Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Broad-Grace Arcade as it appeared in Richmond Magazine, June, 1929.

The Grace Street entrance to the Broad-Grace Arcade, as it appeared in
Richmond Magazine, June, 1929. Drawing by Charles W Smith. 
(click for larger view)

The Broad-Grace Arcade was situated on the 200 block of E. Broad Street (one could enter the arcade and walk through the building to the second entrance on the 200 block of E. Grace Street). The building was built alongside the Central National Bank building - both built in 1929 and designed by John Eberson (1875-1964). Eberson was a Romanian born American architect based in New York and is best remembered for his Art Deco movie theaters built throughout the nation. Carneal, Johnston, & Wright of Richmond were the local architectural firm carrying out the work.  

This image shows the Grace Street entrance (the arcade ran from Grace to Broad). It was originally a three story limestone-faced structure built to house various stores on the bottom with offices on the second and third floors. I am not certain when the Broad-Grace Arcade ceased to be - the building stands but it has been vacant since at least the 1980s. The Central National Bank (known to most Richmonders as the Central Fidelity Bank building) also stands vacant as of March of 2010. 

The view today from Grace Street.

Check out this view! 
(snow removal, 1960, image from the Library of Virginia)

Richmond Magazine was published monthly by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce from 1914 through 1933. Many of the magazine's cover illustrations in the late 1920s and early 1930s were provided by Virginia artist and educator Charles W. Smith (1893-1987).

Smith was a graduate of the Corcoran Art School and of Yale’s School of Fine Art. After teaching at the University of Virginia and in New York, Smith moved to Richmond to work for the printing firm Whittet & Shepperson. In 1927 he was the first professional artist to be hired by the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health (later Richmond Professional Institute and now VCU) to teach art. This occurred a year before a full time art program was developed by Theresa Pollak (1899-2002). Smith became chair of the art department at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont in 1936. In 1947 until his retirement in 1963 he taught art and chaired the art department at the University of Virginia. He died in Charlottesville in 1987.

- Ray B.


dmcgrann said...

I don't believe that the Broad-Grace Arcade ever completely ceased to exist, but it was remodeled in such a way that it became just an extension of the CNB building and ceased to be rental space. That was done sometime after the mid-1970's. In the late 1920's-early 1930's one of the features of the building was that it had a miniature golf course in the basement. At the time, miniature golf was one of those fads that was sweeping the country.

Ray said...

Thanks - just read your comment 6 years later.

Neat information - I appreciate it.