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RVA Legends — E. T. Pilkinton

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

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[IOR] — E. T. Pilkington — 514 North Twelfth Street, circa 1886 — three years after the death of its founder

AKA, W. W. Russell, Chas. Millhiser’s Cigar Factory #135
514 North Twelfth Street

Another tobacco factory that changed hands many times.

(Antique Tobacco) — Fruits and Flowers Mixture Tin

(Antique Tobacco) — Fruits and Flowers Mixture Tin

Manufacturers of all styles and grades of Smoking Tobacco, No. 514 North Twelfth street. This is the oldest and the largest factory engaged exclusively in the manufacture of smoking tobacco in the city, and for twenty-six years has “Fruits and Flowers” been upon the market as their leading brand.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 5

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 5

Its reputation is known to the lovers of a good smoke on two Continents, and no brand made in this city is better known to the local trade The capacity of the factory is 1,200,000 pounds per annum. They employ forty hands; have three commercial salesmen on the road: local agents all over the United States, and sell to the trade throughout America, Australia, and England.

(Find A Grave) — William Walden Russell

(Find A Grave) — William Walden Russell

This business was founded by the late E. T. Pilkinton in 1860, who managed the concern until his death in January, 1883, since which time Mr. W. W. Russell has been the proprietor. Mr. Russell has had many years experience in tobacco, and was connected with this house for years prior to becoming the owner of the business. He is a native of Virginia, and a former resident of Petersburg. [IOR]

[RVCJ93] — W. W. Russell’s Tobacco Factory, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — W. W. Russell’s Tobacco Factory, circa 1893

Eventually, respect for the previous ownership and branding faded.

W. W. Russell, manufacturer of fine smoking tobaccos at 514 North Twelfth street, has been established in that line of business since 1882; for the first eight years of this period under the firm name of E. T. Pilkinton & Co., though he was sole proprietor. Two years ago he discontinued the use of that name, as well as the manufacture of their brands, and has since been devoting his attention to fine and fancy smoking tobaccos.

(Antique Advertising) — Virginia Creeper Granulated Mixture Tin

(Antique Advertising) — Virginia Creeper Granulated Mixture Tin

His leading brands are the “Virginia Creeper,” “Topaz,” and “Queen of Virgina.” He manufactures more granulated smoking tobacco than any other house here, and he covers a larger trade territory than any other here also. He has four men on the road in his interest, and his fancy smoking mixtures are sold all over the United States. His factory has a capacity of a million pounds a year.

Mr. Russell is a Virginian, twenty-one years resident of Richmond. A cut accompanying this notice shows the outward appearance of his establishment. [RVCJ93]

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 74 — showing the former E. T. Pilkington location now as Chas. Milhiser’s (sic) Cigar Factory #135

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 74 — showing the former E. T. Pilkington location now as Chas. Milhiser’s (sic) Cigar Factory #135

By 1905, the property had been taken over by Charles Millhiser, another well-established tobacco man, for his cigar manufacturing operations.

The “Virginia Star” cheroot factory, Mr. Charles Millhiser’s establishment, which is shown in the cut accompanying this matter, is one of the representative and most notable concerns of its line at Richmond. It has 150 Mr. Millhiser first embarked in the trade in 1885, and he is one of the most substantial manufacturers of his line. He has resources and property to back him, and the enterprise to maintain the lead he has gained over competing concerns.

[RVCJ93] — “Virginia Star” Cheroot Factory, location unidentified, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — “Virginia Star” Cheroot Factory, location unidentified, circa 1893

He has five men on the road selling for him. They cover nearly the entire United States, and he sells besides, largely, through brokers and others, in all the principal cities. The “Virginia Star” cheroot is his specialty, although he makes also a number of other brands. It forms—such is the demand for it—nine-tenths at least of his output. It is made of superior stock, and is of the best workmanship. It is produced from the best New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Havana leaf, under the close inspection of competent heads of departments.

[RVCJ93] — Charles Millhiser, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — Charles Millhiser, circa 1893

Mr. Millhiser gives the business personal supervision. He brings to his labors a long and varied experience, not merely of tobacco in its divers commercial forms, but of business generally. He is a native of the city, and was in general mercantile pursuits from 1866 until 1879.

In that year he went into the manufacture of cigars, and afterwards included the trade in leaf tobacco; and after spending six or seven years profitably in that line became one of the pioneers of cheroot manufacture here, by establishing the “Virginia Star” factory and brand. He is, as we have said, a man of solid resources and high character, and is well known and highly esteemed here. [RVCJ93]

December 2019 — looking towards 514 North Twelfth Street today

December 2019 — looking towards 514 North Twelfth Street today

And so was it true in 1893. By the time of the 1903 edition of Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James, Millhiser is no longer a darling of the Chamber of Commerce, or perhaps didn’t pay to be in the book, and is unmentioned.

Today, the corner on the alley where E. T. Pilkington stood is now completely consumed by the Harry Lyons Building of the VCU Health School of Dentistry.

[IOR] [RVCJ93] — side-by-side comparison of the 1886 (left) and 1893 (right) depictions of 514 North Twelfth Street

[IOR] [RVCJ93] — side-by-side comparison of the 1886 (left) and 1893 (right) depictions of 514 North Twelfth Street

It’s interesting to note that while the 1893 edition of Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James reused some illustrations from Industries of Richmond, that is not the case here. It is clearly not a reworking of a previous photo; the street scenes and cloud patterns are completely different.

(E. T. Pilkington is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [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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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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Tethering bill adds new protections for animals kept outside

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

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By Ada Romano

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

Senate Bill 272, introduced by Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, would increase the required length of the tether from 10 feet or three times the length of the animal to 15 feet or four times the length of the animal. Under the bill, pets can’t be tied during a heat advisory or if a severe weather warning has been issued, including hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warnings. The bill outlaws tethering in temperatures 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and when an owner is not home. Last session, a bill expanded the law from a 3-foot tether to 10 feet. That bill, introduced by Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, originally carried the same language as Bell’s current bill, but it was amended by a Senate committee.

Robert Leinberger, animal control supervisor for Richmond Animal Care and Control, said that some parts of the bill may be difficult to enforce. Still, if the legislation gets passed, Leinberger said, it will make a difference because people will be forced to be more aware of the law. He said more people will call to report instances of animals being improperly tethered.

“For example, if it’s inclement weather when it’s really super cold or really super hot, then we do occasionally see more calls for service because of the animals left out,” Leinberger said.

Kate Riviello, a New York-based animal rights activist who also works in Virginia, supports that the bill outlaws outdoor tethering when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Virginia law currently requires that an animal must have access to water, but the water doesn’t make a difference if it freezes, she said.

Riviello also supports “Tommie’s Law,” legislation passed last year that made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. The law is named after a pit bull that died after he was set on fire. Riviello said she is happy to see the changes Virginia is making to protect the rights of animals but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to continue in the right direction.

“With ‘Tommie’s law,’ I think it was really tremendous that they took that step,” Riviello said. The key also is to enforce animal rights’ laws, Riviello said, which isn’t always the case.

Leinberger said implementing animal rights’ legislation is important because it enables people to better care for their pets. Tethering is just one issue that needs to be addressed, he said.

The bill is awaiting action by the Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

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PHOTOS: Switch’s new concept, 84, takes things back to 1984

The restaurant with quarterly rotating themes is kicking it in the ’80s for the foreseeable future.

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Better start with ellipses as Pac-Man can come eat them! Or spots on a Lite-Brite Board waiting to be filled in with whatever colors and shapes you want.

@thenightowl Mikael Broth has brilliantly painted murals depicting pop culture in 1984: Prince & Purple Rain, Madonna, and the material girl, Michael Jackson as the zombie in Thriller eating popcorn (which seems totally hilarious and wrong across from Gizmo who will undoubtedly be up after midnight).

Stools between seats are painted as Rubix cubes awaiting solving. A bloodied Dr. Indiana Jones watches over the bar on one side while Tetris pieces fall on the other side.

Underneath the seats is Pinky, no Blinky, no maybe that’s Clyde chasing those pellets.

Immerse yourself in memories or if you are younger, dive straight into the tank that is Pop Culture of 1984 on display at Switch.

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The Valentine announces 2020 Richmond History Makers

Today, the Valentine announced the six honorees that will be recognized at the 15th Annual Richmond History Makers & Community Update. This program promotes and celebrates the bold, innovative and often unsung work of individuals and organizations who strive to improve their communities.

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Today, the Valentine announced the six honorees that will be recognized at the 15th Annual Richmond History Makers & Community Update. This program promotes and celebrates the bold, innovative and often unsung work of individuals and organizations who strive to improve their communities.

On Tuesday, March 10th at Virginia Union University, the honorees will be celebrated in a room full of family, friends, local leaders, community advocates, non-profit representatives and more.

“After 15 years recognizing the best the Richmond Region has to offer, we are more excited than ever to celebrate our 2020 honorees,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Our new partnership with the Community Foundation, our return to Virginia Union University and our incredible group of winners are all a part of the Valentine’s wider goal of supporting and strengthening this program through continued community engagement.”

The 15th anniversary of this program also marks the first time the Valentine has partnered with the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond to provide an update on the progress being made across the region.

“Celebrating the Richmond History Makers honorees is a perfect way to reflect on the progress we’ve made as a city as well as the issues that continue to require unified effort,” said Community Foundation Chief Community Engagement Officer Scott Blackwell. “By providing an update on where we are as a region, we can celebrate the honorees while inspiring others in the community to take action.”

The honorees were nominated by members of the Richmond community according to six categories and chosen by a Selection Committee made up of LMR (Leadership Metro Richmond) graduates and former Richmond History Makers Honorees.

“We received nearly 100 nominations this year, and from that large pool of impressive candidates, six incredible honorees were chosen,” said Myra Goodman Smith of Leadership Metro Richmond. “LMR is honored be a part of this program for the 15th year in a row, and we look forward to joining with members of the Richmond community in recognizing these groundbreaking individuals and organizations.”

The 2020 Richmond History Makers and their categories include:

  • For Creating Quality Educational Opportunities, ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation
  • For Championing Social Justice, Tanya Gonzalez, The Sacred Heart Center
  • For Promoting Community Health, Jeannette Cordor, Faces of HOPE
  • For Improving Regional Transportation, Charles Rasnick
  • For Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions, BLK RVA Action Team
  • For Advancing our Quality of Life, Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia

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