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RVA Legends — R. H. Whitlock Tobacco Box Factory

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

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[IOR] — R. H. Whitlock Tobacco Factory — 1800 East Cary Street, circa 1886

AKA, Harwood & Jones, C. W. Hardwick & Co.
1800 East Cary Street

Once a box factory, always a box factory.

(VCU)* — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 2

(VCU)* — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 2

This is one of the oldest tobacco box factories in the city, and the largest in its line in the United States. The proprietor of this immense business has four factories, the largest, of which the following is an illustration, is at the corner of Eighteenth and Cary streets, Richmond, one in Danville, one in Lynchburg, and one at Tiffin, Ohio.

These factories have a working capacity for the consumption of 4,000,000 feet of lumber per annum. He employs about seventy-five hands directly, and several hundred indirectly in this industry.

(American Rails) — Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 “American Type” — St. Marys, West Virginia — circa 1910

(American Rails) — Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 “American Type” — St. Marys, West Virginia — circa 1910

The Tiffin factory is located in the best section of the Sycamore country, and the principal portion of the lumber used comes from this belt. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the North-western Ohio Railroad, both have side tracks running to this factory, thus affording competing freight rates to all points between the great rival corporations, the Baltimore and Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroads. The sidings are on the property of Mr. Whitlock.

(PicClick) — Old Virginia Cheroots tobacco box

(PicClick) — Old Virginia Cheroots tobacco box

Boxes in shooks are shipped in car lots at the lowest figures. The trade of this concern is chiefly through Virginia and North Caolina, but shipments are often made to foreign countries. Mr. Whitlock has been in this line of business since March, 1867, and he has ample means for all his purposes. He is an ex-member of the City Council. [IOR]

[RVCJ93] — Harwood & Jones’ Box Factory, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — Harwood & Jones’ Box Factory, circa 1893

Things change quickly in business. Whitlock died in 1893 at the tender age of 53. The building did not long remain inactive.

Harwood & Jones, manufacturers of tobacco boxes and shooks, at Eighteenth and Cary streets, are successors to R. H. Whitlock, who started this enterprise of theirs about the year 1867. Since the establishment of the business; so many years ago the manufacturing plant has been greatly enlarged and new machinery added from time to time, until, at present, the firm has unsurpassed facilities for carrying on the large and increasing business they enjoy.

(Farm Collector) — a Corliss steam engine which offered the best thermal efficiency of 19th century steam engines — Appleton’s 1885 Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics

(Farm Collector) — a Corliss steam engine which offered the best thermal efficiency of 19th century steam engines — Appleton’s 1885 Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics

Their factory is located on the comer of Eighteenth and Cary streets. It covers nearly one entire square. Steam is the power used to operate it, and the daily capacity is upwards of two thousand boxes of all description. Tobacco boxes are the leading specialty, and they are produced of excellent quality and superior workmanship, at a comparatively low cost, and are rapidly disposed of to the trade in all the tobacco manufacturing sections.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 45

This firm cuts upwards of 2,000,- 000 feet of lumber yearly, and, with the numerous advantages possessed, Messrs. Harwood & Jones are prepared to compete with any concern of the kind in this section of the country. [RVCJ93]

Unfortunately, they didn’t compete for very long. They took over Whitlock’s enterprise in 1893, and by 1905, Sanborn shows that it had transformed into C. W. Hardwick & Co., still making boxes.

[FLIN] — Mrs. R. H. Whitelock, the former Miss Lou Ford, circa 1891

[FLIN] — Mrs. R. H. Whitelock, the former Miss Lou Ford, circa 1891

Robert Henry Whitlock may not have been long-lived, but he does appear to have been lucky in love. Indeed, his wife was well regarded enough to rate an effusive and gushing write-up in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper:

Among the gay society leaders of charming old historic Richmond, Mrs. R. H. Whitlock stands conspicuous. Nor is her social success due to wealth, position, and and attractive personality than to the innate graciousness and kindness of heart — the true secret of abiding popularity — that is her fairest heritage.

Mrs. Whitlock excels in the beauty and elegance of her toilettes, Worth and her own inherent taste-combining always to make her one of the most effectively gowned women in any assemblage. She has a beautiful physique, and her skin is as white and smooth as marble A sharp contrast is furnished by her densely dark hair and brows. She entertains magnificently. [FLIN]

November 2019 — looking towards 1800 East Cary Street today

November 2019 — looking towards 1800 East Cary Street today

Whitlock plucked her from the wilds of Covington, Kentucky, and they made their crib on fashionable Franklin Street. [FLIN] Alas for Richmond, when he died Miss Lou found a new husband in William Ambrose Wilson of Kansas City, Missouri, which was where she died at the very young age of 42 in 1899. (Find A Grave)(Ancestry)

(R. H. Whitlock Tobacco Box Factory is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Note

Readers of this space who pay attention to things like the links for reference attribution should know that VCU Libraries has reorganized their public site, and has relocated the Baist Atlas maps. The correct link appears with this post. Sadly, however, there are not enough hours in the day to chase down and correct the hundreds of previous posts which will continue to have the incorrect link. Alas, Rocket Werks laments this condition.


Print Sources

  • [FLIN] Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Saturday, February 21, 1891.
  • [IOR] Industries of Richmond. James P. Wood. 1886.
  • [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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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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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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Friday Cheers cancels, postpones various concerts amid COVID-19

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

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Friday Cheers fans are devoted and unwavering, but in these times we must all be mindful that the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed our daily social interactions and we must all follow the directives of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order through June 10.

The governor’s order prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals.

With these guidelines, and for the safety of both our patrons and staff, we have made the following changes to the May Friday Cheers schedule:

  • Jade Bird with Sweet Potatoes that was previously scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2020 is cancelled.
  • Billy Strings with Andrew Alli and Josh Small is rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
  • RVA Music Night – Palm Palm is rescheduled for Friday, May 21, 2021.
  • Jay Som with Angelica Garcia – We are working to reschedule this show for Friday Cheers 2021 and will provide details when finalized.

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

2020 Friday Cheers Season Pass holders can still use their pass for the remaining June Friday Cheers events and for the rescheduled Billy Strings event on August 26, 2020.

In addition, as a thank you for your understanding during this difficult time, 2020 Season Pass holders will receive a 50% discount off a 2021 Friday Cheers Season Pass! TicketsToBuy.com will email current Season Pass holders with information about the discount which can be used when purchasing a 2021 Season Pass.

Those who have purchased a ticket online for any one of these May events may request a refund by emailing [email protected]com beginning Friday, April 3, 2020.

Venture Richmond Events, LLC and its staff work to produce an excellent experience for you on Brown’s Island, but we take the safety and health of our guests, staff, and community very seriously, and appreciate your continued support moving forward.

At this time, all other events produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC, including the June Friday Cheers events, remain scheduled as planned, but are subject to change. Again, thank you for your continued support of Friday Cheers.

Presented by: Pacifico
Sponsored by: CoStar, Dominion Green Power,  Delta Hotels by MarriottDrive Shack103.7 PlayRichmond.comStyle Weekly NBC12CW Richmond and Easley Made Catering.

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