.
  • Billy Strings with Andrew Alli and Josh Small is rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
  • RVA Music Night – Palm Palm is rescheduled for Friday, May 21, 2021.
  • Jay Som with Angelica Garcia – We are working to reschedule this show for Friday Cheers 2021 and will provide details when finalized.

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

2020 Friday Cheers Season Pass holders can still use their pass for the remaining June Friday Cheers events and for the rescheduled Billy Strings event on August 26, 2020.

In addition, as a thank you for your understanding during this difficult time, 2020 Season Pass holders will receive a 50% discount off a 2021 Friday Cheers Season Pass! TicketsToBuy.com will email current Season Pass holders with information about the discount which can be used when purchasing a 2021 Season Pass.

Those who have purchased a ticket online for any one of these May events may request a refund by emailing [email protected]com beginning Friday, April 3, 2020.

Venture Richmond Events, LLC and its staff work to produce an excellent experience for you on Brown’s Island, but we take the safety and health of our guests, staff, and community very seriously, and appreciate your continued support moving forward.

At this time, all other events produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC, including the June Friday Cheers events, remain scheduled as planned, but are subject to change. Again, thank you for your continued support of Friday Cheers.

Presented by: Pacifico
Sponsored by: CoStar, Dominion Green Power,  Delta Hotels by MarriottDrive Shack103.7 PlayRichmond.comStyle Weekly NBC12CW Richmond and Easley Made Catering.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather

Events Calendar