I don't think words can do this amazing image of the entrance to VCU's Rhoads Hall justice, so just enjoy it's mid-century modern greatness. Sadly, when VCU opened Brandt Hall in 2005, they replaced this great entrance with something much more sterile. If memory serves me correctly, up to that point it had remained largely intact, including the hanging white lights.
I've often found great pictures for this blog, only to discover that the building was razed long ago. This is the first of (hopefully) many before and after posts I'll do of a house/building that has survived all these years and is still with us.
First up is the William Barret House, built in 1844 at the corner of 5th and Cary Streets. When this picture was taken in the 1930s, it had survived almost 100 years, including the Civil War and the burning of Richmond in April of 1865. Click the photo below for the high resolution image of this house.
And here is the house today, about 75 years later. It's now an office instead of a residence, but actually looks better than it did in the 1930s. If you look closely, you'll notice the tree on the right has also survived these last 75 years of change in downtown Richmond. Click the photo below for the high resolution image.
For those like me that always wondered exactly what the steel skeletons on Belle Isle looked like in their heyday, I present this aerial shot from 1908. Honestly, I was surprised at the number of buildings in this picture. If any foundations remain for a lot of these structures, they're buried under dirt, grass and trees. I'm glad this island was designated part of the James River Park System in 1973, because it allowed the island to return to the mostly wild state we all enjoy today.
The flyer below is for three of the nine shows Bruce Springsteen played at The Back Door with his band in February of 1972, 39 years ago this weekend. The Back Door was located at 929 West Grace St, and has had many names over the years, including Twisters, 929, Chronos Cafe and Nanci Raygun. It's the current location of Strange Matter.
Of all the pictures I've found through doing this blog, this has to be one of the most random, and one of my favorites. I present to you The Richmond Jobbing House, from January of 1970. If you're like me you're wondering: What exactly is a jobbing house? According to Wikipedia: "A jobbing house is a type of wholesale merchant business that buys goods and bulk products from importers, other wholesalers, or manufacturers, and then sells to retailers."
One question I have about this building is: Why is it for sale from four different realtors? I think this building's location was 1324 East Cary Street (across the street from Siné Irish Pub in Shockoe Slip), now occupied by a parking lot, like many other former Richmond buildings.
Sweet is a band that I didn't really appreciate until about 10 years ago. Sure, I knew the obvious radio songs like Ballroom Blitz, Love is Like Oxygen and Fox on the Run, but I didn't realize how great the rest of their songs were. This ad for their show on February 15th, 1976 at The Mosque (now The Landmark Theater) with Eric Carmen and Artful Dodger--35 years ago today-- was a little past their prime of the early 70s, but I still would have loved to have been there.
Only 7 months after his controversial first electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan rolled into town with his band to play The Mosque (now The Landmark Theater) on February 11th, 1966: 45 years ago today. He played this show in between New York City and Nashville sessions for his Blonde on Blonde album, which would be released a few months later. Tickets for this show were a whopping $2 to $3.75.
For years I wondered what this building at Broad Street and Allen Ave had been. It appeared to be some sort of shopping cart factory in the early 90s, but always seemed like it had been a department store at some point. It wasn't until years later that I discovered it had in fact been a Sears. The picture below was taken sometime in the late 1960s. In the background you can see the Sauer's sign is on a different building than it is today, and the Wards TV (Circuit City).
Here's an amazing shot of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (Interstate 95) being built in 1957, taken from what looks to be the edge of the former Navy Hill neighborhood, which unfortunately was mostly demolished to make way for the turnpike in the late 50s, and I-64 in the mid 60s. In the distance you can see Main Street Station, the construction of the I-95 James River Bridge, as well as the concrete walls that will eventually form the highway as it curves around downtown Richmond.
A great shot of the Willow Lawn Shopping Center parking lot from what looks like the early 60s. Love the cars in this picture, and of you look closely on the left, you can see the 5100 Monument Ave apartment building through what was then (and will be again soon) the open air "mall" in the middle of Willow Lawn. I was in the mall this past weekend, and it appears Old Navy is the only store left inside. They will soon be moving to the old Tower Records location outside, in preparation for the demolition of the mall, returning the shopping center to roughly the way it looked when it first opened in 1956.