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In which I remain fascinated by the onetime existence of the Marshall Street Viaduct

After coming across the above photo from the outer wall of the RVA Street Art site, I went looking online and found four more images of the Marshall Street Viaduct from the Valentine Richmond History Center.

That Marshall Street Viaduct crossed Shockoe Valley for over 60 years. The bridge was built in 1910-1911 and connected Marshall Street at MCV and Jefferson Park. The trolley tracks were removed in 1953, and the bridge was closed in July 1970. The six-lane Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Bridge replaced the “spidery” Marshall Street Viaduct in 1976.



Shelton, Edith (C. 1955) / Black and white photograph showing side view of city jail with yard in foreground; Marshall Street viaduct in background; “City Jail – Marshall St. Viaduct” written at bottom of photo; “G9-1 / Marshall St. Viaduct / City Jail beneath / approx. 15th + Marshall” written on reverse.



Richmond Newspapers, Inc. (March 10, 1957) / Black and white photograph of construction of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike; arrows have been drawn on the print to show the proposed pathway of the road under the Marshall Street viaduct; Main Street Station, warehouses and office buildings are visible in the background; the City Jail is visible under the viaduct.



Richmond Newspapers, Inc.; Pishdad, Amir (July 20, 1970) / Workmen Raymond Throckmorton (left) and Lee Jackson Cut Away Concrete on Viaduct Surface To Expose Deteriorated Metal Beneath. Black and white photograph of two workmen cutting away concrete on the Marshall Street viaduct; both wear hardhats; man on left leans over while cutting concrete; other man stands erect; vehicles on bridge in background.



Richmond Newspapers, Inc.; Okada, Masaaki (November 29, 1972) / Black and white photograph of the Marshall Street viaduct running to downtown Richmond; skyline in background.

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Thomas W. Blanton, III 12/18/2013 at 4:44 PM

What would Groucho Marx have to say about this?

Eric Huffstutler 12/20/2013 at 2:05 AM

A mention about the viaduct opened in 1911, was originally going to be part of my CHA article about the Church Hill theatres and how the 1970 closing was the final nail in the coffin for easy access to Church Hill from downtown and the demise of many businesses. It was cut due to article length.

What amazes me is that the Leigh Street bridge was to have replaced the Marshall viaduct but took 6 years to build and is not a “replacement” since it doesn’t come to Church Hill.

The viaduct was in very bad shape by the time it was demolished. At first they were going to do repair as seen with workers in the last photo but a study revealed it was in bad shape and unsafe. And that the cost to repair the 60-year old bridge was not worth it and closed it down immediately afterwards. I wish we did have a straight shot access down Marshall which now would have ended around College Street.

Eric Huffstutler 12/20/2013 at 2:09 AM

On a side note, by 1900 Shockoe Creek was filled in and forgotten about and believe it ran at or where Main Street Station is now but not sure? Can anyone see remnants of it and point it out in these pictures?

Right on Broad 12/22/2013 at 1:25 AM Reply
crd 12/24/2013 at 7:25 PM

Wow what a great photo! Thanks, John!


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