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Shockoe Valley slums 1913

The slums of Shockoe Valley circa 1913 (via The Shockoe Examiner via Report on Housing and Living Conditions in the Neglected Sections of Richmond, Virginia). This book puts image and detail to the the 1938 evaluation by Harland Bartholomew which found that “approximately one-third of the city’s 43,000 housing units lacked indoor toilets. Nearly one-half had only cold water, and 2,635 units had no water at all.” The Richmond Housing Authority was founded in 1940, and the next year work began on Gilpin Court.


Runcible 07/06/2011 at 8:22 AM

Curb appeal.

Brad 07/06/2011 at 10:25 AM

Great link. According to the caption in the book, the large white building on the hill top in the top picture is the Confederate Museum, which was originally in the Confederate White House. So that entire slum area is now MCV. What an evolution!

Magneto 07/06/2011 at 10:35 AM

It’s crazy to see what the view of Shockoe Valley (with the White House of the Confederacy at the top of the hill) used to be prior to the construction of MCV/VCU.

Cadeho 07/06/2011 at 9:02 PM

Richmond cleared out its “slums” in the past erasing a lot of history. Today, I bet these places would have been saved. I still wish at least Butchertown was still around. The neighborhood on the eastern side of the valley amazes me by building on those steep hills.

UrbanPioneer 07/07/2011 at 6:46 AM

@Cadeho. Where exactly was Butchertown located? I’ve always wanted to know. Thanks!

ann 07/07/2011 at 7:39 AM

Somewhat comforting to know that there are still things in Richmond that haven’t changed in all this time…….

John M 07/07/2011 at 8:24 AM

More on Butchertown: [1] [2]

Jim 07/07/2011 at 8:37 PM

as horrible as this is, when I was in New Delhi a few months ago I learned 2/3 of the population of India lack electricity and running water in their homes… that’s roughly 700,000 people

bobc 07/08/2011 at 3:09 PM

I have memories, first of riding a streetcar over the Marshall Street Viaduct, and then, later, riding over it in a car. Rising from The “bottom” also known as “Bird In The Hand” the stench on a hot, humid day, was choking. Much later, When I worked in Nigeria and Haiti and some other desperate 3rd World places,the memories,especially,of the smells, came rushing back. Richmond was a lot different then. Most of it was simply “uninhabitable” by today’s standard, as, was most of the rest of the country, especially The Southeast.

Kelly Cook 11/20/2017 at 9:57 PM

Hasn’t changed too much…
Saw a guy openly shooting up in the 1500 block not too long ago,but the area is getting better.

Stephanie Henley 01/28/2020 at 5:32 PM

What is there now


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