With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the federal government wants Virginia to establish an electric vehicle fast charging network. But if ongoing legislative battles in statehouses across the U.S. are any indication, that won’t be easy.
The federal government allocated
$106.4 million to Virginia over the next five years to develop an electric vehicle charging network, and the guidance has made clear that the ideal recipients of these funds are the existing gas stations and convenience stores that line every interstate exit in the commonwealth. However, under current regulatory policy, it’s difficult for any of those gas stations to get into the EV charging business without operating at a loss.
According to the
U.S. Department of Energy, Virginia has 2,182 slow charging ports, which take up to eight hours to charge an electric vehicle. But there are only 832 direct current fast charging ports available statewide; they recharge a car in 20 to 60 minutes.
The sparsity of fast charging ports across U.S. highways is one of the main deterrents of consumers buying EVs, and is the reason behind the federal funding allocated to states.
At a fast charging station on Brook Road in Henrico County on Thursday afternoon, New Jersey resident Linda Murphy filled up her car.
When she first bought the electric car four years ago, she never would have taken it on a road trip, she said. Four years ago, there weren’t nearly enough fast charging stations to make a road trip possible. There’s still not enough, she said, but it’s now possible to take a road trip with some careful planning and mapping of charging stations beforehand.
The Electrify America charging station in Henrico is situated at the end of a Walmart parking lot, not far from Interstate 95, where Murphy was driving.
“That’s the only problem — at nighttime, stopping at these places by yourself,” Murphy said. “If it was along the route, where there’s the big stops, like the big truck stops, that would be better.”
Most EVs will run out of juice and need a full recharge after about 250 miles, which is no big deal for someone who’s using it to commute and can recharge it for eight hours a night. But the “range anxiety” caused by the lack of abundant fast charging ports along U.S. highways is one of the biggest things preventing people from buying an EV (besides price, which will come down eventually). A Consumer Reports survey this month asked people why they wouldn’t get an EV, and 61% said “charging logistics” were the biggest barrier.
To remedy that barrier, U.S. legislators passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden last year, part of which is intended to jump-start the high-speed EV charging network with a big bucket of federal cash. The $7.5 billion investment supports Biden’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers.
The first $5 billion of that $7.5 billion must go toward the federally designated “alternative fuel corridors,” which in Virginia include interstates 64 and 95 which intersect in Richmond and run through Henrico and Hanover County. The designation also includes Virginia’s interstates 66, which runs across Northern Virginia, and 81, which runs from Northern Virginia down through Roanoke and Bristol.
The guidance put forth by the
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program states that the sites should have onsite amenities like food and restrooms, be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and meet height and fueling capacity requirements to accommodate large vehicles. The guidance is apparently describing existing gas stations and convenience stores.
This year could be pivotal for EVs, with high gas prices encouraging the public to consider going electric, $7.5 billion to jump-start the charging network, and almost every major auto manufacturer promising to ramp up their EV offerings.
The major question hanging over the EV charging industry is how much control power companies will wield over the fledgling industry.
With an Aug. 1 deadline looming, state transportation officials are putting together a plan to apply for millions in EV charging funding.
Virginia Department of Transportation’s sustainability office is assisting in the development of the plan under the guidance of Virginia Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard “Shep” Miller III.
A VDOT spokesperson said the initial plan will be focused on building public direct current fast chargers on the federally designated alternative fuel corridors in order to meet federal requirements, while also supporting charging in rural and disadvantaged communities.
VDOT has collaborated with state agencies and solicited input from current and potential EV drivers, according to a VDOT spokesperson. A public survey posted on VDOT’s website received survey responses from about 870 individuals as of Thursday, according to VDOT.
Dominion Energy, the largest investor-owned utility in Virginia, confirmed that its employees are also involved in hatching the plan.
The major obstacles for any private retailer hoping to sell EV charging come from the public utilities, according to several gas station and convenience store owners.
Wawa began hosting EV charging at its first store in 2017, and now hosts chargers at more than 100 locations, according to spokeswoman Lori Bruce. But the mega chain doesn’t make any money off its fast charging stations, according to top corporate leaders.
“I think most customers don’t realize that Wawa is not making any money offering EV charging,” said Rich Macon, Wawa’s vice president of fuel. “Knowing exactly what the cost is before purchasing the electricity to resell to the customer ... would help with lowering costs because it would make it a more traditional business model than what we have [now]. It’s very difficult to understand the cost of your electricity because of the demand charges that the utilities include.”
Wawa and other fuel retailers say the monthly “demand charges” on their power bill render high-speed EV charging unprofitable. A demand charge is a fee based on the maximum amount of power being utilized by a commercial power customer at one time. A high-speed EV charge, which pulls 125 kilowatts or more of electricity at once, will cause that demand charge to spike. When retailers have only a handful of EV charging customers per month, the hefty fee is spread across just a handful of customers.
Kate Staples, director of electrification and new technologies at Dominion, said there’s a reason for those charges.
“Demand charges are intended to help electric companies make sure the grid is appropriately sized, and make sure that it’s most affordable for all customers,” Staples said in an interview. “A customer that might pay a higher demand charge, it’s probably because we have to put in some more expensive infrastructure for that customer.”
Right now, many retailers say they are hesitant to offer EV charging because there aren’t enough customers. And drivers say they are waiting until there are more charging stations before they will buy an EV. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, said Jay Smith, executive director of Charge Ahead Partnership, a coalition of fuel retailers, convenience store owners and other private retailers who want to get into the EV charging business but say impediments like demand charges imposed by the public utilities make it impossible.
“Retailers need to have certainty that they can compete on a level playing field,” Smith said. “The utility, the power companies can still at any point come in and compete with a retailer with an unfair advantage.”
Legislatures in such states as Florida, Georgia and Ohio have considered bills determining whether public utility or private industry will have control of the EV charging network. Louisiana lawmakers just passed a bill directing the Public Service Commission to come up with a fair rate for the resale of electricity for EV charging. No such bill has been introduced in Virginia’s General Assembly.
Smith said the uncertainty causes worry that public utilities will set up their own charging stations, and avoid charging themselves demand charges by using money from ratepayers to subsidize the costs.
“Retailers don’t have that option to just send everybody in Richmond a bill to pay for the EV charger that someone’s going to put in at a Wawa or a Sheetz,” Smith said. “Because the power company has that ability to get people like you and me to pay for it on our bill, that’s how they’re able to then get into business and have a huge advantage. They don’t have to recover those costs from the EV driver.”
Staples said Dominion does not want to compete head-to-head with private retailers.
“We want our customers — all of them — to be able to drive electric and get those benefits,” Staples said. “If there are places where the private market isn’t able to serve, or isn’t able to install chargers, that could be a place where Dominion could help.”
But uncertainty still looms.
“Once we get clarity that subsidizing ratepayers is not allowed to happen in a state,” Smith said, “that gives retailers the confidence to know they’re not going to be undercut and have to compete against somebody who has this huge business advantage.”
From the archives: More than 240 photos of Richmond and Virginia in the 1970s
In January 1978, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts hosted pop artist Andy Warhol (second from left), who was exhibiting his “Athletes by Warhol” collection at the museum. The public opening featured a performance by rock band Single Bullet Theory and refreshments that could be found at sporting events, such as popcorn and cotton candy. The portraits on exhibit included tennis star Chris Evert and basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In August 1976, at Glendale Drive and Henrico Avenue in western Henrico County, neighborhood boys showed off their headstand and skateboarding skills. From left were Robert Rice, Bill Robertson, Rusty Hamilton and Kenny Rice. The boys spent the summer practicing headstands, wheelies and other stunts.
In June 1976, E.M. Andrews, a taxidermist by hobby, displayed a “swamp deer” he created – actually, a rabbit with antlers attached. Andrews had two small backyard buildings in South Richmond where he practiced freeze-drying, a newer and easier method of animal preservation than traditional taxidermy. For the previous five years, he had used freeze-drying to preserve animals for the State Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Feb. 3, 1976: Arthur Ashe visits with father, Arthur Sr., and brother, Johnnie, at Westwood Racquet Club.
In October 1976, TV chef and cookbook author Julia Child came to Richmond, where her itinerary included a book signing, a local TV appearance and a cooking demonstration at the Thalhimers department store downtown. Child traveled with array of kitchen implements and ingredients – she found that her tour stops didn’t always have the utensils she needed. Here, in her hotel room, she carved a Georgia ham while joined by her husband, Paul.
In January 1978, Pearl Bailey, the Tony Award-winning actress and singer from Newport News, was preparing to address the Richmond Public Forum from the stage at the Mosque (now Altria Theater). She covered a range of topics – from education to welfare to the United Nations – and said that despite heart trouble, “God blew breath in my face again to I could go out and spread love.” Bailey received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1976 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. She died in 1990.
This April 1978 photo shows packages of Pop Rocks, a carbonated candy that had soared in popularity, even if availability was limited. The gravel-like treat offered the sensation of bursting inside the mouth – a reaction created from carbon dioxide trapped inside the sugar. Test-marketing in California proved successful, and the candy from General Foods soon became a national rage.
In March 1957, University of Virginia alumni football players lost 20-0 in the fifth alumni vs. varsity game. The annual game, which the alumni previously won three times, continued through 1979. Here, former captains join in a handshake. From left are Joe Mehalick, Bill Dudley, varsity captain Jim Bakhtiar, Joe Palumbo, Bob Weir and Bill Chisholm.
Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe wife of Arthur Ashe, receives a warm welcome to Virginia's General Assembly chambers Feb. 2, 1979 from Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb.
In August 1979, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway was preparing to close the Sabot Depot station in Goochland County. The station hosted its first passenger train in 1881 and its last in 1957; it limped along until 1979 handling odd jobs. CSX dismantled the building in 1993.
In May 1979, the Lost World mountain opened at the Kings Dominion theme park in Doswell. The $7 million, 17-story attraction contained three components: the Journey to Atlantis flume ride (soon renamed the Haunted River), the Land of the Dooz children’s mine train and the Time Shaft rotor. In 1998, the mountain was repurposed to accommodate Volcano, the Blast Coaster, which still operates today.
In April 1979, a crowd of 10,000 gathered along Monument Avenue in Richmond for the annual Easter Festival, which included music from the Richmond Pops Band. The festival, sponsored by the Monument Avenue Preservation Society, included dancers, almost 30 art exhibits, children’s entertainment and food.
In July 1979, two boys walked along the rocks in the James River near the Lee Bridge in Richmond.
In June 1979, Terry Woo set bricks for a walkway as construction of Kanawha Plaza in downtown Richmond continued. The $4 million dollar city-financed plaza linked the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond building and the Virginia Electric and Power Co. building.
In October 1979, a couple dressed as apes made their way through Shockoe Slip in Richmond during the Great Pumpkin Party. The event included live music, costume contents, an art show and a pumpkin pie bake-off.
In November 1979, the Richmond Jaycees distributed lapel pins to voters after they cast ballots in city precincts.
In June 1979, astrologer Roberta Massie gave a chart reading at the Festival of the Stars, held at Unity of Richmond Church at Laburnum and Seminary avenues. For $3 or $4, attendees could get tarot card and palm readings as well as personalized astrological charts. The festival was sponsored by the Richmond Metropolitan Astrological Research Society.
In May 1979, Vann Barden from North Carolina came to Richmond with his mobile smoke pit to put on a pig picking with friends. Depending on the temperature and wind, Barden could use 60 to 120 pounds of charcoal scattered with hickory chips for his barbecuing. An 80-pound pig, which he marinated in homemade sauce, could take eight hours or more to cook.
In March 1979, a tractor-trailer jackknifed after two wheels came off on the James River Bridge in Richmond. The driver, 25-year-old Samuel Smith, was thrown from the truck and fell 100 feet. A firefighter said Smith survived because he landed about 40 feet from the water on muddy ground, which softened the impact.
In November 1979, an Army helicopter made a practice landing on the new helipad at Chippenham Hospital in Richmond. It was the first such helipad constructed for a central Virginia hospital. The $5,000 pad was constructed by E.G. Bowles Co. in a project assisted by the state police and the Federal Aviation Administration.
In January 1979, Miss America Kylene Barker signed autographs during a visit to Richmond. Barker, who was from Galax, won the Miss Virginia title in 1978 and then the national pageant in September of that year, becoming Miss America 1979.
In January 1979, former Washington Redskins wide receiver Roy Jefferson congratulated participants in the Winter Special Olympics at Wintergreen in Nelson County.
In January 1979, staff of the Women’s Resource Center conferred in their office at the University of Richmond. The center, which opened in 1976, assisted women with career preparation, education opportunities and life planning. The center’s founder and director was Jane Hopkins (holding book). With her (from left) are Carol Goff, Nancy Moore, Tina Forkin, assistant director Joanne Augspurger, Barbara Outland and Kathy Freeney.
In July 1979, enrollees of the local 70001 Ltd. program met in Richmond. Funded by the federal Department of Labor, the local program had started in February and aimed to give 16- to 21-year-old high school dropouts pre-employment training and GED support. The program’s roots were in Delaware, and the name stemmed from an account number associated with its establishment.
Safety Town Opens - This summer's installment of Safety Town opened at Azalea Mall yesterday, and among those on hand were Marcia Carr as Clyde the Clown (in car), Leigh Burke as Cupid the Clown, and Mike Martin as the owl. Children agest 4 through 8 may take one of three classes that are taught for an hour each day for one week. New classes start each Monday through August. Applications for registration should be made with the Henrico County Police. 6-17-1978
Where's the engine? The caboose traveling on the bed of a truck along West Broad Street yesterday wasn't part of a new rail line in Richmond, but part of a remodeling project at the old Clover Room restaurant. Owner John Dankos plans to open the new restaurant, Stanley Stegmeyer's Hodgepodge, on July 1. Part of the decor will include two cabooses, each of which will seat 16 persons. May 3, 1978
In May 1978, this train caboose traveled by truck along West Broad Street in Richmond was headed for the old Clover Room restaurant, which new owner John Dankos was remodeling into Stanley Stegmeyer’s Hodgepodge Restaurant. Its eclectic decor was to include two cabooses that would seat 16 diners each.
March 22, 1978: Hal Burrows serves while partner Courtney Drake looks on at CCV's platform tennis facility.
8/3/2015: This February 1978 image shows a block of West 31st Street in Woodland Heights. The South Richmond neighborhood, which was built from 1908 to 1920, saw a surge of new residents in the 1970s, mainly young families drawn to the charming architecture and large yards.
In February 1978, some members of the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles biked through Richmond during a 1,200-mile ride to Florida to spotlight the Muscular Dystrophy Association. While there were fundraising events along the way, the ride was organized to focus attention on the continued need for research.
In September 1978, Arthur Hargrove Jr., a Times-Dispatch carrier in the Glen Allen area, delivered one of his final papers. Hargrove, who was retiring after 35 years, rode his bike on his 12-mile route - a type of route normally covered by car.
In October 1978, a group of mad hatters danced in Shockoe Slip during the Great Pumpkin Party. The Halloween-themed festival drew about 10,000 people, many of them in costume to participate in contests for cash prizes.
In January 1978, a longtime Oregon Hill resident walked through his neighborhood. In the late 1970s, the historic Richmond enclave was undergoing noticeable change as urbanization brought new, younger residents into the tight-knit community.
In November 1978, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indians performed for Gov. John N. Dalton, continuing their centuries-old Thanksgiving tradition of delivering game, such as deer and turkey, to the governor in lieu of a tax payment. The offering commemorates the 17th-century peace treaty between the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes and the English.
In November 1978, African-American women gathered for a beauty clinic at the Thalhimers at Eastgate Mall in Richmond. The clinic, sponsored by Fashion Fair, brought in beauty professionals including Pearl Hester (standing at right) to demonstrate makeup techniques.
In April 1978, John Stone plowed a field on a tobacco farm in Union Level in Mecklenburg County. Owner Joe Warren of South Hill used seven mule teams to plow 60 tobacco acres among several of his farms.
In April 1978, students from Huguenot High School in Richmond worked with director Dave Anderson on a public television series called “As We See It.” Financed by a federal grant, the series shed light on school desegregation across America, with students contributing scripts for scenes. The Huguenot segment was titled “The Riot that Never Was” and included a re-enactment of a tense moment in the cafeteria during the previous school year, which ultimately was resolved.
In January 1978, Bill Heindl, a co-founder of the Heindl-Evans Inc. construction firm, oversaw progress on building a footbridge in James River Park at Texas Avenue in Richmond.
In May 1978, pilot Merton A. Meade Jr. landed a 1920s-era Pitcairn Mailwing at Byrd International Airport in Henrico County. Such biplanes carried mail through the area in the 1920s and 1930s for Pitcairn Aviation Inc., a predecessor of Eastern Air Lines. Meade was flying from New York to Miami on a trip sponsored by Eastern to promote its 50th anniversary.
In May 1978, Danny Shapiro of wholesaler Stanley Toys exhibited new electronic games in Richmond. At the time, products such as Simon and Electronic Battleship were so new that not all Richmond-area stores carried them yet. Thalhimers did not stock electronic games, and Miller & Rhoads had just received Blip and Comp IV, which were battery-operated games.
In May 1978, the Bannerman Family Cloggers and Friends performed at Heritage Day, a celebration of national and cultural traditions found among Richmond-area residents. The city festival, held at the Carillon in Byrd Park, featured more than 30 performers as well as demonstrations of folk crafts such as banjo making, fly-tying and rug-braiding.
In August 1978, about 100 Elvis Presley fans gathered at the Regency Inn South on Midlothian Turnpike for a memorial service to “the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” who had died a year earlier. The service – sponsored by the local Taking Care of Business Fan Club – included a meditation period that featured some of Presley’s gospel recordings, which brought an emotional response from fans.
In January 1978, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Miller assessed the damage done to their car by a tree that fell after a night of strong winds. The Chesterfield County couple had just purchased the car.
In April 1978, Capitol Square in Richmond was filled with people enjoying a pleasant spring day. The high temperature was 81 degrees, which was ideal for relaxing on the grass and benches or taking a stroll around the grounds.
In September 1978, plastic drain pipe was shaped into a 60-foot “serpent” in the Yeocomico River near Kinsale on Virginia’s Northern Neck. Richmonder John Tighe created it to surprise fellow members of a Richmond boating group that was gathering for its annual fish fry. The sculpture mimicked a giant serpentlike creature – later nicknamed “Chessie” – that some people claim to have spotted nearby that summer.
In June 1978, crowds gathered at the Busch Gardens amusement park near Williamsburg for the grand opening of the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster, which featured quick acceleration, a 13-story drop and a pair of interlocking loops. On hand for the debut were Anheuser-Busch executive August A. Busch III (center) and Gov. John N. Dalton (also wearing tie), plus a number of athletes.
In December 1978, J.C. Penney employee Janet McCabe modeled a timely trend – plastic jeans – at Regency Square mall in Henrico County. McCabe said the jeans were a bit stiff, but with a leotard or tights underneath, they could turn heads at the disco. Penney stores in Richmond carried the pants, which were originated by La Parisienne.
In February 1976, Dave Twardzik of the Squires shot over Artis Gilmore of the Kentucky Colonels en route to a Squires victory before a crowd of only 1,017 at the Coliseum. This was the last season for the ABA and the Squires.
In September 1976, a camera crew set up by the log flume at Kings Dominion in Doswell as filming continued on “Rollercoaster.” The movie, starring George Segal (in boat) as a ride inspector, was filmed at several amusement parks and is about an extortionist who demands $1 million to end his bombing campaign at parks. Extras and crew assembled at 7 a.m., but it was 2:15 p.m. before everything was ready so this scene could be shot.
In October 1976, visitors enjoyed an afternoon aboard the American Freedom Train, a traveling bicentennial attraction that stopped in Richmond and highlighted 200 years of American achievement. The dining car, which allowed guests to experience the 1890s, featured a working player piano, a 6-foot bar, plush chairs, ornate light fixtures and tasseled curtains.
In December 1976, Jim McCrimmon (right) of the Richmond Wildcats tried to dislodge the puck from Dave Elliott of the Baltimore Clippers during a game at the Richmond Coliseum. The Wildcats were part of the Southern Hockey League, which folded the following month. The Richmond Rifles of the Eastern Hockey League brought the sport back to town in 1979.
In July 1976, Richmond youths did yard work as part of a summer employment assignment administered by the Richmond Area Manpower Planning Systems. The organization hoped to beautify the city with landscaping projects in parks as well as offer lawn care assistance to senior citizens and the disabled.
In September 1976, more than 1,000 rafts, kayaks and canoes crowded into the Jordan Point Yacht Haven and Marina in Hopewell for the second annual Great James River Raft Race to benefit multiple sclerosis research and local MS projects. The race concluded across the river at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County. Rafters were awarded prizes for speed, design originality and amount of money raised through pledges.
In April 1976, men tended to the roasting planks at the 28th annual shad planking in Wakefield, an event in Sussex County that lured politicians, reporters, campaign workers and others to kick off the electoral season. Sponsored by the Wakefield Ruritan Club, the event historically was a function of the state’s Democrats, but it evolved into a bipartisan tradition.
In June 1976, cars and other scrap metal awaited shredding at Peck Iron and Metal Co. Inc., located off Commerce Road n South Richmond. A large machine called a fragmentizer could chew up a car and spit it out as tiny chunks of metal in about 40 seconds.
In October 1976, Hampden-Sydney College students stayed in motel-style units that were constructed to accommodate them while older dorms were renovated. Each of the four buildings had eight rooms, with two students to a room
In May 1976, Owen Smith of the Richmond chapter of the National Association of Miniaturists peered through the entrance of a dollhouse replica of the Wilton House, once an 18th-century plantation and later a house museum in Richmond. The replica stood 50 inches high, and the inside included items, in miniature form, that would have been property of the wealthy Randolph family. The mini-Wilton was displayed at the museum for a special exhibit.
In April 1976, famed pop artist Andy Warhol – next to one of his Golda Meir portraits – was joined by New York gallery owner Ivan Karp and art collector Frances Lewis, one of the founders of the Best Products Co., at a private party in Richmond. The event celebrated Warhol’s donation of modern art to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
In May 1976, a line wrapped around and beyond the Richmond Coliseum as tickets went on sale for an Elvis Presley concert – about 3,000 people were waiting when ticket windows opened at 10 a.m. His sold-out show in June was his final appearance in Richmond; he died in August 1977.
In December 1976, Freeman and Theresa Spencer sat in their Richmond home with Tillie, their prized 6-year-old German shepherd. The living room featured Tillie’s numerous trophies and memorabilia – at the time, she held titles as an American conformation champion and Canadian conformation champion, among other honors.
In October 1975, the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville was in the final phase of initial construction, with some of the square holes in the former Main Street slated to be filled with landscaping. The $2 million pedestrian mall opened in 1976 and, as it marks 40 years in 2016, is home to more than 150 shops and restaurants.
In October 1976, Ronald J. Roller of Petersburg posed with his beer can collection, which totaled almost 1,300 after 18 years of collecting. He conservatively valued the trove at $5,000. Roller held two of his prized pieces: a 1934 Old Milwaukee can and a gallon can/dispenser of Gettelman.
In June 1976, Mrs. Kenneth R. Higgins stood at the John Marshall House at Ninth and Marshall streets in downtown Richmond as a 12-year restoration neared its end. Higgins, past president of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, which maintained the city-owned historic house, would cut the ribbon several days later as the 1790 home reopened.
This May 1976 photo shows Carter’s Dry Goods and Notions store in Richmond’s Oregon Hill neighborhood. At the time, the store, which dated to 1926, was feeling the strain of competition from larger stores downtown and because longtime residents were moving away. The store closed in 1993.
In June 1976, butcher Homer Willis (from left) and assistants Clarence Gilliam and Joseph Scruggs prepared sausage at Willis’ Powhatan Locker Co., a small slaughterhouse and custom butcher shop off state Route 13 in Powhatan County. Willis could handle thousands of pounds of meat for customers every week, and his service was so popular at the time, it might take six months for him to squeeze a new customer into his schedule.
In June 1976, 4-year-old Beth Vetrovec had a difficult time selecting a kitten for adoption at the Richmond SPCA. (An adoption advocacy poster on the wall behind her featured Morris the Cat, the popular advertising mascot for the 9Lives brand of cat food.)
In August 1976, what is now known as the Weisiger-Carroll House was still in rough shape at 2408 Bainbridge St. in the Manchester area of South Richmond. That year, a new claimant on the title led to the discovery of the house’s historical significance. The 1½-story frame and brick dwelling was estimated to have been built in the 1760s and served as a private home as well as a hospital during the Civil War. The home is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In August 1976, former child movie star Shirley Temple Black visited Colonial Williamsburg as part of her duties as the first female chief of protocol of the United States. The president of Finland was visiting the area, though onlookers were more interested in spotting Temple. She previously served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana, and she later was ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
In June 1976, an automobile (minus its tires and gas tank) was fed into a fragmentizer, which could crush the vehicle in less than a minute using an array of hammers weighing nearly 400 pounds each. The fragmentizer was in Richmond’s Deepwater Terminal area and was used by Peck Iron and Metal Co. Inc. to crush vehicles into fine chunks of metal. Peck Iron estimated that the fragmentizer “ate” about 100,000 autos during the previous year.
In September 1976, seven former Prince Edward County residents reunited on the lawn of the former R.R. Moton High School (later Prince Edward County High School), from which they were bared in the 1960s during the state’s Massive Resistance to integration. From left are Frank Early, Betty Ward, G.A. Hamilton, Hilda Thompson, LaNae Johnson, Bessie Shade and Douglas Vaughan. Hundreds of former county students from the era attended the reunion.
On Halloween 1976, young reveler Christopher Gibbs held a balloon while thousands wandered Shockoe Slip in Richmond at the Great Pumpkin Party. The celebration, sponsored by the Shockoe Slip Neighborhood Association, included an auction and a costume contest. About 10,000 people attended the event.
In August 1976, Hugh Jones (right) and David Whitlock volunteered during the summer at the Richmond Boys Club. Jones helped youths in the club’s reading program, and Whitlock ran a summer basketball league.
In January 1976, self-proclaimed psychic and astrologer Jeane Dixon was at the Miller & Rhoads department store in downtown Richmond to sign copies of her latest book. Dixon found fame though her syndicated astrology column and some well-publicized predictions, including about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She died in 1997.
In June 1976, miniature golf was a diversion at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland County. The nine-hole course was constructed by prison maintenance workers to encourage activity by inmates. The center was founded in 1931 when female inmate populations were getting too large for local jails. It was known for its groundbreaking programs, including its self-sufficient farming program in the 1940s.
This February 1976 photo shows one of the three World Wide Health Spa locations in the Richmond area. The national chain offered exercise spaces for men and women, massages, facials, steam baths, weight loss programs, whirlpools and solariums.
In March 1976, Rose Hill (left) conferred with Kay Pope Lea, who found work as a welder on a downtown Richmond construction site. Hill was a local recruiter-counselor for the Women in Apprenticeship program, a federal initiative tied to the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act that supported women’s employment in nontraditional and male-dominated fields.
In April 1976, Jack McKeon, the new manager of the Richmond Braves, surveyed the baseball team’s home at Parker Field on the eve of the International League opener. McKeon managed the team for one year, leaving in 1977 to become manger of Oakland Athletics. In 2003, at age 72, he won a World Series as manager of the Florida Marlins.
In December 1975, James River Park visitors enjoyed the hand-operated ferry that ran to a small island. Once there, more visitors waiting back at the shore would use the pulley to return the flat-bottom barge so they could then board it and pull themselves over to the island as well.
In January 1975, shoppers passed by “the clock” at Miller & Rhoads in downtown Richmond. The distinct timepiece with four faces was installed in the department store in the mid-1920s; it can be seen today at the Valentine Richmond History Center.
This May 1975 photo shows The Jefferson Hotel. At that time, a new investor group was studying the feasibility of renovating the property, which was built by Lewis Ginter and opened in 1895. Today it is in select company as a five-star hotel.
In June 1975, Richmond chapter American Red Cross volunteers (from left) Lydia Sarvay, Mrs. C.W. Fellows, Mrs. Percy Harton and Mrs. D.U. Galbraith were honored for 35 years of canteen service. The recognition was part of the chapter’s 58th annual luncheon meeting.
This September 1975 image shows part of the 500 block of North Second Street in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. The National Historic Landmark District, which became the center of the city’s African-American community after the Civil War, has experienced significant revitalization in recent years.
This June 1975 image shows a performance of a splashy Cole Porter “Anything Goes” number, one of 25 song excerpts in the 30-minute “Give My Regards to Broadway” show at the just-opened Kings Dominion theme park in Doswell. The park’s top show featured 16 college and high school students; it was presented in the $1.6 million Mason Dixon Music Hall.
In May 1975, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. greeted a porpoise on the opening day of the Kings Dominion in Doswell. The theme park opened with 15 attractions; its Lion Country Safari area had opened a year before. Today, the park offers more than 60 rides, shows and attractions as well as a water park.
In August 1975, Richmond police Capt. Joseph H. Parker sat on a motorized bike and explained new regulations. At the time, police were aiming to clear up a public misunderstanding about a new Virginia law on motorized bikes, which said any bicycle with an assisting motor could not exceed 20 mph.
In June 1975, the band Ice Water performed in the Flintstone Follies Theater at Kings Dominion in Doswell. The theme park fully opened the previous month with 15 attractions; its Lion Country Safari area had opened in 1974. Today, the park offers more than 60 rides, shows and attractions as well as a water park.
In December 1975, Mike Jackson of the Virginia Squires challenged Denver’s Ralph Simpson during an American Basketball Association game at the Richmond Coliseum. The Squires moved to Richmond in 1970 after spending a year in Washington as the Washington Caps.
This January 1975 image of the Mosque auditorium in Richmond was taken through a small window from above. While the building was best known for its theater, over time it housed an array of other features, including a rooftop penthouse, swimming pool, gymnasium, ballroom and bowling alley.
In September 1975, handler Bobby Barlow showed off his basset hound, Ch. Slippery Hill Hudson, who was named best in show at the Virginia Kennel Club dog show at the Arena in Richmond. At left is judge George C. Ehmig, and at right is show executive Lawrence W. Bracken Jr.
In late April 1975, landscape workers prepared gardens in front of the Eiffel Tower replica at Kings Dominion in Doswell. The theme park opened days later on May 3.
In January 1975, Henrico County police officer Jim Phillips stepped out of a plane used for the county’s sky patrol. The special force played a key role in the recent capture of three armed bank robbers.
In September 1975, University of Richmond student Marshall Bank posed outside Boatwright Memorial Library. A year earlier, he checked out – and refused to return – some volumes that were signed by their authors, saying the works (including by Robert Frost) deserved better protection than the open shelves. But he did return them and, with funding from an anonymous donor, participated in a project to get contemporary poets to sign copies of their work for inclusion in the library’s collection.
In October 1975, Wayne Latimer kicked a 61-yard field goal that lifted Virginia Tech to a 13-10 victory over Florida State at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.
In May 1975, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. and Mrs. August Busch III rode the lead car around the Le Mans track in the French village of the new Busch Gardens: The Old Country theme park near Williamsburg. The governor and Anheuser-Busch executives took part in dedication of park, which had opened to the public the previous weekend and drew more than 30,000 visitors.
In October 1975, the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville was in the final phase of initial construction, with some of the square holes in the former Main Street slated to be filled with landscaping. The $2 million pedestrian mall opened in 1976 and, as it marks 40 years in 2016, is home to more than 150 shops and restaurants.
In July 1976, a crowd filled The Pass, a restaurant and music venue at 803 W. Broad St. in Richmond. The Pass opened in 1975 and was in business for about four years. In its short time, notable artists performed there, including John Mayall, Stanley Turrentine, Lydia Pense, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Earl Scruggs, Nicolette Larsen and Robert Palmer.
In May 1975, Pat Benatar – before she became a world-famous rock vocalist – delivered her final performance with the band Coxon’s Army at Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond. Benatar moved to Richmond two years earlier at age 20; she met pianist Phil Coxon during a gig at the Roaring Twenties, and what started as a duo evolved into a larger band. In leaving Richmond, Benatar planned to try her vocal luck in New York.
In September 1975, more than 50 women attended the opening of A Woman’s Place, Richmond’s first coffeehouse for women. Located in the basement of St. James’ Episcopal Church parish house at 1205 W. Franklin St., the cafe was open on Thursday evenings. YWCA members started it as a place where women could relax and where female entertainers could air their talents.
In August 1975, city workers installed a granite channel for Reedy Creek near Forest Hill Park in Richmond. About 1,700 square yards of the creek bed was being covered with stone cemented into place. The $107,000 project, which aimed to channel the creek water to reduce flooding and erosion, was part of a larger $1.5 million creek improvement project. The next phase was to build bridges over the creek at Forest Hill Avenue and at Roanoke Street.
In November 1975, a lunar eclipse decorated the skies of Richmond – for the second time that year (the first was in May). According to the Science Museum of Virginia, it was not uncommon to have two eclipses within six months. This composite image merged photos of the eclipse with a skyline shot from South Richmond.
In August 1975, a cleanup crew from Norfolk worked on an oil spill in South Richmond. Fuel oil had escaped from an open valve at Little Oil Co. on Commerce Road.
In July 1975, an archaeological team dug near the site of a Native American village in New Kent County. The spot along the Chickahominy River was where Captain John Smith, the English explorer, once recorded a thriving Native American community, Moysonec, in 1607. The dig was funded by a state grant and a donation from the landowner.
In October 1975, boys and girls lined up at Town and Country Cotillion in Richmond’s West End to learn dance steps from instructor James Lowell. The program, which taught popular and traditional dances such as the waltz, tango, jitterbug and twist, was open to middle and high school students. Town and Country, which had 500 youths across four groups, was among a handful of cotillions in the Richmond area at the time.
This July 1975 image shows the view along Main Street in downtown Richmond from the intersection with Fifth Street.
In September 1975, chef Toro Chou (right) was joined by husband Hsin Chou in preparing a meal at Hugo’s Rotisserie at the Hyatt House in Richmond. Toro, nicknamed “Mama Chou,” was a standout in the kitchen, according to executive chef Tony Dawson. “Mama Chou” and Hsin mainly worked on banquet preparations, but on Wednesdays, they prepared Asian dishes for the restaurant’s international menu.
In August 1975, Larry Rast directed a group piano class at the University of Richmond. Rast, who was director of the music education department at Northern Illinois University, was in Richmond to share group instructional techniques with teachers from elementary to college levels. The session drew teachers from as far away as Colorado and Michigan and was sponsored by UR’s music department and the Wurlitzer Co.
In July 1975, children sat around the small Statue of Liberty in Chimborazo Park in Richmond. In the early 1950s, the Boy Scouts of America erected about 200 mini-versions of the Statue of Liberty around the country as part of the organization’s 40th anniversary. The 8½-foot tall, 290-pound copper statues were made in Chicago by Friedley-Voshardt Co. The Richmond statue was erected on Feb. 11, 1951, and rose nearly 17 feet, including the base. The project’s total cost was about $1,000.
In March 1975, Regency Square mall was under construction in western Henrico County. At left, the building closest to completion was the Thalhimers department store; other initial anchors included Miller & Rhoads, JC Penney and Sears. The 800,000-square-foot complex was to be the largest shopping center in the area; it opened in October of that year.
In June 1975, southbound traffic on Interstate 95 backed up past Main Street Station as smoke billowed from a fire at Little Oil Co. in South Richmond. Two tanks holding a combined 850,000 gallons of fuel exploded at the business on Commerce Road. Fire officials believed that the ignition of an employee’s car sparked the blaze, though the oil company speculated that a lightning strike was to blame. The fire took 19 hours to extinguish.
In September 1975, Lola Conklin, who called herself the “original bearded lady,” celebrated her 67th birthday while appearing at State Fair of Virginia in Richmond. Conklin, who lived in Fort Myers, Fla., was part of Deggeler Amusement Co.’s midway attractions. She had been in show business for 56 years, including eight with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
In April 1974, the Lion Country Safari opened as the first part of the Kings Dominion amusement complex near Doswell. The next year, the park installed a monorail that guests used instead of driving their cars among the several hundred animals, which included lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes and other jungle dwellers. Here, the first visitors paid their admission fee. From left are driver Ken Lion, Lora Becraft and Larry and Mary Tropea.
In April 1974, the Lion Country Safari drive-thru animal park at Kings Dominion in Doswell was ready to open, featuring several hundred animals – antelope, elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes and more. The Eiffel Tower at the amusement park, which would open the following year, is in the background.
This December 1974 image shows stationary bicycles, once part of the original equipment at the Mosque (now the Altria Theater) and still in the gymnasium that was then being used by Richmond police. The Shriners fraternal organization built the Moorish Revival theater, with its distinctive minarets, in the 1920s.
8/17/2015: In September 1974, the 392nd Army Band of Fort Lee performed at the dedication of two new parks in the Fan District in Richmond. Paradise Park (pictured, between the 1700 blocks of Floyd and Grove avenues) and Scuffletown Park (between the 2300 blocks of Park and Stuart avenues) were built with money from the U.S. Interior Department.
In March 1974 at the state Capitol, Virginia first lady Katherine Godwin (second front right) unveiled a painting of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. The work, by Jack Clifton of Hampton (front), was presented by the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution; it commissioned the painting in cooperation with the Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission. Assisting Godwin with the unveiling were state Sen. Edward E. Willey Sr. of Richmond and DAR official Mrs. John S. Biscoe.
In December 1974, young members of Temple B’nai Shalom lighted candles on the menorah in celebration of Hanukkah. The synagogue, which was on Three Chopt Road in Henrico County, later merged with Temple Beth-El in Richmond.
In October 1974, J.G. Adams, the Southern regional distributor manager for Litton Microwave Ranges, demonstrated microwave cooking and touted its benefits during a program at the Miller & Rhoads department store in downtown Richmond. He prepared several dishes – and assured people with shielded heart pacemakers that microwaves posed no danger.
In April 1974, pharmacy soda fountains were continuing to disappear. Locally, the Lafayette Westwood Pharmacy on Patterson Avenue and the Sunset Hills Pharmacy on Three Chopt Road had recently removed their fountains, which was happening with greater frequency nationwide, too. Pharmacists said the fountains were expensive to operate and difficult to staff, and that they were no longer as necessary for bringing in traffic.
This February 1974 image shows Thieves Market, an antiques store in Alexandria whose evocative exterior – featuring ironwork, statuary and more – hinted at its wide-ranging offerings inside. At the time, the proprietors estimated that $5 million to $10 million worth of merchandise passed through the market annually. The business later moved to Northern Virginia’s McLean area.
In April 1974, several hundred University of Richmond students protested the school’s dorm visitation policy, which forbade visitors of the opposite sex in student rooms on weeknights. The protestors, who wanted unrestricted visitation, marched to the women’s dorms at Westhampton College during the evening, and then female participants visited the male dorms.
In August 1974, Foreman Field at Old Dominion University in Norfolk was packed with about 33,000 music fans for a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert. The popular band had split in 1970 but reunited for a summer tour in 1974 that hit large arenas and outdoor stadiums. The “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan adorns the front of the stage, and the concert opened with the Stephen Stills-penned hit “Love the One You’re With.”
In July 1974, a boy fished at an old dam on the property of the Lakeside Country Club in Henrico County. The deteriorating dam concerned county officials; club members said the repair estimate of about $109,000 exceeded their budget.
In April 1974, an impromptu jam session broke out at Byrd Park in Richmond — which became a gathering spot for music fans after Cherry Blossom Music Festival at City Stadium ended early. The day before, a drug arrest in the stands touched off violence between police and festival-goers, which scuttled the festival’s second day.
In April 1974, burning cars and debris marked a riot that broke out during the Cherry Blossom Music Festival at City Stadium in Richmond. The two-day event ended a day early after a drug arrest in the stands led to violence between police and festival-goers. An estimated 14,000 showed up for the first day of the festival.
In August 1974, Richmond-area students learned computer skills at the Mathematics and Science Center in Henrico County. Teletype terminals were going to be in place in 22 area middle and high schools at the beginning of the upcoming school year, and students could dial in to a Hewlett-Packard 2000F computer to work on math activities and other subjects.
In September 1974, patrons at the Virginia State Fair took in the view from the sky glider ride on the midway. Attendance at the 10-day event at the fairgrounds in Henrico County approached 475,000 that year.
In September 1973, fireworks illuminated the sky at the Southside Virginia Fair in Petersburg, which was the state’s second-largest fair. The 65th annual fair attracted more than 162,000 visitors. But in 1977, officials announced that the fair would cease operations after experiencing drops in attendance, livestock exhibitors and revenue.
In December 1973, a man and his dog walked in snow-covered Jefferson Park in the Union Hill neighborhood of Richmond near Church Hill.
In January 1973, Regina Randal (left) and Marsha English processed wire service copy that had been marked up by editors in The Times-Dispatch newsroom.
In January 1973, a young customer explored the offerings at the Carter’s Dry Goods and Notions store on Oregon Hill in Richmond. An accompanying article said the store’s biggest attraction was the penny candy counter – and some of the busiest times were after school, when children streamed in the after getting off the bus.
On Christmas Eve 1973, 4-year-old Greg Murphey (front) and 6-year-old brother Scott slept by the fire at their Richmond home – hoping that Santa Claus would make some noise during his visit so that they could catch him at work, filling their stockings and leaving presents under the tree.
In April 1973, the annual dredging of the James River channel in Richmond was under way. The previous year’s flooding had deposited a great amount of silt, so Atkerson Dredging Co. would be busy. The project, which usually took a week, was expected to require more than a month.
This December 1973 photo shows the front counter in Roaring Twenties, a new restaurant and nightclub on state Route 10 in the Hopewell area. It was designed to resemble a 1920s speakeasy, with features including an antique cash register, a diving girl and even a dining table from Al Capone’s Florida home.
This February 1973 photo shows the home of the Irving family near Farmville. During a roof repainting project several years earlier, the family got creative, adding floral designs that in once case reached 10 feet in diameter. One offshoot: Every year, some new Hampden-Sydney College students would come by thinking the home was a counterculture haven.
In October 1974, employees at the Philip Morris USA manufacturing center in South Richmond took a break in the new employee lounge that overlooked the production floor. The factory opened in 1973 and could produce up to 200 million cigarettes per day at the time.
In November 1951, a dachshund float towered above spectators lining the curb during the Thalhimers Toy Parade in downtown Richmond. The parade was first held in 1929 and, after a pause during World War II, resumed in 1946. Thalhimers department store employees worked for months to build floats, design routes and prepare costumes. The parade was cancelled in 1973 as in-store activities took greater prominence.
In April 1977, the Ezibu Muntu dancers performed at Shafer Court at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as part of the annual Spring Fling celebration weekend. The dance group, which started in 1973 with a donation from VCU, aims to preserve African culture and history in Richmond.
In March 1973, a rider and her horse practiced for the Loretta Lynn Longhorn World Championship Rodeo. The competition, which brought 100 riders and 175 animals to Richmond from all over the country, was held at the Coliseum. Riders competed for about $12,000 in prize money and championship points in the International Rodeo Association.
In September 1973, two Richmond women modeled fashions they had created from their own recycled blue jeans.
In December 1973, Richmond police bicycle patrolman William W. Fuller Jr. stopped for a downtown chat with policeman Glen A. Brinson of the mounted unit.
In November 1973, a new park in Richmond’s Fan District featured sculpted concrete forms, a large shuffleboard area and several open play areas. A combination of city and federal dollars funded the nearly $150,000 park, as well as a second one being developed in the area. Carlton Abbott, an architect from Williamsburg, designed the parks.
In March 1973, Panda and her two pups posed with her work of art: a gnawed bone shaped like a dinosaur. A day after the Pekingese had given birth to five puppies, she brought the bone to her Henrico County owners, who were astounded by the “sculpture.” The owners planned to mount the work on a plaque and hang it on their wall as “Panda’s Masterpiece.”
In June 1973, Richmond Braves baseball player Rod Gilbreath signed an autograph for Patricia Bowen, with fellow patient Cynthia McKay nearby, at the Crippled Children’s Hospital on Brook Road in Richmond. The hospital, with roots dating to 1917, is a predecessor of today’s Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Gilbreath played for the Atlanta Braves for several seasons in the 1970s and had a long career in other roles with the organization.
In December 1973, Al J. Schalow Jr. showed 3-year-old son John an in-progress creation. Schalow had been saving wood from his Christmas trees for several years and carving projects that could take up to a year.
In July 1973, exterminator Linda Summerlin sprayed pest control in a customer’s basement. Summerlin, 24, said she chose her job with the Orkin Co. as an alternative to office work. One of few women in the field, she made about a dozen service calls daily, crawling into basements and attics to combat rats and roaches.
On Oct. 23, 1971, Sidney Poitier (left) and Bill Cosby entered the Loew's Theater for a benefit to raise money to rebuild Virginia Union University's Coburn Chapel, which burned in 1970. More than 1,700 people paid $20 apiece to see a Poitier movie and enjoy a Cosby comedy routine. The event coincided with VUU's homecoming, which Poitier also attended.
This December 1971 photo shows the old Memorial Guidance Clinic in Highland Park in Richmond. The youth psychiatric facility, one of 10 original child guidance clinics in the United States, was formed in 1924 to help families who could not afford care. In 1971 it suspended operations because of staffing problems, then reopened in 1972 on Church Hill with a new focus on outreach. The organization is known today as ChildSavers.
In May 1971, Duke Ellington appeared at City Stadium as part of an event headlined by Bob Hope and sponsored by Nolde’s Bread. Ellington wore the cowboy hat to shade him from the sun. The event attracted a crowd of about 10,000. (Tickets cost $2 plus four blue Nolde bags, or $4 and buyers received coupons redeemable for four bags of Nolde bread.)
In February 1971, a Times-Dispatch article highlighted the evolving fashion standards in local schools. Conrad Dandridge, metal shop teacher at Armstrong High School, showed off a sporty look, though teachers increasingly were beginning to dress less formally, with women in pantsuits and men in sweaters and slacks – attire that students themselves were wearing.
This June 1971 image shows the Highland Park Public School building in Richmond. At the time, there was debate because many of Richmond’s school buildings were old, and their designs were hampering new methods of teaching. Highland Park, built in 1909, accommodated students through the end of 1977. The Mediterranean Revival building, designed by Charles Robinson, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, just as it was being converted into a senior apartment complex. It stands empty today.
In January 1971, Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe conducted a clinic at the Valentine Museum in Richmond. The event was sponsored by the museum’s Junior Center and drew 675 youngsters and adults. Ashe, who had just returned from a trip to Africa, answered questions and demonstrated principles of the game.
In August 1971, Allison Bell (left) and Pat Umlauf participated in ceremonies in Richmond unveiling the Seaboard Coast Line’s new locomotive. The Spirit of '76 was set to travel throughout the nation to remind people of America’s upcoming bicentennial celebration.
In August 1971, a young Richmonder looked over the city’s bicycle laws. That summer, the juvenile division of the Richmond Bureau of Police held a drive at 35 city schools to promote bicycle registration, which aimed to protect owners from theft, accidents or loss.
In April 1971, Ernest Edmund of Bremo Bluff in Fluvanna County headed home after a long day of plowing. His dog accompanied him on the journey home down state Route 15.
In October 1971, Brenda Faye Childress, the reigning Queen of Tobaccoland, waved from her float during the National Tobacco Festival parade in Richmond. The festival, which ran in Richmond from 1949 to 1984, was a top event in the city during its run and included an array of activities, including dinners, balls, beauty contests, football games and a parade. The queen was selected from a group of crowned tobacco princesses who arrived in Richmond from all over the East Coast.
In September 1971, the Country Ramblers from Nelson County warmed up for their performance at the first Bluegrass Grove Festival. The three-day event was held at Roy McCraw’s Bluegrass Grove farm in Amelia County and featured bluegrass and folk bands from around the Mid-Atlantic. Other Virginia acts included the Blue Mountain Boys, the Roanoke Valley Boys and the Dixie Hillbillies.
In January 1973, John and Debbie Nelson were in their junior year at the Petersburg General Hospital School of Nursing. The two decided independently to become nurses, and their paths crossed in 1971 when they were students at Norfolk General Hospital. By October 1972, they were married and transferred to Petersburg General.
In August 1971, members of Camp Willow Run gathered outside their dormitories, which were former train boxcars. The railroad-themed camp, on a peninsula on Lake Gaston in Littleton, N.C., is still run by Youth Camps for Christ Inc. The “depot,” or dining hall, which was modeled after an 1890 train depot and was built from plans furnished by the Southern Railway Co., was the focal point of activities.
This November 1971 image shows a monument in eastern Henrico County that commemorated the “calamitous year 1771” flood in Richmond. On another side, the monument included an inscription from Ryland Randolph citing 1772 and memorializing his parents.
This March 1971 image shows the Richmond Dairy Co. building on Marshall Street in Jackson Ward in Richmond. Equipment was being auctioned in the four-story building after the company stopped operating in 1970. Dairymen J.O. Scott, A.L. Scott and T.L. Blanton started the company in 1890, and the 1914 building was designed by the architecture firm Carneal & Johnston. Today the building contains rental apartments.
In July 1971, Brown & Williamson Tobacco worker Clarence Dennis picketed outside the company’s warehouse in Petersburg. About 400 machinists were in their fourth week of picketing while wage and benefit negotiations continued at the firm’s headquarters in Louisville, KY.
In May 1971, Myrtle Palmer (right) taught an exercise class at the Richmond YWCA. Organized in the 1880s, the local chapter of the Y is the oldest in the South.
In April 1971, Newton Ancarrow paused during a trek through Richmond’s new James River Park to examine a blossoming wildflower. Ancarrow, a crusader for cleaning the river, had started studying and photographing wildflowers five years earlier, seeing them as a tool to tell the story of pollution’s threat to the James. Passion and hobby intersected, and he had made more than 35,000 color slides of local wildflowers.
In March 1971, a crowd estimated at several hundred waited outside City Council chambers at City Hall in downtown Richmond. Residents of the recently annexed Broad Rock area were protesting the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s proposal for low-rent public housing in the area.
In May 1971, Mrs. Henry Heatwole (left) and Agnes Crandall served the National Park Service at Big Meadows, part of Shenandoah National Park. The previous year, the service instituted a program allowing use of volunteers for interpretive and other services. Heatwole had established a library at the park; Crandall, also an experienced volunteer, had recently become a paid employee.
In November 1971, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Peterson of Dinwiddie County welcomed quadruplets at Petersburg General Hospital. The babies, two girls and two boys, were reportedly the first quadruplets born in the state since 1966. At middle are Dr. Charles Moseley and nurse Edna Palmer.
In May 1971, Henrico County received 130 voting machines to be used in the next election. The machines were the first ever in Henrico, and county authorities planned an extensive program to educate voters on using them. Pulling a handle would close the booth’s curtains, and voters set levers for their preferred candidates before using the handle again to record the votes and open the curtains.
In November 1971, Richmond precinct worker Walter E. Lewis (left) explained how to use a voting machine to Raymond L. Redd.
In May 1971, Frances Peyton, a clerk at the postal station at 10th and Main streets in Richmond, demonstrated the new self-service unit for postal official Frank Saller. The machine sold stamps and envelopes, as well as made change. It was the fifth self-service unit in the metro area – smaller machines were in place at the Willow Lawn and Southside Plaza shopping centers, as well as the main post office and Saunders postal station.
In December 1971, “Mother” Maybelle Carter (from left) performed at the Richmond Coliseum with daughters Anita and Helen as part of a Johnny Cash concert (he was married to Carter sister June). Maybelle played autoharp, banjo and guitar, and her two-finger picking became a signature style. The famous musical family was from Southwest Virginia but lived in Richmond for several years in the 1940s.
In November 1971, Barbara Smith warmed up with a cup of hot coffee on her way to work on a cold day in downtown Richmond.
In October 1971, Marvin Cephas delivered bills to Virginia Electric and Power Co. customers in Richmond’s West End. As postal rates rose, Vepco introduced its own bill delivery service for about 90,000 local customers in densely populated areas – it said the cost was less than a nickel per bill, compared with a postal cost of 8 cents.
In February 1971, James Herbert Bryant (left) and Paul Jackson assessed construction on their new McDonald’s restaurant on Mechanicsville Turnpike in East Richmond. The city natives started Bryant-Jackson Corp. and invested about $300,000 to build the restaurant.
In May 1971, as Amtrak consolidated passenger rail service in America, E.M.C. Quincy (left) of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce presented a gift of Richmond tobacco products and a record about Virginia to Amtrak’s Teresa Cunningham at Main Street Station in downtown Richmond. A number of Virginia mayors, including Richard Farrier of Staunton (center), attended the ceremony, which welcomed Amtrak service on the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railway line from Newport News to Cincinnati.
In March 1971, Phillip Patterson (left) and John Lane of Richmond operated the first African-American-owned franchise of Chic A Sea in Petersburg. The carry-out food service, which specialized in fried chicken and seafood, was a subsidiary of Carmine Foods Inc. of Richmond. Chic A Sea had about two dozen restaurants in Virginia and North Carolina at the time.
In November 1971, Noah G. Teates Sr. (left) and son Grove operated a machine outside the family’s Hanover County home. The father and son, with the help of a friend, built the machine to process leaves into compost. Grove hoped to convince localities to use their machines on a larger scale each autumn, and Montgomery County in Maryland became a client.
The December 1971 image shows the Virginia Commonwealth University Business building under construction. The five-story building had 146, 344 square feet of space and cost $3.8 million to construct.
In December 1971, truck drivers Brenda D. Howell (from left), Sue Frye and Marion Brennan stood at a highway construction site where they worked in Gloucester County. The three women had worked as waitresses, secretaries, factory workers and department store clerks, but none of those jobs, they said, was as satisfying as driving a truck. The project they were working on at the time was an expansion of U.S. Route 17.
In August 1971, renovation of the Dooley mansion at Maymont in Richmond included these swan beds, which once belonged to Sallie May Dooley. After her death in 1925, Maymont belonged to the city, and the estate was well-maintained for a period. But during and after World War II, a decline began, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that significant restoration occurred under the guidance of the Maymont Foundation.
In September 1971, Errett Callahan examined a piece of stone ahead of an experimental archaeology class that he was teaching in the Evening College of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The course challenged students to use crude implements or primitive tools to learn how to build shelter and make rope, fire, pottery and weaving like early humans. Callahan was a graduate student in VCU’s art department.
With the superstructure for the roof of Richmond's coliseum inb place, workmen are busy putting the roofing on the massive structure. August 4, 1970.
Oct. 15, 1970 (Staff Photo) James River
This September 1970 image shows players who vied for roster spots on the Virginia Squires (from left): Larry Brown, Charlie Scott, Henry Logan, Roland “Fatty” Taylor and Mike Barrett. Brown later won an NBA title as coach of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons.
In June 1970, this Seaboard Coast Line Railroad station at Commerce Street in Petersburg was closed. Three years earlier, the Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line railroads merged, and passenger traffic from the Commerce Street location was being consolidated into what had been Atlantic Coast’s North Petersburg station in Ettrick. A dozen trains served the city daily at the time.
This February 1970 image shows a stone house in Petersburg, located between High and Plum streets, that was believed to have been built before 1755, when the surrounding property was purchased by Edward Stabler. The resident in 1970 was Mary B. Scott, who was born in the house more than 80 years earlier. Her father, Alexander Brown, bought the property in the mid-1800s.
In September 1970, children enjoyed a ride on a roller coaster at the 62nd annual Southside Virginia Fair. Attendance at the weeklong event was running ahead of 1969's record 160,000. But in 1977, officials announced that the Petersburg-based fair, Virginia’s second-largest, would cease operations after experiencing drops in attendance, livestock exhibitors and revenue.
In January 1970, five straight days of below-freezing temperatures froze the lake at Byrd Park in Richmond and brought out the ice skaters.
A black student peered out of a Richmond Public Schools bus on a rainy morning in August 1970 as cross-town busing began in the city. Amid controversy, about 13,000 RPS students were bused to different schools under a federal court order to help achieve integration.
This June 1970 image shows Bob Powell at his keyboard, high in the grandstand at Parker Field in Richmond. Powell was the organist for the Richmond Braves baseball team from 1964 to 1971. He made special efforts to get to know all the players and come up with a special melody to suit them.
This May 1970 image shows the John F. Kennedy High School rifle team marching on East Grace Street in Richmond. Kennedy merged with Armstrong High in 2004, keeping the Armstrong name.
This September 1970 image shows the midway at the 62nd annual Southside Virginia Fair. Attendance at the weeklong event was running ahead of 1969’s record 160,000. But in 1977, officials announced that the Petersburg-based fair, Virginia’s second-largest, would cease operations after experiencing drops in attendance, livestock exhibitors and revenue.
In January 1970, two senior members of the state Senate – Dr. J.D. Hagood of Halifax County (left) and M.M. Long of Wise County – greeted Richmond’s L. Douglas Wilder, the chamber’s newest member. Wilder, the first African-American in the Senate, had won a special election the month before to succeed J. Sargeant Reynolds, who was soon to be sworn in as lieutenant governor. Wilder later became the nation’s first African-American elected governor.
8/19/2015: In November 1970, the Thalhimers Toy Parade made its way through Richmond’s streets – this view is along Broad Street at Belvidere Street. The event featured floats, high school marching bands and drill teams, clowns and other entertainment.