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RVA Legends — Allison & Addison

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

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[IOR] — Allison & Addison’s Fertilizing and Chemical Works, Richmond, Virginia — circa 1886

1322 East Cary Street (Office)
Manchester Docks (Factory)

You keep those fertilizer plants downriver… and downwind.

[RVCJ03] — Allison & Addison Factory, Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company — circa 1903

[RVCJ03] — Allison & Addison Factory, Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company — circa 1903

Allison & Addison, manufacturers of sulphuric acid and fertilizers, of this city, have their works on the south side of the river below Manchester, and opposite Richmond’s suburb of Rocketts. These works cover some four acres of ground. In the buildings alone there are some two acres of flooring. These buildings are fitted up completely with machinery, some of it imported ‘from Europe, and some of it specially manufactured for these works.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45 — showing campus & buildings of the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Co. Allison & Addison Branch at Manchester Docks

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45 — showing campus & buildings of the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Co. Allison & Addison Branch at Manchester Docks

There is fifteen feet of water at low tide at the landing of these works, and vessels of 1,000 tons can load there. In these works from 50 to 75 hands are employed according to the state of trade. The output, with a capacity of a hundred tons a day (about 15,000 tons a year) is $100,000 to $300,000 annually, the exact figures depending upon the prices that may be prevailing for the time. [RVCJ03]

(Find A Grave) — John Addison

(Find A Grave) — John Addison

This firm is composed of Messrs. J. W. Allison, E. B. Addison, William H. Allison and John Addison, and it is the oldest house in the fertilizing line in this city. [IOR]

(Duke University Libraries) — 1884 advertisement for Allison & Addison’s High-Grade “Star Brand” Fertilizers for Wheat and Grass, Richmond, Virginia

(Duke University Libraries) — 1884 advertisement for Allison & Addison’s High-Grade “Star Brand” Fertilizers for Wheat and Grass, Richmond, Virginia

These gentlemen are conspicuous for the interests they have here in banks and financial institutions of the city, and in manufacturing concerns, besides this, and other important projects. Their city offices are at 1322 Cary street. They have membership as a firm in the Chamber of Commerce. [RVCJ03]

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Times, December 31, 1899 — Allison & Addison Factory. Situated on the Right Bank of the River, Opposite Rocketts. Yearly Capacity, 20,000 Tons of Manufactured Fertilizer. Number of Men Employed 135

(Chronicling America) — Richmond Times, December 31, 1899 — Allison & Addison Factory. Situated on the Right Bank of the River, Opposite Rocketts. Yearly Capacity, 20,000 Tons of Manufactured Fertilizer. Number of Men Employed 135

In 1865 they started business as dealers in fertilizers, and their trade assumed such dimensions in a few years that they commenced manufacturing. Thev have a large factory, located in Rocketts, thoroughly equipped, with all the modern machinery necessary to an extensive business, and giving employment to a large number of hands.

September 2019 — looking towards former factory location — note Rockett’s Landing at left

September 2019 — looking towards former factory location — note Rockett’s Landing at left

Their trade is principally located in the Virginias, Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee; and a representative of the house can always be found somewhere on the road, on business intent.

Mr. J. W. Allison is a native of this city, a Director in the National Bank of Virginia, and a member of the James River Improvement. Committee; also, President of the Old Dominion Fruit Growing Company.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement in the Farmville Herald — February 16, 1900

(Chronicling America) — advertisement in the Farmville Herald — February 16, 1900

Mr. E. B. Addison, formerly of Alexandria, Va., has lived here since the war, is a Director in the City Bank, the Virginia Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and a member of the Board of Police Commissioners. Mr. William H. Allison was born in this city, and has always been in his present line of business.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 2 — showing ownership of 1322 by W. H. & J. W. Allison — note Virginia Street used to continue all the to Lombard Alley

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 2 — showing ownership of 1322 by W. H. & J. W. Allison — note Virginia Street used to continue all the to Lombard Alley

Mr. John Addison, formerly of Alexandria, Va., has lived here since 1865, and has been connected with this house ever since. Is Director in Citizens Bank of Richmond, and Director in the Richmond Corn and Cotton Exchange. [IOR]

September 2019 — looking toward 1322 East Cary Street

September 2019 — looking toward 1322 East Cary Street

Allison & Addison may have been first and oldest, but that didn’t stop them from being acquired by the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company sometime between 1886 and 1900. The builders of the Chemical Building on South Twelfth Street also had operations in Richmond and would continue to until 1963, when they sold out to Socony Mobil Oil.

(Allison & Addison is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [IOR] Industries of Richmond. James P. Wood. 1886.
  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.

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Richmond Police, Mayor Stoney apologize after tear gas deployed before curfew on protesters

Protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday night and were met with a forceful response and the deployment of tear gas by Richmond Police – an action for which the department and Mayor Stoney later apologized.

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday afternoon and evening to speak out after the death of George Floyd. The group organized near both the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart Monuments on Monument Avenue and remained mainly peaceful until police approached demonstrators at the Lee statue and deployed tear gas, as can be seen below from the below Twitter video from VPM.

Around the same time, reports began coming in that protesters at the Stuart monument were attempting to bring it down. A young demonstrator scaled the base of the statue and took what appeared to be a hack saw to the leg of the monument’s horse in an effort to bring it down. Police responded by calling on protesters to stand down, citing the weight of the monuments and their potential to crush bystanders.

Richmond Police and Mayor Levar Stoney later apologized for the deployment of tear gas on peaceful protesters – well below the 8:00 PM curfew – saying it was uncalled for and inviting protesters to City Hall at noon Tuesday to “apologize in person.” For its part, RPD said the officers involved had been “removed from the field” and would be subject to disciplinary action.

The protesters then continued marching down Franklin Street, then W. Broad Street, where things fizzled out around 10:30 PM near 14th Street.

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PHOTOS: Protests continue for third day around Richmond, tear gas deployed as marchers ignore 8PM curfew

Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond.

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Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond. Protesters gathered at peaceful rallies on Brown’s Island and at the 17th Street Farmers Market downtown on Sunday morning.

Later in the day, another group formed at the Lee and Jackson monuments on Monument Avenue in the Fan. As dusk approached, the group made their way east on Franklin Street, turning onto W. Grace Street and then Broad Street near City Hall and Children’s Hospital at VCU.

An 8:00 PM curfew put in place by Mayor Levar Stoney did not deter most protesters, who continued marching and chanting until Richmond Police deployed tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd. Slowly, over the course of an hour, protesters dispersed.

Many businesses along W. Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the Arts District, already left cleaning up broken glass and graffiti Sunday morning from Saturday night’s protests, were left on edge, though there were far fewer reports of property damage Sunday.  Many of the businesses affected were small or minority-owned. By Sunday, many showed their support for the protests, spray painting “Black Lives Matter” or “Small/Minority-Owned” on their window coverings to both show solidarity and deter further damage.

Photographer Dave Parrish caught much of the Fan/Downtown protest Sunday afternoon and files these photos.

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Downtown

Must-See RVA! — John Marshall Courts Building

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

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May 2020
  • 800 East Marshall Street
  • Built, 1978
  • Renovated, 1994
  • Architects, C. F. Murphy & Associates; Helmut Jahn, project architect (1978). Hening-Vest-Covey (1994)

Straight out of Alphaville.

[ADR] — building in 1981 downtown survey

[ADR] — building in 1981 downtown survey

Designed by a nationally known Chicago-based architectural firm, the John Marshall Courts Building was intended to provide a neutral background to the John Marshall House. In this it succeeds. it is a slickly detailed glass box with rounded edges. The building is the best example of the “glass box” genre in Richmond.

(Montage) — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, undated

(Montage) — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, undated

C. F. Murphy & Associates are among the more skillful followers of Mies van der Rohe, who was the most influential architect of the 20th century. Their Richmond building has been controversial on both functional and aesthetic grounds. [ADR]

Designed to respect the Marshall House next door, the sleek, black glass box of the John Marshall Courts Building sets off the house, emphasizing its iconic, welcoming facade. This is perhaps its only success, because the court building has been plagued with criticism for its dysfunction. Recent alterations have attempted to correct traffic and security issues. (SAH Archipedia)

May 2020

May 2020

When your lead architect likes to wear capes as normal outerwear, and his detractors call him “Flash Gordon”, there’s a chance you might not get what you were expecting. Before you know it, you might be throwing around emotional terms like controversial and dysfunction and find yourself spending money to correct gaps in the original design.

(The Architect’s Newspaper) — McCormick Place, 1969-1971

(The Architect’s Newspaper) — McCormick Place, 1969-1971

After graduating from the Technische Hochschule in Munich in 1965, (Helmut) Jahn moved to Chicago to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology, a school long associated with the Modernist aesthetic of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his followers. On the basis of this solid design background, Jahn was hired by Chicago architectural firm C.F. Murphy Associates to work on the Miesian design for McCormick Place in Chicago.

(YouTube) — screencap from Helmut Jahn, FAIA Lifetime Achievement Award

(YouTube) — screencap from Helmut Jahn, FAIA Lifetime Achievement Award

In the late 1970s and ’80s Jahn made his mark, designing extravagant buildings that combined historical and contextual references—the central tenets of postmodern architecture—with high-tech engineering solutions. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

May 2020

May 2020

Jahn certainly has his admirers and adherents. He has completed over 90 building projects during his long career and has been widely recognized for his efforts, earning a Ten Most Influential Living American Architects award from the American Institute of Architects in 1991.

(Newspapers.com) — Helmut Jahn’s MetroWest building in Naperville, Illinois —Chicago Tribune Sunday, March 2, 1986

(Newspapers.com) — Helmut Jahn’s MetroWest building in Naperville, Illinois —Chicago Tribune Sunday, March 2, 1986

However, in the early days, his critics considered him “that postmodern enfant terrible who rocketed to stardom on the supercharged fireworks of the State of Illinois Building in 1985.” (Architecture Week)

A 1986 Chicago Tribune article about his MetroWest design in Naperville, Illinois called him a “flamboyant postmodernist, who adorns himself in capes and Porches.” It went on to observe that the building produced nausea in a nearby office worker, and concluded with relief that “at least nobody has dubbed it the Starship Naperville.” [CHIT]

May 2020

May 2020

With context like that, perhaps it’s not surprising that issues were found with the courts building. Not everyone digs the glass box thing, that’s easy to grok, but the functional issues are something else. The building opened in 1978 and just four short years Robert Winthrop was calling it controversial, so whatever problems existed must have quickly found a voice.

May 2020

May 2020

The precise nature of the complaints is obscure, but the building does not appear to respect the available space. Together with the John Marshall House, the courts building complex consumes the entire block, yet there is a large, empty plaza along Ninth Street.

May 2020

May 2020

It certainly looks nice, but by 1994 the City would find itself coughing up $2 million dollars for a renovation to create additional office space and another courtroom. [RTD1] At such cost, there probably weren’t a lot of plaza enthusiasts still hanging around.

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — John Marshall High School

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards) — John Marshall High School

Adding to the sense of injury, the new courts building came at the price of the beautiful old John Marshall High School. It too sat quietly behind the John Marshall House at the corner of 9th and Marshall and was considered a state-of-the-art facility when it opened in 1909, with large classrooms, elevators, and science labs, as well as modern plumbing, heating, and ventilation. [RTD2]

Alas, this sacrificial lamb was razed, and the school had to scoot to a new location in North Side.

(John Marshall Courts Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Note

  • A shout-out to Ray Bonis & Harry Kollatz for their tips and input on the courts building!

Print Sources

  • [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert P. Winthrop. 1982.
  • [CHIT] Chicago Tribune. Sunday, March 2, 1986.
  • [RTD1] Richmond Times-Dispatch. December 8, 1994.
  • [RTD2] Richmond Times-Dispatch. August 16, 1909.

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