March Show

Poster West Main

C’ville Images is starting a new season of photo presentations on Thursday, March 12th. This slideshow will be co-hosted by John Shepherd and Steve Trumbull and look at over 100 years of images of West Main Street in Charlottesville.

Arguably, this part of town has experienced more transformations than any other part of town and our “tour through time” documents these changes. Many of the photographs we’ll show have not been publicly available before and many of the buildings (residences, auto dealerships, and hotels) are long gone or have dramatically changed. The evolution of this street continues today at a rapid pace making this a good time to take a long look back.

We hope you can join us.  Tickets are $10 and available by simply emailing Steve Trumbull  and stating how many tickets you’d like to reserve. Our shows tend to sell out so get your tickets early.

Matacia Fruit Co. Warehouse

Second in a series

_DSC9400Dating to near the turn of the Twentieth Century, this one-story building in Charlottesville’s warehouse district just a couple of blocks south of First and Main, served as a distributor of local produce to restaurants and groceries in the Charlottesville area throughout the first half of the 1900s.

_DSC7679Owned and operated by Gus Matacia and several of his sons, Matacia Fruit Company was a very successful local business. Its location adjacent to the railroad tracks made for easy transfer of imported fruit from trains to the warehouse from which it could then be loaded on trucks for delivery around town.

Downtown TD 2For some period of time the warehouse served as a repair shop for power equipment as part of H.M. Gleason Hardware just across Garrett Street. The building now houses several small businesses including Sidetracks (a used record store), Posh (retailer of vintage clothing and jewelry) and a Pilates studio, among other businesses.

_DSC9459One wall of the building has been recently used for a mural.

More looks at the building and the businesses that have occupied it in recent years:

_DSC9108 Posh IMG_8242_DSC4305

Consider supporting these businesses that help preserve local architecture by operating out of historic buildings like the Matacia Fruit Company Warehouse.

All photos ©2010-15 C’ville Images

Richmond Camera

First of a series.

Around the holidays and throughout the year, Charlottesville shoppers are encouraged to “buy local” and support area businesses, thereby contributing to the local economy. C’ville Images certainly supports this idea, but we’d like to propose another thing to consider when you’re out shopping: If you would like to encourage historic preservation and hang on to a bit of Charlottesville of yesteryear, support businesses that occupy and preserve some of our town’s older, or architecturally significant, buildings. A number of these businesses could easily relocate in a strip mall or build new facilities, but choose to make use of older buildings.

Some of these businesses are family-owned and the business itself is part of our history. Other businesses are investing in renovating and reusing existing buildings. This latest C’ville Images series will highlight a few of these.  Please support these businesses and take time to check out the buildings when you stop by. Many of these structures might just as easily be gone if it weren’t for the shops, restaurants, and firms that occupy them.

Richmond Camera 1We will start with this shop at the intersection of East High Street and Meade Avenue. Although Richmond Camera is a nine-store chain across Virginia, their local shop here in Charlottesville is in an old Shell gas station.  We have not confirmed the date but we believe this building was built in the 1930s. If you look at the front of the building you can tell what were the service station’s garage bays and where the office door was.

Mono Loco Water StreetAnother building of almost identical design can be found on Second and Water Streets, SW. This too was a Shell Station back in the day and has housed Mono Loco (serving nouveau-Latin cuisine) for a number of years.

Please check back in the coming weeks as we feature more reused and preserved buildings from around town.

Birthplace of a President

Montebello Zachery Taylor 1Quick Presidential trivia: After Thomas Jefferson, which President was born closest to Charlottesville? Monroe?  He would own a lot of property here later but was born on the banks of the Potomac River in Westmoreland County. How about Madison? He would build his home at Montpelier in Orange County but was born in Port Conway, VA. Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton Virginia, which is not far, but one other future President was born a bit closer.

Montibello Zachery TaylorOur 12th President, Zachary Taylor was born just over the northern border of Albemarle County on a plantation called Montebello. Not long after his birth, the family would move west to Kentucky where he would grow up near Louisville, a town founded by another famous figure with local roots, George Rogers Clark*.

1024px-Zachary_Taylor_half_plate_daguerreotype_c1843-45
Zachary Taylor pursued a long military career (rising to the rank of Major General). As a war hero he ran for and was elected President in 1848. He had earned the nickname “Old Rough and Ready” for his willingness to endure rugged conditions, living and fighting along side the men who served under him. He died in office in his second year as President and was buried back home in Kentucky. Ironically, the tough old general was done in by a bowl of cherries and spoiled milk he consumed on a hot July day in Washington, D.C..

Montibello Zachary Taylor 3The historical marker can be found just off a well-traveled Rt. 33 near Barboursville, in front of the historic home.  The house is privately-owned and not open to the public.  According to history, Taylor was likely born in a secondary building, perhaps a log cabin, adjacent to the main house.

Still, there is some dispute among historians about Taylor’s birthplace.  Some believe that he was born at his mother’s parents’ home on Hare Forest Farm, also in Orange County. Nevertheless, either location adds him to the long list of Presidents that were born in the Old Dominion.

One last historical footnote that ties Taylor to Virginia:  His son-in-law would later play a major roll in the Civil War – years after President Taylor’s death- in Richmond, Virginia.  Zachary Taylor’s daughter Sarah had married Jefferson Davis who would become President of the Confederate States of America.

Photo of General Taylor is a daguerreotype made circa 1943.
Other photos by Steve Trumbull © C’ville Images.

 *George Rogers Clark was born in Albemarle County a few years before the town of Charlottesville was established. His younger brother was William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.