So long, RVA!
Photo by: caroliiinelewis via instagram
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April 13, 2012 6:30 AM
Just to be clear, that’s not the Victory Rug building. The building in the photo with the old signage is 400 S. Laurel. Its now a private residence, but it has a lot of history-
Below please find a brief history of the 400 S. Laurel Street building:
The storefront was built around 1889. The building appears on the 1889 Baist Atlas. The store appears in the City Directory listings in 1902 (listing in the City Directory listings would generally lag a few years). According to Oregon Hill historian Tom Elliott, the building received a permit for alterations in 1910 that shows up on the working 1905 Sanborn map; these alterations were probably the frame addition that connects the brick building at 400 S. Laurel to the frame building at 402 S. Laurel St.
The first occupant of the store according to the City Directory listing of 1902 was J. R. Price [Jonas R. Price], Grocer. The sign for this first store is still visible painted on the side of the building (see attached photos). According to city directory listings, the J.R. Price grocery occupied the store until 1916 when it was occupied by the Carreras Confectionery, owned by Thomas J. Carreras. The Carreras Confectionery sign can still be seen painted in faded letters under the top J.R. Price sign on the side of the building. It appears from later city directory listings that Thomas Carreras was an ancestor of William Carreras who started the Carreras Jewelers business around 1969. Thomas J. Carreras ran his confectionery at 400 S. Laurel through the 1920s.
By 1931 Thomas J. Carreras had moved his confectionery business to 1600 Floyd Ave. where there is now a laundromat at the intersection of Lombardy Ave., and with his wife Mary moved their residence to 204 N. Rowland Ave. a couple blocks west of their new business location in the Fan. Thomas J. Carreras by 1941 had started the La France Cleaners. By 1969 J. Phillip Carreras living at R1005 Register Parkway had taken over the La France Cleaners at 3112 W. Cary St., and William L. Carreras of the same home address (R1005 Register Parkway) had started the Carreras Diamond Ltd. (Philip was born in 1918 at 400 s. Laurel St. He has a surviving sister, Margaret, who now lives in Virginia Beach and Philip’s son, William, is the Carreras of Carreras Jewelry. The family came originally from Spain and they attended the Cathedral when living on Laurel St. Thomas J. Carreras is buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery.)
After the Carreras Confectionery moved to Lombardy Street by 1931, the storefront at 400 S. Laurel Street became a confectionery run by George W. Herbert, who lived with his wife Lucille, in the upstairs flat. Herbert ran his confectionery at 400 S. Laurel through the 1940s. By 1950 the building at 400 S. Laurel was occupied by Raphael T. Wallmeyer and his wife Oliva as “Ray’s Place Confectionery.” The long history of the store as a grocery and confectionery ended by 1960 when the storefront was the office of H. L. Bishop Construction Company.
As far as Victory Rug Cleaning goes, that building is on Cherry Street, though the rug cleaning business has shut down. That building has been sold and will likely be turned into private residences as well.
It’s sad to see these small business storefronts leave the neighborhood.
The actual Victory building is a wonderful old place and I am sad the business is gone. I’ve hauled rugs down there for 25 years –taking rather than pick-up for the discount! The employees seemed almost as old as the building, moving slowly and deliberately as they unloaded carpets. Inside the smell was that peculiar mix of old wood, musty brick and dust. Most every spring I load up the orientals and haul them down for their spring cleaning. Sad not to be able to do so this year.
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