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RVA Legends — Herman Schmidt, European Store

A look into the history of Richmond places that are no longer part of our landscape.

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(Chronicling America) — advertisement, The Jewish South — September 22, 1893
  • 500-502 East Broad Street
  • 504-508 East Broad Street
  • 832 East Main Street
  • Established, 1865
  • Demolished, 1982?

Just the place when you need specialty farinaceous goods: a store unfazed by the need for advertising.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 6 — showing Gro(cery) Stores at the north-east corner of East Broad & Fifth Streets

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 6 — showing Gro(cery) Stores at the north-east corner of East Broad & Fifth Streets

Hermann Schmidt’s “European store” occupies two places here, one at Fifth and Broad street, Nos. 500 and 502, and the other at 832 East Main street. He makes a speciality of foreign delicacies, wines and liquors, and imported goods of the finest grades. He does business chiefly in the city and State, to the aggregate of perhaps $75,000 a year. He employs 20 persons, and runs seven delivery wagons. He has the largest wine and liquor trade of any retail house here.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement in Presbyterian of the South — June 9, 1909

(Chronicling America) — advertisement in Presbyterian of the South — June 9, 1909

He has been very successful in the business, and he owns considerable real estate here. He is the proprietor of the Transparent Ice Works on Canal and Adams streets, and is also president of the Virginia Building and Loan Association, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. [RVCJ93]

Established in 1865 its history has been one of constant development and catering to the wants, necessities, and tastes of the public. One of the results of this was that its trade finally outgrew the accommodation of its quarters and some months ago it had to rebuild on its old site its present splendid and commodious structure.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Tuesday November 10, 1908

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Tuesday November 10, 1908

Hermann Schmidt explores the markets on both sides of the Atlantic for all that is best in the fancy and staple grocery lines. In the house will be found twenty-two kinds of farinaceous goods, all the brands of macaroni, twenty-eight varieties of nuts and table fruits, such as raisins, figs, citron, currants, twenty-odd selections of dried and evaporated fruits, scores of chocolates and cocoas, ever known wholesome brand of American and foreign biscuits, preserves, jams, and pickles in glass, various Chinese conserves, luncheon delicacies by the hundreds, all description of sauces, and fish in oil, &c.,

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, March 17, 1907

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, March 17, 1907

American German, French, Swiss and other cheeses, canned goods of all the celebrated canneries, prepared soups, mincemeats, and plumb-puddings, champagnes, clarets, Rhine and Moselled wines, domestic white wines, Sauternes, Burgundies, and Hungarian wines, ports, sherries, and Madeiras, brandies, rums, whiskeys, gins, malt liquors, cordials, &c. The liquor list in the convenient catalog published by the house and which should be in the hands of every housekeeper, fills pages.

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Wednesday, February 20, 1907

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Wednesday, February 20, 1907

The wines and brandies are of all vintages, and the whiskeys are of all ages. To say that the house of Hermann Schmidt has a magnificent Christmas stock would seem a waste of words, yet they have specialties in addition to the articles enumerated above in the way of countless delicacies for the holiday storeroom, many of which the general American public are not familiar with. Excellence of quality and purity are the watchwords of the concern. Mr. Carl Wipperman is the experienced manager and buyer of the house. [RICD]

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, February 10, 1907

(Chronicling America) — advertisement, Richmond Times-Dispatch — Sunday, February 10, 1907

Mr. Schmidt is a man of more than ordinary enterprise. He is the proprietor also of two grocery stores here—one on Broad and the other on Main street. He is the president of the Virginia Building and Loan Association, and is largely interested also in other local projects.

He is, in fact, one of the most subtantial men, financially, in the city. He is of German birth, but has been a resident here for twentyseven years, and for five years before that time was an exporter and importer of New York city. [RVCJ93]

March 2020 — looking towards the former 500-508 East Broad Street

March 2020 — looking towards the former 500-508 East Broad Street

The north-east corner of Broad Street underwent massive changes as the result of Project One, and is today the home to one of its survivors, the Broad Street Marriott built 1982-1984.

Project One was Richmond’s kitchen sink attempt at urban renewal in the early 80′s. It had everything: a new convention center, office tower, plus this thing called Sixth Street Marketplace, based on Norfolk’s Waterside concept. And there would be these two long-established Richmond fixtures — Thalhimers and Miller & Rhoads — helping ground the experience.

So not everything turned out well, but the Marriott managed to survive and even play host to a boatload of cyclists during the UCI championship in 2015.

(Hermann Schmidt, European Store is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [RICD] Richmond Dispatch. Wednesday, December 5, 1894.
  • [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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Virginia Business Reporting that the Bally’s Casino No Longer in the Running

There are only two casino options now on the table.

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Caught this news this morning on Virginia Business:

The city of Richmond has cut the $650 million Bally’s casino proposal from consideration, leaving two competitors, the mayor’s office announced Wednesday morning.

The Live! Casino & Hotel proposal by The Cordish Cos. and ONE Casino and Resort, proposed by Radio One Inc., are the only two options now being considered by an evaluation panel named by the city.

“We appreciate Bally’s interest to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” Leonard Sledge, director of the city’s Department of Economic Development, said in a statement.  “The evaluation panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline. We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”

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Herbs Galore & More at Maymont

Get your tickets now for Herbs Galore & More to be held Saturday, April 24, 8am-3pm.

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Spring is in the air and it’s time to get plants into the dirt. Herbs Galore & More is a great spot kickstart your garden and/or yard.

Put on your gardening shoes, grab your little red wagon and come out to the Marketplace on the Lawn for everyone’s favorite plant sale! The event will feature extra space between vendors, wide aisles and a spacious layout for a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all guests.

$7 per person/free for members and children ages 12 and under.
Please purchase your tickets in advance.
Get Your Tickets and More Info Here

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A quirky ‘yield to pedestrians’ sign on Brookland Park Boulevard is serving as an experiment in driver behavior

An interesting experiment is taking place in the Brookland Park area at the intersection of traffic, human behavior, and safety – and it’s all playing out on the r/rva Subreddit.

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An interesting experiment is taking place in the Brookland Park area at the intersection of traffic, human behavior, and safety – and it’s all playing out on the r/rva Subreddit.

After a yield for pedestrians sign was placed in the middle of Brookland Park Boulevard at Richmond-Henrico Turnpike, intrepid citizens, and Reddit user AndrewTheGovtDrone specifically, have documented drivers’ awareness (or lack thereof) of the sign, placed hats, balloons, and other items on or around the sign to see if or how it affects driver behavior, and witnessed it be struck by vehicles more than 30 times – and those were just the incidents caught on a video camera set up for a mere 16 hours.

Some stats about the sign and what affected driver behavior from the original post:

General Stats

The videos were taken on Thursday, April 8th (4/8/21). Saturday, April 10th (4/10/21) and Monday, April 12th (4/12/21). Altogether, the videos captured over 16 hours of intersection activity. The below stats are derived from the review of that footage. During this period:

  • 655 vehicles made the left turn off of Richmond-Henrico Tpk onto Brookland Park Blvd.

  • Of the 655 vehicles, 29 were “Commercial vehicles”( i.e. trucks, vans, uHauls, box-trucks, delivery trucks, buses, etc.). Pickup trucks and SUVs were not considered “Commercial vehicles” unless they were towing a trailer.

  • The sign was struck at least 22 times during these three days. It is entirely possible that additional collisions happened before the camera was deployed and/or after the camera died.

  • No commercial vehicles ever struck the the sign. All were able to navigate the intersection without colliding with the pedestrian sign.

  • Based on the data, drivers turning left onto BPB navigate the intersection without issue 96.6% of the time. In other words, the overwhelming majority of drivers are able to make a proper and safe turn. Collisions were not related to type of car being driven as all car types were shown to be capable of making the turn successfully if driven correctly.

  • During this period, 229 pedestrians were recorded crossing the intersection. This is likely a significant undercount due to the placement of the camera. The majority of pedestrians were bikers and dog-walkers.

Additional Information
  • As silly as the balloons were, they had a significant positive impact on driver behavior. Prior to the balloons, the sign was hit six (6) times on Monday. Following the balloon placement, the sign was hit only one (1) time.

  • Interestingly, drivers seemed to make the turn “most appropriately” (i.e. a squared-off turn) during high-traffic periods. When there was oncoming traffic, users took extra precaution to not cross the yellow lines and complete their turn “inside” the intersection. Drivers were generally more “reckless” when the roads were open.

  • The majority of pedestrians using the intersection crossed in the intersection on the “other” crosswalk, the one not being desecrated. However, the crosswalk that our champion guards is high-volume for users of the bus system.

  • At least one (1) couple hung out at the intersection for about 30 minutes waiting to see someone run our sign over. Fortunately for our sign and unfortunately for them, no one trampled him.

  • There were either two (2) separate Carvana deliveries observed or someone returned their Carvana vehicle a few days after receiving it. I’d love to get to the bottom of this.

  • As many have anecdotally reported, drivers seem unsure about what is expected of them when they approach these signs. Some slow down, most carry on without changing behavior, a small subset come to a complete stop. The City may do well to better communicate the expectations for both drivers and pedestrians related to the signs.

Based on what I saw, the takeaway is pretty clear: the sign is not the problem. #RVASIGNGANG #SIGNMEUP

As one commenter said in the original post, data is sexy, and while these experiments are entertaining, the more important outcome is that it’s all bringing attention to Richmond’s lack of pedestrian infrastructure and drivers’ carelessness at particularly nefarious intersections such as this one.

You can follow along with the sign’s saga here. A a few photos from the great experiment are below.

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