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*.

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.

West Main,Thanksgiving Day, 2014

West Main TD 16Something of a tradition for C’ville Images, Thanksgiving Day was spent, in part, wandering down Main Street in Charlottesville. This holiday is one of the quietest days of the year and the traffic is at a minimum, allowing for a rare opportunity to photograph many of the buildings without cars in the way. This is West Main Street looking east from near the traffic light at Jefferson Park Avenue.

West Main TD15A century ago West Main Street was a more residential section of town between the bustling downtown area and the Academical Village of Jefferson’s University. A number of shops and business were located here but so were single-family homes. Very few of the houses remain here from that part of history.  However, in the 500 block there are these two structures still standing, although they currently have commercial uses rather than residential. The house on the right was built circa 1870 and 100 years ago was owned by Dr. Jay C. Coulter who had his office in the small addition to the left of the front porch.

West Main TD1This short alley is on West Main near 5th Street.  For a few decades in the middle of the Twentieth Century the buildings seen here served the automobile industry: a service station on the right and a car dealership on the left. Today the buildings are all about food: a restaurant on the right and gourmet shops, a seafood market, and restaurants in the buildings to the left.

West Main TD 14The area where Ridge Street meets West Main has historically been known as “Midway.”  This was the top of Vinegar Hill, the commercial section of a predominantly African American neighborhood in the first half of the 1900s. A new hotel is now underway here.  The Lewis and Clark Statue (seen here) has stood on the island in the middle of the street for 95 years.

West Main TD12Another recent and major addition to West Main Street is the 7-story Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital. With 200,000 square feet, an innovative design, and an extensive list of pediatric services, this prominent building is located near Jefferson Park Avenue. The site was once the home of a small hotel called the Dolley Madison Inn. According to architectural historian Ed Lay, the inn opened in 1920 in a refurbished 1850s house.

West Main TD2The black and white tile on the front porch of the old Hotel Albemarle has survived since the early 1900s.  The hotel is no longer in operation and smaller businesses, including the Quest Bookshop, use the space today.

West Main TD8 (1)In the 700 block of West Main Street stands this building which stands out from its neighbors because of the painted metal-clad facade that only a few buildings around Charlottesville still have. We are not certain of the date of this building but this architectural element was in use elsewhere in town in the 1890s. This building has been used over the decades as everything from a meat market to a church to a day-labor office. The famous Charlottesville photographer, Rufus Holsinger housed his studio in a building (now gone) a couple of doors to the left of this one.

West Main TD3The west end of West Main Street becomes University Avenue and the few blocks of this section of the street are known as The Corner with shops and restaurants mostly serving the university. On Thanksgiving morning the typically-busy Corner is almost completely void of people and cars.

West Main TD4The White Spot, one of The Corner’s long-standing businesses and seldom closed long enough for the grill to cool off, is strangely quiet. No Gusburgers today.


All photos by Steve Trumbull, © 2014-2015 C’ville Images

West Main TD14






Then & Now: 4th and Commerce

This pair of “Then and Now” photos below were taken about 50 years apart.  Both show the view looking east from the intersection of Commerce and Fourth Streets, NW near downtown Charlottesville in what used to be the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.

The area was razed during the 1960s federal program of “urban renewal.”  Unfortunately, plans to rebuild this area did not unfold quickly and the area sat mostly vacant for years only adding to the bitterness and frustration felt by the citizens who had to move from this predominantly African-American neighborhood.

Today the area that was known as Vinegar Hill contains a shopping center, Federal Courthouse, restaurants, and the Omni Hotel.  In the current day photograph you can see new construction underway for another hotel that is replacing a couple of the very few buildings spared by the 1960s demolition.




The aerial photograph below shows the Vinegar Hill section of Charlottesville in the context of the rest of downtown and prior to the urban renewal demolition.  The red circle marks the intersection of Fourth and Commerce, the location where the above photos were taken.  This aerial also looks toward the east. We have not been able to determine the exact date of this aerial photo but, based on the buildings and infrastructure of the period, is dates sometime between the late 1950s and early 1960s. (click on the image for a detailed view).


“Then” by Ed Roseberry, “Now” by Steve Trumbull, Aerial photo by Ed Roseberry.
© 2014-15 C’ville Images


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.