Warehouse District



Our upcoming show, “Signs of C’ville”, will explore, among other things, the Warehouse District of Charlottesville, where many of the buildings would display plain, but very large signs of the goods and services they provided. The signs were often painted in large block lettering across the front of the building.


Holsinger Lovegrove

The slideshow can be seen on Thursday, May 9th at C’ville Coffee on Harris Street.  7 pm.  $5 at the door helps the Charlottesville Historical Image Library  build its collection and provide more shows like this one.

Black and White images by Rufus Holsinger, courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library.  Top image by Steve Trumbull

The Roseberry Collection Expands


We have just finished a marathon scanning session of Ed Roseberry images that has taken weeks to complete. We’ve digitized over 650 photographs from the original slides and negatives and added them to the ever-expanding Roseberry Collection at CHIL. It will take additional time to make edits (ok’ed by Ed, of course!) and do some restoring to the images that haven’t aged very well. But this all adds up to a new and expanded show that Ed and I are preparing for this coming July. “Roseberry’s Charlottesville, 2” will reveal some new discoveries, very rare images, and great stories to add to the Roseberry legend.





Signs of C’ville

Holsinger detail Paramount - Version 2Our next photo presentation in our monthly series at C’ville Coffee is titled: “Signs of C’ville: 100 Years of Signage and Storefronts”

On Thursday, May 9th, at 7 p.m. join us for a slideshow of images spanning the last century showing store signs, billboards, murals, and other signage from around Charlottesville.  Nothing connects you to the past like a classic sign of a long forgotten local landmark.

$5 at the door helps support our work scanning and digitizing images of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jefferson Opera House

getStaticImage-20This is the Jefferson Opera House which sat at the corner of 6th and Main, NW. about 100 years ago*.

DSC_3608Today, the corner looks like this. In both images, you can see the same top story window of the old Albemarle Hotel to the far left (known as The Gleason Hotel back then). You can also see the Baptist Church on 6th Street in the old photograph (barely visible just beyond the fly loft of the theater) and the same church with later renovations in the current day photo.

img516This image from the Norris Collection at CHIL shows the 600 block of West Main, with the Gleason Hotel in the middle of the block and the Jefferson Opera House on the far corner. The image is from a high resolution scan of a photo-postcard with a postmark of 1906.

*Note: There is some debate about the date of the first image.  K. Edward Lay, in his excellent book, The Architecture of Jefferson Country, dates the image 1915 and suggests that the building pictured has been newly constructed after a fire. The UVA library dates the image 1916. However, on close examination, the signage on the side of the building and at the grocery store next door, advertise beer, wine, and liquor, the sale of which was outlawed within the Charlottesville city limits in 1907 .

Update:  Our research has found that the Jefferson Opera House (or “Jefferson Auditorium” as it was called back then) was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1907.  The adjacent Baptist Church, on 6th Street was also damaged in the fire)

Top image courtesy UVA Library with edits by CHIL. Postcard photo from the Norris Collection at CHIL. Current day image by Trumbull Photography.

Looking Back: Charlottesville Motors

 This post was originally part of our Looking Back Series in the Daily Progress during the 250th Anniversary of Charlottesville in 2012. We will be reproducing and expanding on the Looking Back feature here on C’ville Images.

Charlottesville MotorsWestMainIn 1936, Ford Motor company announced it was manufacturing its three millionth truck. Despite the Depression of the 1930s, Ford continued to be a successful car maker and Charlottesville Motors, the local dealership, had success as well. This photograph by Ralph Holsinger shows the staff of the dealership in front of their location in the 300 block of West Main across from Inge’s Store (now West Main Restaurant). Not long after this photo was taken they would move to a greatly expanded location just west of the bridge on West Main Street.  Throughout much of the Twentieth Century, West Main Street, between the University and Midway (Ridge St.), was Charlottesville’s “Motor Mile” with auto dealerships and service stations concentrated in this part of the town.  The building seen in this image has been used for many other things over the years including a bowling alley and cable TV company.

For more about Charlottesville Motors including some rare images, see our updated post at Charlottesville Then and Now.

Photograph taken by Ralph Holsinger, courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library

Finding Skibo

A few weeks back I  posted about a motel that I had found a photograph of in the Holsinger Collection at UVA Library. Using some of the vintage postcards from the Norris Collection at CHIL I was able to determine that the photograph was of Skibo Lodge and it was located somewhere on Rt. 29, north of Charlottesville.  I circulated the photo and that bit of information around to many long-time Charlottesville residents to see if we could pinpoint where Skibo Lodge was.


Everybody from Ken Staples of Staples Barber Shop to the Rinehart Family weighed in. The photo was posted at the Senior Center and memories went to work trying to place it.  A few people recalled that it was “way out in the country.” Of course, 60 or 70 years ago, “country” started just outside the city limits.  Most of the responses, however, narrowed it down to the section of 29 near Fashion Square Mall, although there was some debate as to which side of the highway.  Close study of the shadows in one of our postcard images indicated that it was on the east side of 29.

img323Later, while looking through some aerial photographs from the Roseberry Collection at CHIL, I came across the above image of Berkeley, a new subdivision, built around 1960. 


DSC_30301-1024x711Today Berkeley is a quiet neighborhood with tall shade trees along Commonwealth Drive, just west of Route 29.

img323 - Version 2Looking closely at the Berkeley subdivision photo that Ed Roseberry took over 50 years ago, we can see a configuration of three buildings that match the look of Skibo Lodge from the early Holsinger image and the later postcards.

IMG_7347Using one of the United States Geological Survey maps from our library here at CHIL that includes both newer structures (purple) and older ones (black), we are able to see the Berkeley subdivision and Fashion Square Mall (large structure with cross-hatching).  In the very center of the map, just east of Rt. 29 we see a configuration of structures that match Skibo Lodge.

DSC_3017 Which places Skibo precisely at today’s southern entrance to Fashion Square Mall.

img511-1024x661This is the last known image of Skibo Lodge.

Holsinger image courtesy Special collection, UVA Library. Roseberry image and edit from the Roseberry collection at CHIL. Color image of Skibo from the Norris Collection at CHIL.  All other photos by Steve Trumbull. All work © 2013

Holsinger At 100: April 15, 1913

getStaticImage-4 This portrait is of Miss Betty Booker, an opera-singer turned boarding house matron, who kept a house on University Avenue for students at UVA for several decades starting in the 1910s.  Rufus Holsinger took this photograph 100 years ago today, when Miss Booker was in her late thirties.  Miss Booker was one of several women who ran boarding houses near the University in the early Twentieth Century.  According to Emma Rathbone, writing in the University of Virginia Magazine, “these women played the part of house mother, adoptive parent and stern Victorian governess, infusing their boarders with the grace and manners of true Southern gentlemen”.

DSC_3549Convenient to grounds at UVA, Betty Booker’s boarding house can be seen here on the right from the north steps of the Rotunda. The house is currently the location of the Provost’s Office.

Holsinger photograph courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library. Photo of view from Rotunda steps by Steve Trumbull.

1950 DeSoto Custom

DSC_4229Dolores Somers of Scottsville, Virginia poses with the same 1950 DeSoto she had posed with nearly 59 years ago.  She and her husband, Gil, were displaying the car at a show on Pantops in Charlottesville on Saturday, when she agreed to create this classic car “Then and Now.”

DSC_4228 Gil Somers in the driver’s seat of his 1950 DeSoto.

C’ville Coffee Show

IMG_5242Thanks to everyone who turned out on Thursday evening for “Main Street, C’ville” at C’ville Coffee.  The first in our monthly series, this one explored the history of the Downtown Mall portion of Main Street through photographs taken over the past century or more.

With various other events happening all over town that night we were thrilled to have more than 40 guests in attendance to view the more than 170 images. Jack Hammond, attending a CHIL presentation for the first time, had these kind remarks:

It was very informative the way you showed pictures, including narrative, of downtown Charlottesville one block at a time starting on the east end near City Hall and ending at the Omni. The fact that you had as many as 6 or 7 pictures of individual buildings from every possible angle from 1890 until today with all the changes that occurred was incredible. I couldn’t believe how many fires shaped the way the mall looks today including the reason we have Central Place. I plan to make it to as many of these slide shows as possible in the future.

Our next show is scheduled for Thursday, May 9th, same time (7pm), same place (C’ville Coffee) and same price (just $5).  We will be announcing the subject of the next show in a few days.

If you would like to hire a private screening of this show for your family or group, you can for just $200.  Contact Steve at steve@cvilleimages.com


“Main Street, C’ville”, 4/11

Holsinger Main Street Nook Location ERApr1971VinegarHillOn Thursday evening, one week from tonight, take a photographic tour through time down Main Street, Charlottesville. We will take a look at vintage photographs of some of the downtown landmarks like The Paramount, The Jefferson, and The National Bank Building as well as some locations that you may never have heard about. We have quite a few never-shown-before images, so come on out!

This will not be a dry history lesson full of names and dates to memorize, but rather a visual feast of photographic images that tell their own story. We will not be debating the pros and cons of the Downtown Pedestrian Mall nor reliving the controversial “urban renewal” of Vinegar Hill. That’s all been done before (and will certainly be done again). Thursday’s show will be a visual tour of Main Street over the past century that will hopefully bring a few surprises and leave you wondering about the past and imagining the future of Downtown Charlottesville.

C’ville Coffee, 4/11, 7pm. $5.


Top image by Rufus Holsinger, Special Collections, UVA Library.

Second image by Ed Roseberry, Roseberry Collection, CHIL.