The Manchester Industrial Historic District illustrates the pattern of uninterrupted commercial and industrial enterprise historically associated with the falls of the James River and the early settlement of its south bank as the independent city of Manchester. It was characterized by tobacco warehouses, textile and flourmills, and warehouses. The Manchester Commons, mill ruins, segments of a canal, and millraces survive from the antebellum era. The buildings that stand today exemplify Richmond’s emergence as an industrial city of the New South. Most of them are commercial structures dating from 1880 to 1950. Visually cohesive in scale and materials, the buildings are constructed of high-quality masonry in a variety of architectural styles including Art Deco, Beaux Arts classicism, commercial, Italianate, modern, and Queen Anne. The district covers 35 blocks and contains 40 contributing buildings.
The Manchester Industrial Historic District 2004 boundary increase adds five buildings to the district that was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2000. Several buildings contain multiple elements and occupy most of their city blocks. These buildings were excluded from the district based on owner objection but are consistent with the rest of the district in development history and architectural characteristics. Changes in ownership allowed for their inclusion in the district and permitted new owners to make use of state and federal rehabilitation tax credits. The added buildings are generally brick, two, three, or four stories in height, with the modest decorative elements typical of early-to-mid-20th-century industrial and commercial styles. The buildings were connected with the district’s paper industry, as well as with Philip Morris, a company with historic ties to Richmond.
[VLR Listing 3/17/2004; NRHP Listing 9/22/2004]
The Manchester Industrial Historic District 2011 Nomination Update and Boundary Increase includes all remaining contributing buildings in the Manchester industrial area between the James River and Commerce Road and from Semmes Avenue on the east to Maury Street on the west that are associated with the most recent period of industrial growth in this area between about 1930 and 1959. The majority of buildings in the increased boundary are industrial or commercial in character and were primarily constructed in the 1950s as the area continued to expand and evolve from residential to industrial. Like buildings in the existing historic district, most are one or two stories in height and of masonry construction, either brick or concrete block. The oldest building in the expansion area is the Virginia Rug and Druggett Company building constructed in 1910. The only frame building in the expansion area is Sol’s Cafeteria, which was built as a store about 1918 when the area was primarily residential. Together these buildings exhibit the industrial and commercial character of the original district in 2000 and the 2004 district expansion.
[VLR Listing 9/22/2011; NRHP Listing 8/1/2012]
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