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Center of Retail Attention

For much of Richmond’s history, all travel between Williamsburg and Charlottesville was dependent on one downtown street. Broad Street, named H Street until 1844, was a commercial hub for Richmonders and travelers alike all year long. Through the centuries, nearly everything…

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Richmond’s Education History

Before the city appropriated funds for the secondary education of African American children, that instruction was given at the Colored Normal School. Historically, “normal schools” trained teachers of all races. Founded in 1865 with the help of Freedmen’s Bureau funds,…

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Richmond’s History Maker

In 1899, the Independent Order of St. Luke was teetering toward bankruptcy. A benevolent society that provided burial insurance for members of Richmond’s African American community, the organization had just a thousand members and a little over thirty dollars in its…

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Making History on the Rocks

From shipping and hydropower to fishing, boating, and bathing (yes, the traditional kind!), early life in Richmond revolved around the James River. Although the river was the primary reason for the city’s founding, by the mid-twentieth century, it had become…

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History of Healthcare in Richmond

In 1865, a Richmond society teenager named Mary Tinsley Greenhow fell off her horse. As a result, she was paralyzed and required constant care. And although her family could afford the round-the-clock care she needed, Greenhow became preoccupied with those…

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Historic Swimming Hole

Back in 1931, a Richmond man named Jimmie Scott purchased four forested acres in the quiet Rothesay neighborhood. Just south of Windsor Farms, on a bluff overlooking the James River, those wooded acres concealed a big secret: an abandoned quarry. There…

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Planting Seeds of Good Will

When the country’s first bicycling craze swept the South in the 1890s, a Richmond businessman and philanthropist opened a 9-acre cycling club in Henrico County, just outside the city. He died a few years later, in 1897, but with its cycling paths…

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Richmond’s Notorious Distinction

Only weeks after its founding in December 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged by Congress to establish federal air quality standards. The Clean Air Act passed as a direct response to the smog that afflicted most American cities,…

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