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History

Must-See RVA! — Peter Copland House

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

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September 2019 — 1102 West Main Street
  • Residence
    1102 West Main Street
    Built, between 1877-1889
  • Stone Yard
    619 East Canal

A fine place to get your grub on.

[RVCJ93] — 1102 West Main Street, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — 1102 West Main Street, circa 1893

Peter Copland, quarryman and stonemason and contractor for monumental work and stone cutting, has yards at Seventh and Canal streets, supplied with cranes, etc., and all the necessary mechanical facilities for the business, into which yards the tracks of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad runs. He has lately purchased also a tract of land on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, three and a half miles from the city, upon which he will shortly open a quarry that contains an inexhaustible supply of the finest granite.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 83

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 83

Mr. Copland began business here in this line in 1830 as a member of the firm of Mitchell & Copland, and when Mr. Mitchell died about two years ago, he succeeded to the entire business. He employs about forty hands and does business not merely in this State, but in all parts of the South. He is a shipper also of brownstone and other materials to the West.

[CDRVA] — advertisement in Chataigne’s Directory of Richmond, 1892

[CDRVA] — advertisement in Chataigne’s Directory of Richmond, 1892

Among other jobs of construction executed by him here the following may be mentioned: The new Masonic Temple; the First street viaduct, extending to Barton Heights; the granite work on the Lombardy School; the stone work on Mr. W. L. Royall’s house; on Major Dooley’s fine residence in the Western suburbs of the city; and on Clay Ward market.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 8 — showing the Copland stone yard

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 8 — showing the Copland stone yard

Mr. Copland is ready to estimate on or undertake any sort of work, in his line, to be done anywhere in this country, or to furnish material from his own quarries of these parts. He lives in the substantial residence shown in the halftone cut on page 111 of this work.

September 2019 — looking towards former 619 East Canal Street stone yard today

September 2019 — looking towards former 619 East Canal Street stone yard today

Times change and West Main Street transitioned from being a residential district to a business one, smack in the middle of VCU country. Today the former house is now The Pit and the Peel, right next door to Piccola’s.

City of Richmond says that 1102 West Main was built 1900, but that surely can’t be, since its picture appears in the 1893 edition of Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James. It’s not on the 1877 Beers maps but shows up by 1889 on the Baist maps, built some time in that 12-year span.

(Peter Copland House is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [CDRVA] Chataigne’s Directory of Richmond, Va. J. H. Chataigne. 1892.
  • [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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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.

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History

State crews to begin dismantling of Lee Monument pedestal today

The pedestal, which effectively became a piece of public art throughout the protests of 2020, will be safely disassembled and kept in storage until a decision about its long term future can be made.

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From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The pedestal that held the now-gone statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — and that last summer became a vivid display of frustration toward police violence and systemic racism — will be removed from its place on Richmond’s Monument Avenue by state officials before the end of the year.

The decision, which state officials announced suddenly on Sunday, was the product of behind-the-scenes deliberations between the state and the city of Richmond.

The removal of the pedestal is part of a broader agreement that will result in the city taking ownership of the land, which now belongs to the state. Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said the swift removal of the pedestal was an explicit request from city officials.

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Arts & Entertainment

The Valentine acquires entire photo archive of now-defunct publication Style Weekly

“From ‘Top 40 under 40’ to ‘You’re Very Richmond If…,’ the Style Weekly collection provides a unique perspective on a transformative period in Richmond’s history. It was a key element in supporting the emergence of a new and vital cultural community. It will be a key source as we begin to understand this important moment in our history.”

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The Valentine has added the extensive photograph archive of Style Weekly to its holdings, the Richmond institution announced in a news release this afternoon.

The acquisition follows the Valentine’s mission to collect, preserve and share Richmond history, and strengthens the museum’s focus on objects that represent the city’s most defined narratives and lesser-told stories.

The donation includes the entirety of Style Weekly’s photograph archives, including prints, negatives, slides, and some digital photographs, as well as bound issues of the publication from its founding in 1982 to 2016. The Style collection joins the Valentine’s vast archive of images, manuscripts, books, artifacts, costumes, and textiles.

“This is a major addition to our archives, and an addition we’re excited to utilize to engage Richmond audiences with the city’s history,” says Bill Martin, the Valentine’s Director. “Having a contiguous [photo] archive spanning more than a century will allow us to better present and interpret big-picture Richmond stories.”

Martin continues, “From ‘Top 40 under 40’ to ‘You’re Very Richmond If…,’ the Style Weekly collection provides a unique perspective on a transformative period in Richmond’s history. It was a key element in supporting the emergence of a new and vital cultural community. It will be a key source as we begin to understand this important moment in our history.”

“We were thrilled to partner with The Valentine in order to preserve the impactful work of Style Weekly,” said Kris Worrell, editor-in-chief of Virginia Media, the former owner of the magazine. “Now the public will have access to images of Richmond’s vibrant arts, culture, and political scenes, as the city evolved over the past 40 years.”

The Style Weekly collection will take years before it is cataloged, digitized, and publicly accessible. Special project funds will be needed to process this vast new acquisition. Additionally, beginning in late 2021, the Valentine will limit access to all of its holdings during its planned renovation of storage and research facilities.

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Downtown

New Valentine Museum exhibit “Breathing Places” tells the story of Richmond’s carefully crafted greenspaces

The Valentine’s newest exhibition Breathing Places: Park & Recreation in Richmond opens at the museum on May 5th and explores the design, use, and evolution of Richmond’s many parks, recreation areas, and natural spaces.

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The Valentine’s newest exhibition Breathing Places: Park & Recreation in Richmond opens at the museum on May 5th and explores the design, use, and evolution of Richmond’s many parks, recreation areas, and natural spaces. Over the last 170 years, the region has developed and maintained these greenspaces for some residents while limiting and denying access to others. The new exhibition will explore this complex story while providing a window into the ongoing effects on residents today.

“Breathing Places both celebrates and critically examines a central part of community life,” said Christina K. Vida, the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections. “As spring approaches and Richmonders with access take to their local parks, fields and yards, it’s the perfect time to explore the histories of those important spaces.”

The exhibition’s title comes from an 1851 recommendation by Richmond’s Committee on Public Squares, which advised “securing breathing places in the midst of the city or convenient to it.” This recommendation would have dramatic (and disproportionate) impacts on Richmonders.

The debut of Breathing Places comes on the heels of the Valentine welcoming visitors back to the museum with new outdoor programming, spring and summer events and more.

“As residents and visitors alike begin to return downtown to enjoy many of the greenspaces they’ve missed for over a year, now is the ideal time to open this exhibition,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Breathing Places is not only an opportunity to fully explore the history of parks and recreation, but to inspire visitors to experience these spaces for themselves while considering how we can improve community access going forward.”

Breathing Places will also include a slideshow of rotating images featuring community-submitted photos. Richmonders (both individuals and organizations) can submit images of themselves, their families or their friends enjoying greenspaces across the region.

Breathing Places: Parks & Recreation in Richmond will be on display on the Lower Level of the Valentine from May 5, 2021 through January 30, 2022.

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