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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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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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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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