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RVA Legends — Transparent Ice Works

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

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[RVCJ93] — Transparent Ice Works, Hermann Schmidt, Proprietor

120 South Adams Street
Built, after 1877
Demolished, unknown

A competitor to Mrs. Jane King!

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 91

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 91

The Transparent Ice Works, situated at the corner of Adams and Canal streets, are owned (together with ample room to enable them to enlarge) by Hermann Schmidt. They embrace also a cold-storage department, which is a great advantage to those of the business community handling perishable commodities.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement from the Richmond Dispatch — Sunday, January 23, 1903

(Chronicling America) — advertisement from the Richmond Dispatch — Sunday, January 23, 1903

These works were established ten years ago by Mr. Schmidt. He makes a strictly pure ice in them from distilled water. They have 35 tons daily capacity, and ran ten teams for city delivery; they employ thirty hands, and have an output of about 6,000 tons of product a year. Their equipment is of the Johnson compression patent. Shipments are made from them to all parts of this State.

(Library of Congress) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877 — Plate J — showing the undeveloped corner at Canal & Adams

(Library of Congress) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the Cities of Richmond & Manchester, 1877 — Plate J — showing the undeveloped corner at Canal & Adams

Mr. Schmidt is a man of more than ordinary enterprise. He is the proprietor also of two grocery stores here—one on Broad and the other on Main street. He is the president of the Virginia Building and Loan Association, and is largely interested also in other local projects.

June 2019 — looking southwest towards 120 South Adams Street today

June 2019 — looking southwest towards 120 South Adams Street today

He is, in fact, one of the most substantial men, financially, in the city. He is of German birth, but has been a resident here for twenty-seven years, and for five years before that time was an exporter and importer of New York city. [RVCJ93]

[RVCJ] — Richmond Brewery & Hygeia Ice Factory

[RVCJ] — Richmond Brewery & Hygeia Ice Factory

Back in the day, being in the ice business meant getting cakes of river ice from northern states. By producing ice from distilled water instead, Schmidt was competing directly with Hygeia Ice Factory, the first company in Richmond to sell distilled water ice, and with Mrs. Jane King, who controlled the company’s entire output (”… see Jane run… see Jane run a business… see Jane kick the competition’s ass…”).

Like Mrs. King, Hermann Schmidt could see the future coming.

(Transparent Ice Works is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [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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Downtown

Must-See RVA! — Cokesbury Building

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

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April 2020
  • 415 East Grace Street
  • Built, 1921
  • Architects, Carneal & Johnston

Once there was this trendy little bookstore in the heart of the downtown shopping district.

[ADR] — Cokesbury Building in 1981

[ADR] — Cokesbury Building in 1981

This building was built for the Methodist Publishing House and designed by Garnett & Johnston. Its design clearly is related to the Mosby Store at the corner of Jefferson and Broad Streets, by Starrett & Van Vleck.

April 2020 — showing projecting cornice

April 2020 — showing projecting cornice

That design was, in turn, related to McKim, Mead & White’s Gorham Building in New York, a modernized version of an Italianate palazzo with an arcade at the base of the building and a heavy projecting cornice at the roof.

April 2020

April 2020

This design was felt to be a particularly successful blending of traditional and modern features, most appropriate for a modern shop.

April 2020

April 2020

The Cokesbury Building is designed carefully and well detailed. The first floor arcade was glazed fully, but is now closed partially.

April 2020

April 2020

The interior vaulted ceilings have been removed, but the building is otherwise well preserved. The reason for the popularity of this building type is seen easily. It is simple, dignified and impressive. [ADR]

(Richmond Times Dispatch) — Cokesbury Building in 1952

(Richmond Times-Dispatch) — Cokesbury Building in 1952

The Cokesbury Building, with the Cokesbury Bookstore on the first floor, was an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Book Concern. Created in 1789, this organization was established to religious materials for the Methodist church. It would eventually expand to include books and religious supplies and rebranded as the Cokesbury Press in 1925. By 2012, there would be 57 Cokesbury Book Stores nationwide, one of which used to be on Grace Street.

April 2020

April 2020

But in that same year, Cokesbury announced the closure of their brick-and-mortar stores, and today they’re online only. The Grace Street location had long been abandoned by that point, having relocated to Tuckernuck Square shopping center in 1992. A loss, really. They were more than just religious books and often had unusual or hard to find titles, back in the days before Amazon.

Today, it’s the Cokesbury Building Apartments.

(Cokesbury Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert Winthrop. 1982.

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Suspects Sought in Credit Card Fraud

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individuals in the attached photo, who are suspected of using a stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases last week.

On Monday, March 30, the victim was notified that their card had been used at the Farm Fresh located in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Surveillance footage shows two females buying food and cigarettes worth over $400 with the victim’s card. They were last seen leaving the store in a silver convertible with a black top. A photo of the vehicle is attached.

Detectives determined the card was also used at the McDonald’s located in the 1800 block of East Broad Street.

Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call First Precinct Detective J. Mitchell at (804) 646-0569 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Billy Jack’s Shack Closing for Good

Unfortunately, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be writing about a restaurant not being able to re-open.

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Billy Jack’s Shack the local spin-off of the Westend’s Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint at 5810 Grove Ave. will not survive the economic downturn of COVID-19. According to this Richmond BizSense.com article on the closure, Jack Brown’s is doing alright for now considering the situation.

Owners Jason Owenby, Mike Sabin, and Aaron Ludwig made the announcement on Billy Jack’s Shack Facebook.

It is with heavy hearts that we make the unfortunate announcement that Billy Jack’s RVA will be closing down permanently. While our time here was brief, the relationships and memories we’ve made are eternal. We appreciate everything that y’all have done for us, especially those of you in the Bone Club. These are difficult times for everyone involved and if you would like to support some of our staff who are now facing employment uncertainty, please feel free to donate at the link below. We can not properly express how much this decision pains us and how bad we are going to miss everyone. Please message with any further questions and stay tuned to our Instagram page for some trips down memory lane

https://www.billyjacksshack.com/tip-yo-server/

 

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