Vintage DTM: Main Street 100 years ago

Main Street, Looking East:  This image is from a photo postcard showing Main Street in Charlottesville as seen from the base of Vinegar Hill over 100 years ago.   Interestingly, Main Street was first paved with bricks. It was a dirt street prior to this.  Asphalt would come a few years later and then Main Street would return to bricks in the 1970s as the pedestrian mall we know today.  An electric trolley (seen here) ran down the street in the early 20th Century and continued all the way to the University.  Today, this is the west end of the Downtown Mall. The brick building on the left with three windows on the second story is where Mudhouse coffee shop is today.  This postcard was mailed from Charlottesville to Fishersville, VA on June 4, 1910 at 4:30 pm. This postcard is just one of 100s in the collection of former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris.  Dave will be joining C’ville Images next Thursday at C’ville Coffee to share some of the amazing photos and stories from his collection.  Details at


Seven reasons why you ought to check out the Jefferson School City Center

Jeff School-aMaybe it’s because it’s across McIntire Road, so not technically on the DTM, or because they haven’t been doing enough marketing, but it’s hard to believe there aren’t more people checking out the Jefferson School City Center. This is a real cool downtown asset!

1)  Free, easy access parking in its own two-level parking garage

2)  An African-American Heritage Center with exhibits in what used to be an African-American School located in an African-American neighborhood that was razed by urban renewal in the 1960s.

3) A full-service recreation center with a gym, state-of-the-art fitness center, teen center, all kinds of classes, pick-up basketball games, which is priced reasonably.

4)  A healing arts center with yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage.

5)  A community center for seniors and children

6)  A woman’s support group offering counseling, social support, and education

7)  A full-service café/restaurant whose profits go to a meals program for seniors. Also hosts art exhibits and free live music.


Vintage DTM: pre-Ice Park view of the West End

This view of the west entrance to the Downtown Mall was taken in the 1980s from the top of what historically is known as “Vinegar Hill”. This is after the Omni Hotel was constructed (1984) but well before the ice park. The paved street seen here is Water Street but Main Street once ran down Vinegar Hill in the center of this view.  More vintage photos of Charlottesville at (photo from the Preston Coiner Collection at C’ville Images)


Vintage DTM: pre-DTM view of 5th Street

-19This view of downtown Charlottesville is looking north on 5th Street East from Water Street. The photograph was taken in 1972 before the construction of the Downtown Mall.  Main Street at that time had a major furniture store (M.C.Thomas) and also a full-service grocery store (Reid’s) that faced East Main Street in the 500 block and had its own parking garage underneath. Tragically, Reid’s Supermarket would later burn down, but the business still continues today on Preston Avenue.  Also seen in this photo in the distance is the Monticello Hotel and part of the Albemarle County Court House on Court Square. More vintage photos at

Vintage DTM: Roseberry on Main, 1963

Main Street, 1963.  This photograph by Ed Roseberry shows the 200 and 300 blocks of East Main Street (looking west from about Fourth St.) A full decade before the Downtown Mall would be built, automobile traffic flowed one-way (west) at the time.  Note the businesses along Main Street: the tall building to the right was Miller & Rhoads.  Arthur’s Grill is a few doors down.  The Paramount Theater had an enormous vertical sign back then.  More of Ed Roseberry’s vintage photographs can be seen at an upcoming slideshow on June 11 at C’ville Coffee.  Details at


Vintage DTM: Woolworth’s, Miller’s in the 1980s

-16This photograph of the 100 block of West Main Street shows patio seating for what appears to be Miller’s on the Downtown Mall. Miller’s opened in in 1981 in the former Miller’s drugstore.  This section of the DTM was installed several years after the original brick-paved pedestrian mall.  Note that the Willow Oak trees in the next block are significantly larger than those in the foreground. (Of course, also note what the Willow Oaks look like compared to what they look like now!) Miller’s is still in business today but many of the other businesses seen in this photo, including the Woolworth’s at First and Main, are long gone. Although this image came to us undated, a fair guess is that this is mid-late 1980s. More vintage Charlottesville photos at





Vintage DTM: Dogwood Festival Parade

With the 2014 Dogwood Festival in full swing, Vintage DTM looks back to one of the last Dogwood Festival Parades that would navigate Main Street downtown before the construction of the pedestrian mall.  This photograph shows East Main at Third Street. The bank building (still there today) stands in the back ground, as well as Williams’ Corner Shop (where Virginia National Bank currently has a branch).  We are fairly certain this is 1973 and the Dogwood Festival Court is on the float.  In any case, this was one of the rare night parades for the Dogwood Festival. One other bit of trivia:  despite the 2014 festival being called the “65th Dogwood Festival” the Dogwood Festival has actually only been going on since 1958.  If you do the math, things don’t add up.  The answer:  prior to the Dogwood Festival, Charlottesville’s annual festival was held in the autumn and called the “Apple Harvest Festival.”  The several years of that event are included in the 65 years.  Photo credit: Ed Roseberry. Vintage DTM is produced by C’ville Images. More vintage photos at