Named for the creek that served as the western boundary of Richmond’s original settlement and for the row of tobacco warehouses and factories that constitute its industrial quarter, this brawny historic district encompasses the area of the city’s earliest residential, commercial, and manufacturing activity. Covering approximately 129 acres and containing over 500 structures, the district is an eclectic jumble of building styles, types, and periods from the colonial vernacular to high-style antebellum and 20th-century industrial. The streets follow the original grid laid out by William Byrd in 1739. The heart of the district is the Seventeenth Street Market, a farmer’s market in use since the late 18th century. Increasing rehabilitation activity is assuring the district a future role in the life of the city. Tobacco Row, one of the South’s most impressive industrial complexes, has undergone conversion into housing.
A 2007 amendment to the nomination clarified the contributing status of the ca. 1930 Lucky Strike Garage, an accessory building to the American Tobacco Company’s Lucky Strike Power Plant.
[VLR Accepted: 8/23/2007; NRHP Accepted: 4/23/2008]
Since it was listed in the NRHP in 1983, the Shockoe Valley and Tobacco Row Historic District has retained good integrity as an urban commercial landscape. A 2014 survey of the entire district noted 86 demolitions, primarily related to the neighborhood’s transition from a primarily industrial and commercial district to a mixed commercial and residential district. Due to adaptive reuse projects, large sections of the district that had been industrial areas since the late 19th century have transformed into an urban residential landscape. The results of the survey were noted in a 2015 update to the nomination. The additional documentation focused on bringing the district’s inventory up to date with current information.
[NRHP Accepted: 12/29/2015]
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark