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RVA Legends — S. W. Travers House

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

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[RVCJ03] — Residence of S. W. Travers, 602 West Franklin Street

602 West Franklin Street (Residence)
Twenty-Second & Dock Streets (Warehouse)

Because you know someone’s got to do it.

[RVCJ03] — Samuel Winfield Travers

[RVCJ03] — Samuel Winfield Travers

S. W. Travers & Co. is a firm name notable in the fertilizer trade, not of Richmond alone, but of the South. It is notable as that of a house manufacturing on a large scale, and enjoying a very large and steadily-increasing trade.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 87 — showing former S. W. Travers House location

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 87 — showing former S. W. Travers House location

It was established ten years ago. Mr. S. W. Travers, the head of it, came here from Baltimore, where he had been in the same line of business. He had not been long a resident before he began to be esteemed a real acquisition to the business community. He has been especially active in public affairs of a commercial character.

November 2019 — looking towards 602 West Franklin Street at center left

November 2019 — looking towards 602 West Franklin Street at center left

He has enlisted for the entertainment of visiting bodies of distinguished strangers, has contributed liberally himself, and canvassed for funds for that and other public purposes, and has been actively identified in the work of the Chamber of Commerce for the last four years. He has taken a prominent part in the deliberations and the work of that body.

[IOR] — Young Men’s Christian Association Building, circa 1886

[IOR] — Young Men’s Christian Association Building, circa 1886

He has been chairman of its committee on Inland Trade for three years, and has recently been elected to the office of second vice-president of the Chamber, as an officer of which his portrait is one of those upon the frontispiece of this work. He is prominent, besides, as secretary and treasurer of the Richmond Chemical Works, and is president of the Young Men’s Christian Association. [RVCJ03]

(Digital Commonwealth) — advertisement for Orchilla Guano

(Digital Commonwealth) — advertisement for Orchilla Guano

They are the sole importers of Orchilla Guano for the Southern States, and this is their leading brand. The Orchilla Guano takes its name from the island from which it is brought, lying near the coast of Venezuela, to which government it belongs.

(Atlas Obscura) — a guano mine on Peru’s Chincha Islands, circa 1860

(Atlas Obscura) — a guano mine on Peru’s Chincha Islands, circa 1860

The guano is the deposit of sea birds feeding upon fish, hence is verv rich in Phosphorus, in the form of Phosphate of Lime. It was first introduced in York county, Pennsylvania, and Harford county, Maryland, and its sales are now enormous in those counties alone; and from this nucleus its sales have spread over many States, and now number thousands of tons each year.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, The Farmville Herald — Friday, April 21, 1899

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, The Farmville Herald — Friday, April 21, 1899

Orchilla has won a fine reputation for grain and cotton, but for growing grass and clover it stands perhaps without an equal It is said to produce clover where it would never grow before, and in this way it has brought up some of the poorest lands of Eastern Virginia to equal any in the State.

[IOR] — advertisement in Industries of Richmond, 1886

[IOR] — advertisement in Industries of Richmond, 1886

The “National” is an old and well established brand of fertilizer, and has won a fine reputation in growing tobacco, especially fine yellow tobacco. The “Capital” is the new brand of the firm, and thev have adopted as a trade mark the “Capitol” building at Richmond, Va., which has a place, not only in the history of Virginia, but of the Southern States. In its halls were held the counsels of the congress of the fallen Confederacy, and many a “Johnny Reb” will recall the stirring events of the times in viewing the fine cut of the building at the head of this article.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 46 — showing former guano warehouse

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 46 — showing former guano warehouse

The goods are of the highest standard guaranteed analysis, and are placed on the market strictly upon their merits. Ample means, backed by intelligence and push, coupled with a free use of printer’s ink, has enabled this house to assume a position in the field of fertilizers without a parallel. [IOR]

November 2019 — looking toward Twenty-Second & Dock Streets

November 2019 — looking toward Twenty-Second & Dock Streets

The factory of this firm is at Twenty-second and Dock streets. It has a capacity of 100 tons daily, which is equal to 30,000 tons a year. They manufacture a special fertilizer for each of the following crops, namely: Tobacco, cotton, corn, peanuts, wheat and vegetables. [RVCJ03]

Today both locations associated with S. W. Travers are no more, both of them transforming into everyone’s favorite downtown necessity — parking lots.

(S. W. Travers House 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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Virginia launches expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and New York City

The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

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Recently, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary Valentine joined DRPT and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) to launch expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and cities along the Northeast corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

The new train is the first expansion of service under Governor Northam’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program to significantly expand rail infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. The event ended with a ribbon-cutting and the inaugural train heading out of Main Street Station at 5:35 am with the Governor, state officials, and DRPT/VPRA staff on board. Early ridership numbers indicate healthy demand for the extended service.

The Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative is already receiving recognition throughout the country for its role in changing the future of transportation. At the District of Columbia’s Committee of 100’s bi-annual award ceremony, DRPT received a 2021 Vision Award recognizing the Transforming Rail in Virginia Program. Director Jennifer Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of DRPT, Governor Northam, and the Virginia General Assembly.

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Shockoe Illuminates Throws the Switch Tonight

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Shockoe Illuminates will be Dec. 3rd at the 17th Street Market. They’ll have local artisans with one-of-a-kind presents, boozy hot drinks provided by amazing restaurants, kids activities, carolers, roller skating, and more! Loads of information at the 17th Street Market Facebook.

 

Did you catch that there is roller skating?

We don’t need ice to have fun and skate! During Shockoe Illuminates on Dec. 3rd you can roller skate and then come back all weekend for more fun! $10 to rent skates or bring your own.
  • 12/3 5:00-9:00
  • 12/4 4:00-8:00
  • 12/5 3:00-7:00

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