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RVA Legends — W. O. Burton

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

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[RVCJ93] — brick yard at Fifteenth & Hull Streets (foreground), 110 Foushee (inset)
  • 110 Foushee Street (Office)
    Fifteenth and Hull Streets (Brick Works)

A brickmaker who helped build Masonic Temple.

[RVCJ93] — William Oscar Burton

[RVCJ93] — William Oscar Burton

W. O. Burton, contractor and builder and manufacturer of brick, at 110 Foushee street, has been engaged in that line for the last ten years. He has a place on Foushee street, 150 feet square, covered by his shops and his office, which are built of brick, and has his brick-yards in Manchester.

May 2020 — looking toward 110 South Foushee Street today

May 2020 — looking toward 110 South Foushee Street today

He has from 120 to 150 hands employed, according to the state of trade, and he does a business in the city and its field of perhaps $150,000 a year.

Some of the finest structures in Richmond were built by him, among others, the new Masonic Temple here, one of the handsomest buildings of the South;

(Ancestry) — advertisement in Chataigne’s Directory of Richmond, Va. 1893-94

(Ancestry) — advertisement in Chataigne’s Directory of Richmond, Va. 1893-94

Grace Street Baptist Church, Lombardy Street School, the Davis Shoe Factory and the residences of Thomas Stagg and George B. McAdams. The Masonic Temple cost, complete, $150,000; Grace Street Church, $50,000; and these are illustrations of the character of contracts he takes.

[RVCJ93] — new Chamber of Commerce building, circa 1893

[RVCJ93] — new Chamber of Commerce building, circa 1893

He was recently awarded the contract to build the new State Library building, shown on page 25 of this work, and he is now completing the new Chamber of Commerce building here, which is to cost, perhaps, $150,000.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Manchester (1895) — Plate 7

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Manchester (1895) — Plate 7

Burton’s Brick Works, corner Fifteenth and Hull streets, Manchester, have a capacity of 50,000 brick a day. Their annual production is about 3,000,000 brick, and they usually carry in stock about 1,000,000. Mr. W. O. Burton, the proprietor — the same whose other affairs have just been described — is one of the best known Richmond builders and contractors.

May 2020 — showing former brick yard location at Fifteenth & Hull Streets today

May 2020 — showing former brick yard location at Fifteenth & Hull Streets today

He has an office in the city, as has been said, at the corner of Foushee and Canal streets, and he has built, among other large structures here, the Masonic Temple, Grace Street Baptist Church, and the “third tier” of the State Penitentiary. His brick yards in Manchester cover seven acres. He uses machinery and turns out both pressed and common brick. He employs about twelve teams, and more than a hundred hands. [RVCJ93]

[RVCJ93] — Residence of W. O. Burton Building Contractor — Grove Road, Western Suburbs

[RVCJ93] — Residence of W. O. Burton Building Contractor — Grove Road, Western Suburbs

The city directories list Burton as living in Manchester in 1877, and later 912 West Clay Street. Richmond, Virginia, the City on the James, 1893 edition, has a picture of his residence which it identifies as “Grove Road, Western Suburbs,” however precisely none of the available city directories identify him at such a location.

The natural conclusion is that they really meant Grove Avenue, but the setting depicted above looks pretty rural, with room enough for a windmill. The house also seems a bit out of character for a typical Fan or Museum District abode.

Kudos to anyone who can identify this location!

(W. O. Burton is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [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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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.

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

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Family of local freight and transportation company makes $2 million donation to children’s hospital construction project

The Children’s Hospital Foundation’s matching campaign effectively will double the gift to $4 million.

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A local freight and transportation provider has made a major gift towards the construction of the forthcoming Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU expansion. In addition to the company’s gift of $150,000, Estes family members committed $1.85 million to support the Wonder Tower, the new home for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s inpatient, emergency, and trauma services.

The two donations from Estes Express Lines and the Estes family were matched by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, maximizing the total investment in the Wonder Tower to $4 million. As part of the capital campaign to raise $100 million, the foundation is matching the first $25 million in gifts from the community.

“The support of Estes Express Lines and the Estes family is extremely meaningful. We’re grateful they’ve added their voice and support to our mission to build a world-class pediatric hospital in Richmond,” said Lauren Moore, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Foundation. “They’re truly a values-focused company and family, and their gifts reflect the importance they place on protecting children and their childhoods.”

“We are a family-owned business that’s had the honor of working with thousands of Richmond-area families for nearly 90 years,” said Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes Express Lines. “Children deserve the best possible medical care when they need it, and we’re proud to support Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, as a company, and as a family.”

As part of the donation, some areas of the Wonder Tower will be named in honor of Estes, including the hospital’s loading dock, a nod to their work as a freight carrier business. The gift includes additional recognition of the family’s generosity throughout the building.

Once complete in spring 2023, the Wonder Tower will bring world-class pediatric facilities to Central Virginia. Located in downtown Richmond, the 16-story tower will be home to CHoR’s Level 1 pediatric trauma center, emergency room, inpatient units, new operating rooms, increased imaging capacity, and family amenities — all in an environment created just for kids and their loved ones.

“The children’s tower is being built for and by our community thanks to generous friends like the Estes,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of CHoR. “It will be a beacon of hope for kids and families across the Commonwealth while helping us attract and retain top talent so our children have access to be the best care, close to home.”

In 2021, Estes Express Lines will celebrate its 90th anniversary as CHoR finishes its centennial year. “Let’s all come together to support the Wonder Tower, a special place where all families and children can receive exceptional pediatric care, right here in Richmond,” said Estes.

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