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RVA Legends — Charles D. Hill & Co.

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

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[IOR] — 1412-1416 East Cary Street
  • 1410-1416 East Cary Street

Another tobacco merchant in a town filled with them.

[RVCJ93] — Charles Watkins, who would later leave Hill, Skinker & Watkins to form his own Charles Watkins & Co. in 1882

[RVCJ93] — Charles Watkins, who would later leave Hill, Skinker & Watkins to form his own Charles Watkins & Co. in 1882

Grain, Leaf Tobacco, and General Commission Merchants. No firm in Richmond, either—in amount of business, extent of facilities, or excellence of location, surpasses that of Charles D. Hill & Company. Mr. Hill has lived in Richmond since 1857, and has since 1866, been connected with the leaf tobacco trade. In that year he organized the firm of Hill & Poteat, Leaf Tobacco Commission Merchants, and afterwards was, at various times, a member of Hill & Skinker, and Hill, Skinker & Watkins, both of which were noted in the tobacco trade.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 15 — showing Center Warehouse

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1886) — Plate 15 — showing Center Warehouse

In 1882, he entered business alone, under the title at the head of this notice, the company being nominal. His place of business Centre Warehouse, is probably the largest in the city, and has a storage capacity for 3000 hogsheads of tobacco. From early in the Colonial History of Virginia, tobacco warehouses have played a prominent part in her social and business life, being the gathering place for Virginians, as the village was to the New Englanders. The planters only money crop was brought to them, and at the same place he received tobacco notes, the currency of the day. Here were the blacksmith’s shop and the tavern, and here too, if it was on a river, as was generally the case, came the ships from “home” England.

March 2020 — looking towards the former 1410-1416 East Cary Street — the tobacco storage building where the parking lot stands today, and Centre Warehouse across the alley in today’s parking lot

March 2020 — looking towards the former 1410-1416 East Cary Street — the tobacco storage building where the parking lot stands today, and Centre Warehouse across the alley in today’s parking lot

Though, of course, many of these features have changed, yet warehouses, and especially the massive built Centre, are objects of great interest, and are frequently visited by strangers, who look curiously at the “breaks.” There is a stable attached for teams hauling tobacco from the country. Besides leaf tobacco, the house does a very extensive grain and general commission business, and exports tobacco to England. Mr. Hill “has a business reputation second to none, and is widely known as an unsurpassed judge of the staples he handles. He is also engaged in the manufacture of the “Virginia Weed,” and is President of the Pemberton & Hill Company. [IOR]

(Charles D. Hill & Co. 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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Majority of Virginia to enter Phase Two of reopening; Richmond to remain in Phase One for now

Richmond and Northern Virginia will remain in Phase One while surrounding localities can now ease restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining, and other uses.

RVAHub Staff

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Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Sixty-Five and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Governor also amended Executive Order Sixty-One directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase One.

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase Two on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Executive Order Sixty-Five modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Sixty-One and Sixty-Two and establishes guidelines for Phase Two. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase One on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase One to allow for additional monitoring of health data. Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase Two with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.

Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase Two.

Phase Two guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase One guidelines sectors are available here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Five and Order of Public Health Emergency Six is available here.

The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-One can be found here.

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Richmond Police, Mayor Stoney apologize after tear gas deployed before curfew on protesters

Protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday night and were met with a forceful response and the deployment of tear gas by Richmond Police – an action for which the department and Mayor Stoney later apologized.

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday afternoon and evening to speak out after the death of George Floyd. The group organized near both the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart Monuments on Monument Avenue and remained mainly peaceful until police approached demonstrators at the Lee statue and deployed tear gas, as can be seen below from the below Twitter video from VPM.

Around the same time, reports began coming in that protesters at the Stuart monument were attempting to bring it down. A young demonstrator scaled the base of the statue and took what appeared to be a hack saw to the leg of the monument’s horse in an effort to bring it down. Police responded by calling on protesters to stand down, citing the weight of the monuments and their potential to crush bystanders.

Richmond Police and Mayor Levar Stoney later apologized for the deployment of tear gas on peaceful protesters – well below the 8:00 PM curfew – saying it was uncalled for and inviting protesters to City Hall at noon Tuesday to “apologize in person.” For its part, RPD said the officers involved had been “removed from the field” and would be subject to disciplinary action.

The protesters then continued marching down Franklin Street, then W. Broad Street, where things fizzled out around 10:30 PM near 14th Street.

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PHOTOS: Protests continue for third day around Richmond, tear gas deployed as marchers ignore 8PM curfew

Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond.

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Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond. Protesters gathered at peaceful rallies on Brown’s Island and at the 17th Street Farmers Market downtown on Sunday morning.

Later in the day, another group formed at the Lee and Jackson monuments on Monument Avenue in the Fan. As dusk approached, the group made their way east on Franklin Street, turning onto W. Grace Street and then Broad Street near City Hall and Children’s Hospital at VCU.

An 8:00 PM curfew put in place by Mayor Levar Stoney did not deter most protesters, who continued marching and chanting until Richmond Police deployed tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd. Slowly, over the course of an hour, protesters dispersed.

Many businesses along W. Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the Arts District, already left cleaning up broken glass and graffiti Sunday morning from Saturday night’s protests, were left on edge, though there were far fewer reports of property damage Sunday.  Many of the businesses affected were small or minority-owned. By Sunday, many showed their support for the protests, spray painting “Black Lives Matter” or “Small/Minority-Owned” on their window coverings to both show solidarity and deter further damage.

Photographer Dave Parrish caught much of the Fan/Downtown protest Sunday afternoon and files these photos.

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