Main Street, C’ville: 50 Years Ago


This look west from the 300 block of East Main Street is just one of many images you’ll see at our latest photo presentation on Thursday, April 11 at C’ville Coffee.  Show starts at 7 p.m.  $5 at the door.  This photograph was taken by Ed Roseberry 50 years ago.  The Jefferson Theater was showing the original “Pink Panther” film at the time. The photos in the show span over 100 years with dramatic changes to this part of Downtown.  Our “Tour Through Time” will take you down Main Street in a way you’ve never seen it.


Holsinger At 100: March 22, 1913

getStaticImageRufus Holsinger took this photo of the Jefferson Monument on the north side of the Rotunda 100 years ago today. The monument stands where the annex to the Rotunda had stood before the devastating fire of 1895. In this photo you can see the stone chapel through the trees in the distance, a building that was not part of Jefferson’s original design.  This scene looks very much the same today with the addition of a flag pole flying the Virginia state flag now located between Jefferson and the chapel.

A newly published article in the Washington Post discusses the research being done right now on the letters Thomas Jefferson wrote late in life.

Holsinger image courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library


Dr. George Ferguson

getStaticImage-16 - Version 2Last weekend I posted about the Sammons Family Cemetery that is in the proposed path of the Western By-Pass. This small cemetery includes, among others, Dr. George Ferguson, one of the first African American doctors with a practice in Albemarle County. He was photographed in 1915 by Rufus Holsinger in his studio on West Main Street.

getStaticImage-17 - Version 2Dr. Ferguson, age 37, with his two children. (Both Holsinger images courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library)


Holsinger at 100: March 20, 1913

getStaticImage-12Above is the next image in our series of photographs by Rufus Holsinger that we are featuring exactly 100 years to the day after he took them.

On March 20, 1913, Holsinger took this image of the West Range at the University of Virgina. Providing housing for students, then and now, the West Range remains largely unchanged from how it looked 100 years ago. West Range was where Edgar Allan Poe stayed in his short time as a student here in 1826. (His room was to Holsinger’s immediate left, just out of view in this photograph). Another well-known former resident here was Woodrow Wilson.

The taller section of the building straight ahead is known as “Hotel C”.  Originally built for lodging and dining, it has long been used by the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. During the Civil War the Confederate Army used Hotel C as a hospital.

Holsinger Image courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library (located today in the part of Grounds which was to Holsinger’s immediate right)

Main Street, C’ville: A Tour Through Time


On April 11th we will be giving our next photo presentation, featuring vintage images of Main Street in Charlottesville. This is a newly assembled slideshow of a wide range of photographs, some of which may be familiar to local history buffs, others that have never been shown before in public.  Join us on the second Thursday in April for this tour of Main Street in a way you’ve never seen it.

This event is being held at C’ville Coffee on Harris St. at 7 p.m.  Admission: $5 at the door helps to support the work done by the Charlottesville Historical Image Library (CHIL).



Holsinger detail billboards West Main


Top image by Ed Roseberry from the Roseberry Collection at CHIL.  Middle Image from the Coiner Collection at CHIL.  Bottom image from the Holsinger Collection, Special Collections, UVA Library.    Used by Permission.  Not to be reproduced.

Holsinger at 100: March 17, 1913

getStaticImage-10This second image in the “Holsinger at 100” series, also taken on the 17th of March 100 years ago, shows a less-familiar statue at UVA. This one is of George Washington on the Lawn in the Academical Village (Jefferson is out on the University Avenue side of the Rotunda; Washington, today, is tucked down in the shrubbery below Pavilion X).  In this photograph we can also see Randall Hall in the background.

Courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library


getStaticImage-27Beer had only been legal again in Charlottesville a few short years when Ralph Holsinger captured this image of a beer truck making a delivery to the Academical Village at the University of Virginia.  Charlottesville had endured an especially long dry spell.  In 1907 “Local Option” was voted on, essentially closing bars and pubs in the city limits and prohibiting the sale of alcohol. By 1916, the state of Virginia banned alcohol, and the entire country went dry in 1920. (Not that that really stopped people from drinking!) The 21st Amendment was ratified in 1933, ending Prohibition.  Eighty years later, for better or worse, PBR and Natty Boh are regular favorites here at UVA.

Photo courtesy Holsinger Collection, Special Collections UVA Library