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RVA Legends — Butler & Wilson

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

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[IOR] — Woodside Tobacco Works — 505-517 Brook Avenue, circa 1886

AKA, Woodside Tobacco Works
505-517 Brook Avenue

Now we summon the spirit of Paul Harvey and tell you The Rest of the Story.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 6

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 6

The old Westham Tobacco Works were at one period among the most famous in Richmond, but upon the death of Mr. Oliver, the senior proprietor, in 1882, the business was divided up, the brands sold, and the premises variously occupied. In October, 1882, the young firm of Butler & Wilson leased the central factory, with all the fittings and improved machinery, and began the manufacture of plug tobacco.

(Rocket Werks RVA Cigarette Cards) — Butler & Wilson cigarette card, reverse

(Rocket Werks RVA Cigarette Cards) — Butler & Wilson cigarette card, reverse

The uniform excellence of their product and their energy and enterprise speedily brought them into notice, and their brands have already attained a wide popularity in the trade. They make all kinds of dark and bright plug.

Their leading brands are “Old Virginia,” *‘B and W Sweet Chew,“ “Tar Baby,” from fine Louisa county sun-cured leaf, “Pipe Full,” and others. Their product sells chiefly in the Northern and New England States and in export markets.

[RVCJ03] — Arthur St. Clair Butler

[RVCJ03] — Arthur St. Clair Butler

Mr. A. St. Clair Butler, the senior partner, was born in Richmond, and is the son of W. F. Butler, who was for forty years a well known merchant of Richmond. Mr. Butler is a practical tobacco manufacturer, having been responsibly connected for twelve years with one of the oldest and most famous of the tobacco manufactories in Richmond.

(Rocket Werks RVA Cigarette Cards) — Butler & Wilson cigarette card, front

(Rocket Werks RVA Cigarette Cards) — Butler & Wilson cigarette card, front

With these exceptional opportunities for learning all the details of the business, he is thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the home and foreign markets in buying, handling, and manufacturing tobacco. All the details of the work pass under his immediate supervision, and nothing but the finest goods ever leave the factory.

(Historic New Orleans Collection) — “Yellow Fever, N. O.”, sketch by Alfred Rudolph Waud,1871 or 1872

(Historic New Orleans Collection) — “Yellow Fever, N. O.”, sketch by Alfred Rudolph Waud,1871 or 1872

Mr. Littell Wilson, the junior partner, who had scarcely attained his majority when he embarked in the business, is the son of the late Rev. Dr. N. W. Wilson, who was one of the most eminent Baptist clergymen of the South, and who fell a martyr to his efforts in behalf of yellow-fever patients during the recent prevalence of the epidemic in New Orleans. Mr. Wilson is a young gentleman of the highest education and character, accurate and enterprising in business matters, and courteous and polished in his deportment. A young firm combining so much practical skill and business ability cannot fail to take a leading position in the commercial world. [IOR]

November 2019 — looking towards 505-517 Brook Avenue

November 2019 — looking towards 505-517 Brook Avenue

This 1886 entry from Industries of Richmond tells us about the early success of old-school tobacco man Arthur St. Clair, just 16 short years prior to his later enterprise, Butler & Bosher, and his subsequent royal screwing by James Buchanan Duke.

The area eventually transformed into Abner Clay Park, which despite its disastrous appearance today, is actually undergoing a makeover, expected to be completed in March 2020.

(Butler & Wilson 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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City of Richmond announces Small Business Disaster Loan Program

The Richmond Economic Development Authority on Thursday created the Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program (COVID-19), which will offer interest-free emergency loans of up to $20,000 to small businesses within city limits.

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The Richmond Economic Development Authority on Thursday created the Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program (COVID-19), which will offer interest-free emergency loans of up to $20,000 to small businesses within city limits.

The program is intended to provide relief to small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Monies will go toward paying employee wages, empowering local, small businesses to continue operating and keep employees on their payroll.

“Small businesses have made Richmond the thriving cultural capital we love,” said Mayor Stoney. “They’ve been understanding, patient and selfless in adapting to the recent social distancing guidance, no matter the economic consequences for them. This loan program is one way we can help provide some relief and support in this tough time.”

The maximum loan amount for the program is six months of current employee wages or $20,000, whichever is less. Loan payments will be disbursed over six months.

Repayment of the loans will be deferred for six months, followed by 48 months of no-interest payments.

Small businesses interested in applying should fill out the application and provide the required documentation via email. The application will be available starting Monday, April 6.

Funding is limited. Applications will be considered in the order they are submitted.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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