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Downtown

Must-See RVA! — Brinser Building

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.

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May 2020
  • 208 East Grace Street
  • Built, 1930
  • Architect, H. Carl Messerschmidt

An overlooked Art Deco gem on Grace

May 2020

May 2020

For O. P. Brinser, Carl Messerschmidt created a jewel of architectural ornamentation. No other small building in the city has such a lavish display of sculpted decoration.

May 2020 — showing early Christian design ornamentation

May 2020 — showing early Christian design ornamentation

The style of the building was assertively modern with vertical pylons and an unusual central entrance. The ornamentation is related peculiarly to early Christian design motifs.

(Getty Images) — Deer, peacocks and grapevines, mosaic in the early Christian basilica in the city of Heraclea Lyncestis

(Getty Images) — Deer, peacocks and grapevines, mosaic in the early Christian basilica in the city of Heraclea Lyncestis

Traditionally, the grapes and vine were symbolic of either holy communion or drinking and revelry. The second interpretation was unlikely in Prohibition era Richmond. The first is inappropriate for a commercial building.

May 2020

May 2020

Art Deco ornamentation is concerned rarely with meaning or symbolism. It has been enjoyed for its decorative properties alone. This is clearly the case here.

[ADR] — building in 1981 downtown survey

[ADR] — building in 1981 downtown survey

The signage on the building is an almost perfect example of what a sign should not be and where it should not be located.

May 2020 — composite showing scarring from previous signage

May 2020 — composite showing scarring from previous signage

Moreover, numerous holes in the superb decoration indicated that this is not the first bad sign. Poor signs defacing fine buildings are a recurrent theme in American downtowns. [ADR]

May 2020

May 2020

Grace Street is littered with cool little buildings like this one — small commercial spaces constructed with actual time spent considering the aesthetics of the thing. Foster Studios or the Cokesbury Building just two blocks away are other examples.

(Brinser Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert P. Winthrop. 1982.

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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

Historic Slave Trail at Ancarrow’s Landing Closed for Bridge Work

The closure is to work on bridges.

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From RVA Trail Report

The Historic Slave Trail at Ancarrow’s Landing will be temporarily closed while the Trail Crew rebuilds the three worn bridges along the river. Please follow the detour signs during this time.

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Community

Pipeline Update Work Continues

The hope is that work will finish up at the end of this month. Work is taking longer than expected.

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From RVAH20:

Our work continues! It’s progressing! And it’s slower than we thought it was going to be.

Our team is doing detailed, meticulous work with an abundance of care, and doing it right! They’ve also faced some less-than-ideal weather and river levels that were too high.

Our crew is essentially papier-mâché-ing a 43.13″ diameter elevated pipe located in the James River (one of our more tricky, but also more beautiful, work locations) with layers on layers of mesh and more mesh and different sized mesh and epoxy. Before all that, our crews clean each pipe segment with acetone wipes to allow for excellent adherence.

Most importantly, we are SO sorry for the delayed repair process at Pipeline–we know no one likes an elongated trail closure, but we can’t rush this important work.

We appreciate your patience as we complete these repairs to protect the James River and your health and safety when you visit this spot so many of us favor!
The latest we heard was a hope that repairs would be complete by the end of this month. We will keep you updated as we move toward that end-of-October target!
Following the completion of the repairs, our team will once again CCTV (closed-circuit television) the pipe to get an internal look. Only after we check our work and give it the green light will the trail and beaches alongside it be reopened. Until then, Pipeline trail and its adjacent beaches are closed from Brown’s Island (under the 9th Street bridge) to the downstream, eastern end of the trail behind Virginia Street and Vistas On The James.
And, finally, an important reminder: all wastewater flows have been diverted upstream at Tredegar, so any flow you may see leaking at Pipeline currently is river water that’s seeping in from Haxall Canal, groundwater, and/or stormwater from rainfall.

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Downtown

Carmela’s Turning Off Pizza Ovens for Good

Carmela has been serving up pizza in Shockoe Bottom for the past three years.

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Posted to Facebook yesterday:

To our dearest customers, after careful consideration, we have decided to close our doors. We like to express our deepest gratitude to you all for your support and love for Carmela’s pizza over the past 3 years!
We like to thank our whole Carmela’s team, past and present. We’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished together and couldn’t have done it without your talent and great effort of everyone involved!!
We’re just incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have opened such a beautiful pizzeria. This may not be a goodbye forever, but for now, it’s the right choice for our family.
Thank you again for the sweet memories and for allowing us to serve you RVALots of love,
Victor & Melinda
Carmela’s
Carmela’s was located on 3 N 17th Street.

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