Two years ago this month the Medallion at First & Main was installed on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. Designed by Steve Trumbull (of C’ville Images and author of this blog) and funded by Steve, his wife Karyn, and a handful of generous friends, the quarter-ton granite marker was set in place to signify the center of Charlottesville.
This is the point where all street addresses go up from 100 in all directions. This is the point where East Main Street becomes West Main Street and where South First Street becomes North First Street. There are two Second Streets in C’ville, as well as two Third, Fourth, and Fifth Streets, and so on. But only one First street. This is the point where the city, like many bigger cities, is divided into four quadrants: NE, SE, NW, & SW. (A bit of trivia: Washington, D.C. has a similar medallion located in the basement of the Capitol)
The inspiration for this marker came, in part, from the late Preston Coiner (seen here in the foreground wearing a hat). Preston was well-known downtown for greeting passers-by and offering directions to anyone who appeared to be lost, looking for an address and trying to make sense of Main Street. He discovered that many people were confused about East and West Main Street since on the pedestrian mall they seamlessly flow together. We don’t know if our medallion has aided many people but we hope at the very least it adds a conversation piece to a downtown walk.
Next time you visit downtown Charlottesville and stroll along the pedestrian mall, take a minute to check it out. It is simple and understated, but it is our small gift to the city of Charlottesville.
More about the production of the medallion can be found here.
C’villepedia wrote about it here.
All photos by Steve Trumbull