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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Tobacco Row

 
 
Tobacco Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
1. Tobacco Row Marker
Inscription. The area in Richmond known as Tobacco Row has been the site of tobacco warehouses and manufacturing since long before the Civil War. Beginning in the 1600s, after Virginia tobacco became popular in Europe, planters and shippers maintained facilities here. Tobacco was Virginia’s most valuable export. The substantial buildings you see along Dock Street date from 1886 to 1929. They were constructed of brick to protect the contents from loss due to fire. By the late 1980s, however, most of the tobacco companies had moved elsewhere. After the James River Flood Wall was built in 1995, many of the old warehouses were converted into apartments and retail space.

[key to Tobacco Row map]
1900 E Cary, Philip Morris building
Built 1893-1927, Philip Morris cigarette factory until about 1990

2800 E Cary, Climax warehouse
Built 1899, American Tobacco leaf storage

2100 E Cary, Edgeworth building
Larus & Brother Company (1921-25); later Edgeworth pipe tobacco factory. In 1925, WRVA radio began broadcasting from a studio in the warehouse

2200 E Cary, Carolina warehouse
Built 1900, American Tobacco; later P. Lorillard leaf storage

2201 E Cary, Consolidated Cigar building
P. Lorillard cigar factory (1926); later Consolidated Cigar

2300
Dock Street (facing west) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
2. Dock Street (facing west)
E Cary, Whitlock building

Whitlock branch cigar factory (ca. 1903) of American Tobacco; later P. Lorillard; then Philip Morris leaf storage

2400 E Cary, Cameron building
Cameron & Co. smoking tobacco factory (ca. 1885); later American Tobacco leaf department

2500 E Cary, Kinney building
Kinney & Co. (ca. 1885), by 1893 Allen & Ginter branch of American Tobacco; after 1911, American Tobacco stemmery and cigarette factory until 1980s

2600 E Cary, Lucky Strike building
Built 1929-30, American Tobacco cigarette factory made Lucky Strike and Pall Mall brands until 1981
 
Erected 2011 by Virginia Capital Trail.
 
Location. 37° 31.658′ N, 77° 25.337′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker is on Dock Street 0.1 miles west of Pear Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond VA 23223, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Richmond Dock / Chapel Island (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk and Southern Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 28th St Draw Bridge / Great Shiplock Canal (about 500 feet away);
Virginia tobacco leaves image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
3. Virginia tobacco leaves
In 1612, Virginia’s settlers produced their first commercial tobacco, using seeds that John Rolfe had smuggled from Spanish Trinidad.
Water Quality in the James (about 500 feet away); Here Stood the Trigg Shipyard (about 500 feet away); Welcome to Chapel Island (about 600 feet away); Great Ship Lock (about 700 feet away); The Tidal James (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker. Photo captions:

Women operating cigar rolling machines, ca. 1900 Cook Collection, Valentine Richmond History Center

Sorting tobacco leaves, ca. 1900
Notice the hogsheads (barrels) in the background in which tobacco was packed and transported from farm to factory. Cook Collection, Valentine Richmond History Center

Tobacco Row, ca. 1930
This photo shows many of Richmond’s major tobacco companies. In 1890, five tobacco firms merged to create the American Tobacco Company, which dominated the tobacco industry and Tobacco Row until a Sherman Antitrust lawsuit broke it up in 1911. The railroad yard (in the foreground of the photograph) was once the site of the Town Commons in the plan laid out by William Byrd in 1737. Valentine Richmond History
Tobacco Row Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 18, 2011
4. Tobacco Row Landmark
"Connecticut" by Paul DiPasquale peers over the Lucky Strike building
Center


Workers next to machines for making plug tobacco, ca. 1900 Cook Collection, Valentine Richmond History Center
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Tobacco Warehouse Scene, Richmond, Va. image. Click for full size.
By Southern Bargain House, Richmond, Va., circa 1918
5. Tobacco Warehouse Scene, Richmond, Va.
A Scene Typically Southern is this marketing of bright leaf Tobacco at a warehouse in Richmond, Va. From the surrounding country tobacco farmers have brought the products of their fields to be sold by the auctioneer to the highest bidder. Gathered around the piles of tobacco, (each pile weighed and marked) are the shrewd, experienced representatives of large corporations who quickly appraise and bid for each farmer's product. Sales are speedy, and the farmer is paid spot cash. In the back ground are the large hogsheads into which the tobacco is stored until required for use at the factories. VCU Libraries Digital Collections - Rarely Seen Richmond
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 793 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 21, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   4. submitted on September 22, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   5. submitted on May 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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