C’ville Images explored Poe at UVA in our recent post with history researcher Lisa Bergstrom, and now you can explore many more Poe-connected towns and landmarks from New England to South Carolina in the book, “Poe-Land” by J.W. Ocker.

Here are a few of Charlottesville’s Poe-related sites with Ocker’s book in place. If you’re a fan of E.A. Poe, history, or travel, buy the book and enjoy the journey into Poe-Land yourself- by automobile or armchair.

Poeland Range Room
The doorway to #13 West Range, kept as a shrine to Poe at UVA since 1909

_DSC8129The entrance to Poe Alley in the Academical Village at UVA

Poeland Alley KT2Karyn Trumbull with “Poe-Land” at the medallion dedicated to Poe at the top of Poe Alley. The medallion includes the dates of Poe’s life, 1809-1849, as well as the date he attended the University, 1826.  In the middle of the marker is a Raven (background) and the bust of Pallas Athena (foreground), both connected with the Poe poem “The Raven.”

Poeland bust
A bust of E.A. Poe by sculptor George Julian Zolnay was unveiled at UVA 115 years ago this month. The bust currently resides in Alderman library, often decked out for the latest holiday, perhaps none more appropriate for Poe than Halloween.

© 2014 C’ville Images




Poe At UVA


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sharing Albemarle County with a couple who are 83 years old and making their first visit here from South Africa.  I walked them through the Academical Village at the University of Virginia with the intent of showing them the Lawn.  We turned a corner and ended up in Poe Alley, behind Pavilion III.

DSC_3680Poe Alley, of course is named for Edgar Allan Poe, an early student at UVa.

_DSC7544We literally stumbled upon this medallion set in the pavement of the small parking lot at the east end of Poe Alley. The simple design is of a bust of Pallas Athena with a raven (both from Poes’s poem, The Raven).  The dates are of Edgar Allan Poe’s life and the year he was a student at UVa.  I had never seen the medallion myself, and interestingly, this medallion is not well documented.  In an interview, retired UVa historian Sandy Gilliam mentions it in connection with the construction of Peabody and thought it might have been made at the time, about 1914. Architectural historian Brian Hogg, also of UVa, speculates it may have been created in the early 1920s.

Running across this medallion brought on a discussion of Poe, and October, the month of Halloween, seems an appropriate time to remember Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe was at the University for less than a year, enrolling on February 14, 1826, just the second session in the history of the school, now approaching it’s 200th anniversary.

Holsinger Old RotundaDuring Poe’s time there the university was still being built and Thomas Jefferson was the Rector of the Board of Visitors. (Jefferson would die during the summer of Poe’s year at UVa.)  Poe, in a letter dated September 1826 mentions the Rotunda is nearly complete. “The pillars of the Portico are completed and it greatly improves the appearance of the whole — The books are removed into the library — and we have a very fine collection.”  (The above image was taken prior to the 1895 Rotunda fire and is the closest representation we have in photographs to the Rotunda Poe would’ve known.)

Poe room UVAThere is some debate as to which room Poe had at UVa, but most evidence points to #13 on the West Range. Today you can go to #13 and see a representation of what his room
may have looked like in his day.

Holsinger West Range 1
The Range rooms in this part of the Academical Village would have looked out into the woods of the surrounding country, and in reference to the group of young men living here this block of rooms was dubbed “Rowdy Row.”  (The above image of the Range was taken during a much later time.)  The University as a whole was rowdy in those early years. It was filled with young men of privilege, many not even from Virginia.  They came with a sense of entitlement, a love of drink and gambling and those first few years were wild affairs with students often expelled and disciplined for their actions.  Just six months prior to Poe’s arrival, Thomas Jefferson had gathered the student body in the Rotunda to plead with them to act like gentleman, he called that moment ‘the most painful event of his life’.
A portrait of young Edgar Allan Poe
Poe was remembered as a good student.  He excelled in his study of languages, and he joined the Jefferson Debate and Literary Society in June 1826.  He would write essays and share them with this small group.

getStaticImageThis photo taken in the early 20th Century shows the register used to check out books from the university library.  “E.A. Poe” can be seen toward the bottom.  He received a special commendation upon the completion of his finals, which incidentally were given orally in the Rotunda in a public forum. Present would have been professors, (the male parent or guardian was invited) and the Board of Visitors; James Madison, James Monroe, Joseph Cabell and General John Cocke. That was a serious final exam process!

getStaticImage-1This photo shows a bust of Poe commissioned by the university to commemorate the school’s famous poet. (Photo likely also from around the turn of the century.)

getStaticImage-4He was described as liking a drink, being moody and often using charcoal to draw images or prose on the walls of his room.

Poe would later insist that it wasn’t drink or his lack of study that caused him to leave, but rather the failure of his foster father and benefactor, John Allan, to provide him with enough money to cover his expenses. (Poe was an orphan and only 17 years old when he attended the university.)  Student expenses were great. Poe’s two language courses cost him $60, he could not afford to take a third as most students.   Room rental was $15 a year with another $12 for a bed and another $12 for other furniture.  Each young man was also expected to pay a servant.  He turned to gambling to make money to pay his creditors in town, and that failed miserably.  At the end of his successful first term at school John Allan refused to allow him to return.

Poe plaque
Today a plaque is mounted above the door of #13 West Range.
In a letter he wrote to Allan in 1831 about his time at UVa, perhaps summing up what would become the foundation of his short, troubled life:  “I could associate with no students, except those who were in a similar situation with myself – altho’ from different causes – They from drunkenness and extravagance – I, because it was my crime to have no one on Earth who cared for me, or loved me.”

Poe was known to enjoy a hike in the surrounding country and was inspired by the nearby mountains.  He wrote a splendid, spooky short story called ‘A Tale of The Ragged Mountains’, his only work that mentions the town of Charlottesville.

Today this part of the county side is the location of one of Charlottesville’s 3 reservoirs.

Years later he was described by fellow student, Miles George in a letter to E.V. Valentine:

“He was fond of quoting poetic authors and reading poetic productions of his own, with which his friends were delighted & entertained, then suddenly a change would come over him & he would with a piece of charcoal evince his versatile genius by sketching upon the walls of his dormitory, whimsical, fanciful, & grotesque figures, with so much artistic skill, as to leave us in doubt whether Poe in future life would be Painter or Poet; He was very excitable & restless, at times wayward, melancholic & morose, but again — in his better moods frolicksome, full of fun & a most attractive & agreeable companion. To calm & quiet the excessive nervous excitability under which he labored, he would too often put himself under the influence of that “Invisible Spirit of Wine” which the great Dramatist has said “If known by no other name should be called Devil”

IMG_5434Sunset over the Ragged Mountains just a couple of miles southwest of the University.

Written by Lisa Ramsey Bergstrom.  
This is our second collaborative effort with history researcher Lisa Bergstrom who also wrote the recent post, “The Aviator”
B&W photographs of UVA courtesy Special Collections, UVA Library.  
Current day photos by Steve Trumbull


Backroads Album

C’ville Images has taken many day trips and a few overnighters wandering the backroads around Charlottesville and Central Virginia.  Some of these explorations have taken us well away from C’ville into other towns and counties.  The discoveries often include abandoned buildings or interesting architecture and anything else we might come across off the beaten path. We have included some of our finds in “Backroads” posts here and on Facebook.  This album of photographs is just a small, random selection from these journeys.Old Church Lovingston Old Church in Lovingston, VA now used as a residence

Motel afton Abandoned motel, Afton Mountain

Mitchells Presbyterian Church Mitchells Presbyterian Church built in 1879 in Carpenter Gothic architectural style in Culpeper County

IMG_6232 White Oak (Quercus alba) at South Plains Presbyterian Church in Keswick. The church dates to 1819, the tree likely older.

IMG_3927 Farm equipment, Albemarle County

Gas and Motel Nelson Motel and grocery (abandoned) in Nelson County

Barn in Boarboursville (1) Toxicodendron radicans on barn in Barboursville

BR Madison Co. Abandoned store and repair shop, Madison County

Caboose in Cohasset Caboose in Cohasset near a long-abandoned railroad line

BR Madison antiques (1) Farm supply-turned-antique shop in Madison

Barn and silo Old barn and silo, southern Albemarle County

Warehouses Orange (1) Warehouses, Orange

Store at Brandy Station (1) Store, Brandy Station

Downtown Sperryville (1) Downtown Sperryville

Columbia 1Columbia, VA

Backroads signsBackroads

Guthrie Hall

Guthrie Hall 1Guthrie Hall was built c. 1901 in the Green Mountain section of southern Albemarle County.

Guthrie Hall old imageThis old photograph of the home shows the same view as the first image and reveals minor changes that have been made including the removal of the dormers in the roof. The house was originally built for John Guthrie Hopkins who made his fortune in copper mining.  Guthrie hired the firm of McKim, Mead, & White (who also worked on UVA’s Rotunda during the same period) to design it.

The house incorporates multiple architectural styles in its expansive, 19,000 sq. ft.of living space. The property also includes a large barn and other buildings. The house has had several owners over the past century and is currently on the market for sale.  C’ville Images got a rare chance to visit the property through Preservation Piedmont and Realtor Jim Faulconer. The following is a sampling of photos of the property.

Guthrie Hall 9Guthrie Hall 8 Guthrie Hall 7 Guthrie Hall 6 Guthrie Hall 5 Guthrie Hall 3Guthrie Hall 4 Guthrie Hall 12 (1) Guthrie Hall 13Guthrie Hall11 Guthrie Hall cellar Guthrie Hall Barn 1Guthrie Hall 2

©2014 C’ville Images


Deep Archives

We are back at work this month with Ed Roseberry scanning some new (old) images from deep in the Roseberry archives.

10648649_642572382530811_5290776498254619601_oWe’ve dug up many negatives and a few prints that haven’t seen the light of day in decades to assemble our next program on the photography of Ed Roseberry.  Over the past three years we’ve done a number of programs and exhibits with Ed looking at the wide range of his photographic career.  The November 13th show will focus on his early work from the first days that he picked up the camera through a dozen or more years he spent mastering his craft.

1529985_642841502503899_7433355741523857068_oThe photographs from this early period are artistic and experimental, but also provide an fascinating document of this time in C’ville History.

img240Roseberry has witnessed phenomenal change in both the infrastructure as well as the culture of Charlottesville, and the early images from his collection help illustrate the remarkable change that has occurred here in just a few short decades. The years we will cover are from 1945 through 1963.

img891A few of the photographs in the upcoming show may have been seen in posts, exhibits, and presentations before, but the majority of this program will be new content that we are now digitizing and showing for the first time.

Another Side of RoseberryWe have made this promo poster for the show. It shows Ed Roseberry circa 1945 during WWII, taking with his family’s folding Kodak camera which Ed used to take some of his earliest photographs.

Like we did with last month’s show, we based the promo on an old record album cover.

The show will be Thursday, November 13th, at 7 pm. at C’ville Coffee on Harris Street. Tickets are now on sale. Contact Steve Trumbull to reserve tickets.



Preston Coiner Scholarship

IMG_1321Anyone who knew Preston Coiner knew of his passion for history which was seen in his unparalleled commitment to promoting knowledge in local architecture, local legends, and the historical tradition of Charlottesville.  Whenever he had a spare moment to chat with friend or stranger about C’ville’s rich history, he would not hesitate to find (and entertain) an audience.

Preston’s dedication to history and education will now continue indefinitely with a generous new scholarship fund established by his wife Julie and the Coiner family in his name. Part of Charlottesville’s Scholarship Program, the Preston Coiner Scholarship is an award offering financial support to aspiring college students with an interest in studying history.

The new scholarship was announced this past Saturday at an event at the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville.


19th Century Churches

Many of the church buildings constructed in the 1800s and early 1900s in Charlottesville no longer stand.  For a variety of reasons many of these magnificent buildings have been demolished.

img471Some were lost to fire like the First Baptist Church (built in 1904 and seen here in a postcard image from the period) on the corner of East Jefferson and Second St. which burned in 1977.  Other congregations left the downtown area to gain more parking and simply tore down the old church like the architecturally detailed Presbyterian Church building that sat on Second and E. Market for barely 50 years.

Which brings up the question of what church buildings remain from this era and specifically which of those still standing existed before 1900.  I brought up this question recently at our October slideshow as former mayor Dave Norris shared some of the postcard images of churches from his collection. The audience named a handful that I will highlight in this post.  One of the great things about our C’ville Images photo presentations is that our audience is made up of local historians, photographers, architectural historians, writers, and researchers, and many folks generally knowledgable in C’ville history.  I bring the photos to share but there is never a show that I don’t learn something valuable from the attendees.  This month, it was about these 19th Century Churches.

That said, if there is any 1800s church building still standing in Charlottesville that is missing from the following list please contact me. For this post we’re looking at the city of Charlottesville and not the surrounding county.

Two of the latest churches from the 19th Century were built in 1898.

img473The first of these was Christ Episcopal Church although construction and additions continued into the 20th Century and the building still does not contain some of the elements from the original plans. This building stands on the corner of High and Second Streets, NW, on the same lot that the earlier Episcopal Church was built.

Christ Church 1This current day look at Christ Church, as it is commonly known, shows the bell tower on the right that was added later.

IMG_8352This is a view of the carillon inside the bell tower.

img472The other Charlottesville church building that dates to 1898 was the Disciples of Christ Church on Market St.  This structure was also built on the same lot of the congregation’s prior building. Today it houses The Haven, a resource center for the homeless.

The Woolen Mills Chapel is also included on this list having been built, according to our research, in 1887.

The two oldest church buildings in Charlottesville were built by African American congregations.

Mt. Zion Church RidgeMt. Zion First African Baptist Church on Ridge Street dates to 1884 although there is some indication it wasn’t completed until the 1890s.  The congregation has since moved a few blocks away to the corner of Lankford Avenue and First Street, SW., but the the 19th Century building still stands.

First Baptist West MainFinally, we have the First Baptist Church on West Main built on the site of the old Delevan Hotel where the congregation first held services, construction on this church was started in 1877 and completed by 1883 and dedicated on January 2, 1884. This section of town between downtown and the University has seen some of the most dramatic changes in Charlottesville over the past century and First Baptist Church has remained in place through it all.

First BaptistThis is a current day interior view of First Baptist Church on West Main.

There are two other houses of worships that might technically make this list.  The Ebenezer Baptist Church, another predominately African-American church on 6th Street at the end of Commerce St., supposedly was first built in the 1890s. When the Jefferson Auditorium burned next door on Thanksgiving in 1907, the church was badly damaged and had to be rebuilt over the next year.

We might also include the Jewish synagogue on this list.  The Beth Israel temple was built at the end of the 19th century on the corner of Second and Market Street, NE.  When the federal government decided in 1904 that they wanted the location for a courthouse and post office, the congregation moved the building, supposedly “brick-by-brick,” and reassembled it on East Jefferson Street where it now stands. There are no known photos of the synagogue on Second Street to confirm if the building looked the same as it does today.

Vintage postcard images are from the Norris Collection at C’ville Images.  Current day photos by Steve Trumbull.  Thanks to Edwina St. Rose, Jane Myers, Sandy DeKay, Bill Emory, and Melinda Frierson for helping compile this list and dates.



Norris Collection: First & Main

img479The 100 block of East Main Street, looking west toward the intersection of First and Main Streets. This image is from a postcard from more than a century ago. Note the building with columns on the left. A bank at the time, that location has been the Jefferson Theater for more than 100 years. The postcards of this era were created from black and white photographs that were colorized, giving them an almost cartoon look to today’s viewer. However, back then the color images were striking, making postcards favorite souvenirs and collectors’ items. Postcards were also a great way to send short messages relatively quickly, much the way we might use texts or emails today.

_DSC7364This is the current day view.

img484This next image, also from a postcard of the same period as the first one, shows the view looking toward First and Main, though this time from the west.  We see the Leterman Company Building on the left and the Perley Building on the right.  In the distance we again see the bank that would become the Jefferson Theater in 1912 and also in the far distance we can spot the tower (bell tower?) that was on the Charlottesville Hardware Store prior to 1909.

_DSC7359Today’s view is largely obscured by the trees but note the Leterman building on the left with a reconfiguring of the windows (the four middle bays now only two) when the building on the corner of First and Main (now Hamilton’s) was built circa 1914.

img476Another postcard view of the The Leterman Company at First and Main.  Leterman’s was a department store with reportedly 50,000 square feet of floor space.  A 1906 promotion of the establishment read, “Aside from apparel, they have complete assortment of carpets, mattings, oilcloths, notions, toilet articles, fancy goods, etc.”  The awning out front, seen in this image, boasted simply “The Big Store.”

img480This next postcard was produced from the original black and white negative and not colorized. The view looks east on Main Street from the base of Vinegar Hill, the west end of today’s downtown mall, just two blocks from First and Main. Many of the buildings seen in this view are still preserved today.  The brick building at the left with the three windows on the second story is the Mudhouse coffee shop today. The building in the distance with the ornamental dome is the aforementioned Leterman Building.  Interestingly, Main Street was first paved with bricks (as seen here). It was a dirt street prior to this.  Asphalt would come a few years later and then Main Street would return to bricks in the 1970s as the pedestrian mall we know today.  An electric trolley (also seen in this photo) ran down the street in the early 20th Century and continued  to the University.

_DSC7355This current day photo gives a close approximation of the same view. Again note the unpainted brick building on the left with the three windows. The trim window and brick detailing of the cornice is still intact a century later.

Postcard Images are from the Norris Collection at C’ville Images.
Current Day photos by Steve Trumbull © 2014

Parkway Project Update

By pass projectFor those of you who follow us from out of town, we thought we’d provide you with a photo-update on one of the big projects here in C’ville.  The Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange that is replacing the intersection of McIntire Road and the Rt. 250 By-pass is well on its way toward completion.

By pass 1The bridge that will keep traffic flowing east-west (instead of stopping at the light) is mostly in place.

By pass 2 This photo gives something of the view of crossing the bridge, going east.

By pass 4The view from the bridge looking north onto the Meadowcreek Parkway (this section of the parkway is not yet open).

by pass 5The view from the bridge looking south onto McIntire Road which is getting some major changes including new, easier access for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad.

by pass 3As part of the interchange project the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial is getting a major renovation and upgrade.

The entire interchange project is on schedule to be completed in the Summer of 2015.

All photos © C’ville Images, 2014