Friday, February 27, 2015

Hey Richmond, Snow Shovels Exist. Use Them.

As we all know, there are many Richmonders who are lunkheads. Many of them work as bus drivers for the Greater Richmond Transit Co. Others work for the City of Richmond. Dozens have served on the City Council of Richmond. I can think of a few mayors who have been lunkheads. Many administrators at VCU are lunkheads. I could go on and on but I should save that for a new web blog (Richmonders Who Are Lunkheads).

In the last month, we have all seen evidence that there are many lunkheads in Richmond who don't shovel their sidewalks when it snows. Please share this post with folks you know who are lunkheads - those that do not shovel their sidewalks, parking lots, bus stops, etc. Snow shovels DO exist and are easy to use. Below is an image of a variety of them. Please use them. Don't be a lunkhead.

Snow shovels - they exist. Use them.

- Ray

Monday, February 23, 2015

Baist Atlas of Richmond (1889) now avialable online

View of the area around what is now the Monroe Park
campus of VCU from the 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond. 
 
For researchers and others interested in the history and architecture of late 19th century Richmond can now explore the city through a new resources that was recently added to VCU Libraries' Digital Collections

A fully digital and interactive version of the Baist Atlas of the City of Richmond , published in 1889, is available online. The atlas consists of an index map and twenty large linen plates (18 ½ inches tall by 28 inches wide) mapping all areas of the city including parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties and part of the City of Manchester, now Richmond’s South Side, which was then an independent city.
  • Examine the atlas map plates within the context and street views of a modern day Google map
  • Explore points of interest and historic images of Richmond 
  • Use a street index to research and discover 1889 Richmond at the street level  
Visit the site HERE.
An article about the Baist map digital collection is available HERE.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is this Bruce Springsteen in Richmond in 1972?

This image is the cover of Bruce Springsteen bootleg of a concert he and his band gave in Richmond at the Richmond Arena on March 17 1972. 

 IS this Richmond? Maybe E. Grace St. in downtown Richmond?  Can someone help?!?!?!

 I found it at this site.

 http://plumdusty.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html 

This is the back image of the bootleg record:



- Ray

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Richmond's Bull Market

In an America that was still far from completely literate, certain buildings, by their form, signal their purpose at a glance. Churches for the most part looked like temples, and civic buildings drew on Classical decoration to signal their gravitas and a dignity in design befitting their importance. Armories, with their crenelated towers, bespoke a martial stronghold and strength appropriate for a civil militia organization and a mandate for civic order. Seldom, though, has a municipal building broadcast its purpose more clearly than the signal from the 1886 Marshall Street Meat Market. 

 Original architectural drawing of Cutshaw's design for the Marshall Street Meat Market,
from the collection of the Library of Virginia. 

A one-story structure whose parapets were lined with large terracotta busts of bulls could only be a meat market, whose purpose complemented where other vendors of fruit, vegetables and fish gathered on Sixth Street. Designed by Richmond City Engineer Wilfred Cutshaw, municipal markets were important at the time. They ensured a sanitary facility to handle perishables like meat, they provided a central location for vendors and residents to meet conveniently, and they allowed City officials to monitor weights and measures, keeping sales uniform and prices fair. At one point, there were three such municipal markets in Richmond: in Shockoe Valley at 17th and Main Street, on Cary Street near VCU, and here on Sixth Street. 

Here is one of two of the Marshall Street Meat Market heads
that survive at the Farmer's Market on Main Street in Shockoe Bottom. 

Richmond architect Gibson Worsham has pointed out that the design of the 1892 Clay Ward Market (now the VCU Cary Street Gym) is in many ways a much larger version of Marshall Street Meat Market. Both buildings bear a resemblance to the Pension Building in Washington, D.C., whose distinctive design must have been well known before it was completed in 1887. The fact the Pension Building was designed by Montgomery Meigs, a civil engineer and general in the U.S. Army, may have made the design even more appealing to Wilfred Cutshaw as a former Confederate army colonel. An astonishing statuary frieze, depicting the U.S. Army on the move, decorates Meigs' building. Cutshaw, forever constrained by his departmental budget, settled on a series of bulls' heads as his distinctive, if less expensive, ornamentation for his much smaller market building.


The former Clay Ward Market, now the V.C.U. Cary Street Gym,
constructed soon after the Marshall Street Meat Market. 

Postcard image of what was then called the City Auditorium, ca. 1910.
Today is this is a modern university gymnasium building at VCU.

The Pension Building of Washington, D.C., built 1887.

A statuary frieze, depicting the U.S. Army on the move, decorates the Pension Building.

A 1913 advertisement for roofing tin in The Architectural Record illustrates what astonishing variety in architecture once enlivened the skyline north of Broad Street. Across the street from the bull-bedecked Meat Market is the 1910 Richmond Blues' Armory, whose stylized turrets rise up above the roofs of this residential section. Even the copywriter who was trying to sell "Target and Arrow" brand roofing points out the interesting statuary that decorates the meat market. 

Advertisement from the Architectural Record, promoting a standing-seam
metal roof used on the Marshall Street Meat Market and the Richmond Blues Armory, 1913.

After almost eighty year's service to the city, the Meat Market was demolished in 1964, and its bricks joined those of so many other interesting Victorian buildings in a Richmond landfill somewhere. Happily, the terracotta bulls' heads were salvaged and later sold by the City. Thirty-four of the heads, weighing 260 pounds apiece, were sold at an auction at the General Services building at Parker Field. 


The terra-cotta bull heads being removed by city workers prior
to demolition of the Meat Market in 1964. 

The bidders were a mixed lot. "I broke a hair appointment to get here," said Mrs. Jeanne Cabell, a sculptress and bidder on the heads. James Dwyer was bidding on them for the owner of a Goochland cattle farm, who wanted a pair for his entrance gates. Mrs. Andrew Metz wanted a bull head for her yard, but fretted about how well it would pair with her new statue of St. Francis. Thirty-four of the bovine busts were sold for a total of $1,710, not counting one that was given to the Valentine and six that were retained by the City for "future use." 

The bull heads were removed and placed on display the day
they were auctioned by the City of Richmond in a parking lot near Parker Field. 

The unworthy successor to the Marshall Street Meat Market is a concrete parking deck, the epitome of the soulless architecture of the automobile age. Happily, some of the survivors from the auction of the terra-cotta herd that once guided Richmonders to make their butcher purchases still exist. Two terracotta bulls can be still be seen at the current Market on 17th Street on Cary Street, now in their one hundred twenty-eighth year of watching Richmonders bustle by their high perch. Two more were found on gateposts in rural Bath County, marking the entrance to an estate. 


This one of two heads used in Bath County at the entrance to an estate. 

One more resides in the basement den of a suburban house in the West End, having once been a garden feature but is now inside, safe from the depredations of nearby U of R frat boys. Somewhere in this city, in gardens and garages, back yards and basements, the remainder of Col. Cutshaw's clay bulls still exist, the only mementos of Richmond's vanished Victorian meat market. 

- Selden.