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RVA Legends — P. H. Mayo & Bro., Inc.

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

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[RVCJ93] — The P. H. Mayo & Bro. Tobacco Factory — 13-23 South Seventh Street location

13-23 South Seventh Street (factory)
113 South Seventh Street (stemmery)
Built, both 1873
Enlarged, circa 1892 (factory)
Demolished, both after 1905

Richmond’s first ciggy maker; it all started here.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 1

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 1

P. H. Mayo & Bro., Inc., operate, at 13 to 23 South Seventh street and 113 of the same street, one of the largest of American tobacco factories. They employ $250,000 capital in their business, have four to five hundred hands at work, and a factory of capacity to produce 400,000 pounds of the numerous superior brands which have been introduced by them or their predecessors, and found favor during the sixty-two years the establishment has been doing business.

(Find A Grave) — Peter H. Mayo

(Find A Grave) — Peter H. Mayo

This factory was established in 1830 by B. A. Mayo, father of P. H. Mayo, president of the company now. Mr. Mayo has associated with him in the management, Thomas Atkinson, Jr., who is vice-president of the company; Edward C. Mayo, secretary and treasurer; and J. W. Atkinson, Jr., assistant secretary. The Messrs. Atkinson are his nephews. The company was incorporated and succeeded the firm of P. H. Mayo & Bro. about two years ago.

(The Virginia Shop) — P. H. Mayo & Brother tobacco crate label

(The Virginia Shop) — P. H. Mayo & Brother tobacco crate label

The original Mayo factory was at Twenty-fifth and Cary streets. The one now occupied by the company was built in 1873. It was damaged by fire about a year ago and was then reconstructed and enlarged. It covers about a third of a block, and across the street from it the company has two large leaf factories.

(Sports Collectors Digest) — Mayo’s Cut Plug tobacco tin

(Sports Collectors Digest) — Mayo’s Cut Plug tobacco tin

The brands turned out by this factory are very numerous. Some of them are made for export, others for domestic trade. Its standard specialties are: “Eglantine,” “Ivy,” “Mayo’s Cut Plug,” “Holly,” “Banquet Sweet Chewing,” and “Mayo’s Genuine TJ. S. Navy,” which was the first ‘ ‘ navy plug ’ ’ ever made in this country.

(Metropolitan Museum of Art) — sports cards sold with Mayo’s Cut Plug — John Dunlop, Harvard University (left) — Tucker, 1st Base, Boston (right)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art) — sports cards sold with Mayo’s Cut Plug — John Dunlop, Harvard University (left) — Tucker, 1st Base, Boston (right)

The company has five men on the road, and has agents besides in Liverpool and Bristol, Eng., in which cities the house of Thomas P. Jose & Sons represents them. In Boston, Stephen Tilton & Co. are their representatives; and in Baltimore, A. Seemuller & Sons do their business.

June 2019 — looking towards 13-23 South Seventh Street factory location

June 2019 — looking towards 13-23 South Seventh Street factory location — today, the Virginia Employment Commission building

The name of Mayo is historic here. It was a Mayo who, with Byrd, laid out the city, and the family has had one or more representatives prominent in every generation here since. One of the attractions of the city to tourists, is the burial place of the great Indian chief, Powhatan, which is on the old Mayo homestead about a mile below Richmond corporate limits. This place has been the home of the Mayo family for a century and a half.

June 2019 — looking towards 113 South Seventh Street stemmery location

June 2019 — looking towards 113 South Seventh Street stemmery location — today, the Dominion Energy building

The Mayo’s company was the first to mass produce cigarettes for sale, but they quickly drew company, and their production was eventually surpassed by Allen & Ginter. Of course, both were gobbled up, as the tobacco crate label above attests, by the voracious James Buchanan Duke in 1890, as part of his American Tobacco Company trust. [CIGC]

(ProQuest® Sanborn Maps Geo Edition™) — Sanborn Insurance Maps of Richmond (1924) — composite of Plates 10 & 13

(ProQuest® Sanborn Maps Geo Edition™) — Sanborn Insurance Maps of Richmond (1924) — composite of Plates 10 & 13

That basically signaled doom for the P. H. Mayo & Brother buildings. Plate 10 of the 1905 Sanborn maps bears a note that states:

American Tobacco Co.
P. H. Mayo & Bro. Branch
To be removed to E. Cary St. Bet. 25th & 26th

And as faithful readers of this space know well, that is the location of the Cameron & Cameron tobacco factory.

So at some point between 1905 and 1924 both bit the dust. The factory was replaced by the new Richmond Dry Goods Co. Inc. building, and the stemmery by the Times-Dispatch Printing & Publishing building.

(P. H. Mayo & Bro., Inc. is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Note

If you have wall space that’s just crying out for a colorful reproduction that depicts Richmond history, you could do a lot worse than The Virginia Shop’s Mayo poster above. It comes in three different sizes and looks absolutely sweet up close. And no, neither Rocket Werks nor RVAHub is affiliated with The Virginia Shop in any way, it’s just really cool looking.


Print Sources

  • [CIGC] The Cigarette Century. Allan M. Brandt. 2007.
  • [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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