Tobacco and Trolleys: Industry and Transportation
Antebellum Architecture
Richmond's African American Heritage
The Continuing legacy of Historic Preservation
Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
Carver Residential and Industrial Historic Districts

Carver Resedintial

Carver Residential Historic District
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development


Settled as a working-class neighborhood in the 1840s and '50s, the Carver Residential Historic District sometimes went by the name of Sheep Hill. Located to the northwest of Richmond’s central business district, the area remained largely undeveloped until the mid-19th century, which saw the construction of modest brick dwellings for small shop owners, tradesmen, and their families. The residents of Carver were reputed to be among the city's hardest-working skilled laborers, and the neighborhood gave rise to many of Richmond's most successful industrial businesses, which supplied much of the millwork and bricks that built Victorian Richmond. Blue collar Jewish and German tradesmen first settled Carver, which became a thriving African American community by the turn of the 20th century.

The creation of the Richmond Turnpike (later Broad Street) in 1804 opened the western hinterlands of the city for suburban development. Prior to that time, a single family, the Buchanans, held the property that today comprises the Carver district. Buchanan’s Spring cut a deep gully through the heart of the area as it flowed north toward Bacon Quarter Branch. In 1810, Parson John Buchanan began to subdivide and sell off the 500-acre estate centered around his home, Gielston, which stood near the 1000 block of present-day West Broad Street. Although the house disappeared in the second half of the 19th century, the name Buchanan’s Spring persisted. The spring provided water for a brewery near the property. By 1867, it was the Eagle Brewery, which became the Home Brewing Company in 1897, makers of Richbrau beer. The old Richbrau Brewery building still stands at 1201 West Clay Street.

Carver’s 19th century houses were mostly attached frame or brick buildings in the Italianate style, with storefront buildings located at or near street corners. Detached frame dwellings, brick row and double houses, and a few tenements date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The dwellings are generally spaced close together, with small front and side yards on narrow parcels running from the street front to a rear alley– a pattern that is common throughout many of Richmond’s older historic neighborhoods. Carver contains examples of Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne style buildings, although many are vernacular because of the use of traditional building forms and restrained ornamentation. Some of Carver’s notable nonresidential buildings include the Bethany Baptist Church at 900 Catherine Street, Moore Street Baptist Church at 1408 West Leigh Street, and the Maggie Walker Governor's School at 1000 North Lombardy Street.

The Carver Industrial Historic District lies at the western end of Carver in a 6½-block, predominantly industrial area that developed between 1890 and 1930 along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P) Railroad. This was a period of rapid economic growth in the city, a time when the railroad was the dominant means of transporting goods to and from Richmond. The district contains a number of skillfully crafted and finely detailed brick buildings representing a variety of architectural styles including the Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Romanesque, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance, and Art Deco.

Carver Industrial

Carver Industrial Historic District
City of Richmond Department of Community Development

Unlike the early industrial development in the eastern part of the neighborhood, these industrial buildings were large, often three to four stories in height covering as much as half a block. The scale, materials, and details for the industrial buildings appear to follow the precedent of several large brick buildings constructed by the RF&P Railroad. All of the buildings are brick and display a wide variety of intricate brickwork. Other than those constructed by the railroad, the largest industrial buildings were part of the c. 1891 complex of the Peter Stumpf Brewing Company, which also owned and operated the Home Brewery located in the Carver Residential Historic District. The offices of the Peter Stumpf Brewing Company were at 1125 West Clay Street in a Second Empire-inspired brick building with a false mansard roof, twin projecting bays, and rough-hewn stone windowsills and lintels. The decorative brickwork on this building is typical of that found throughout the district.

Carver’s industrial sector was home to a wide range of businesses including the Baughman Stationery Company, the Consumers Ice Company, the American Tobacco Company, the Eagle Paper Company, the Pin Money Pickles Company, the Virginia Railroad and Power Company, Export Leaf Tobacco Company, Cusson May & Co., Haines Jones & Cadbury Co., and the Saunders Oil Company. The National Park Service listed both of the Carver Historic Districts in the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, and the area has received many benefits from the incentives offered by the state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credit programs.

Plan your visit

Carver Residential Historic District is located in the 700-1500 blocks of W. Leigh, 700-1400 blocks of W. Catherine, Clay, and Marshall Sts., and 909-1011 W. Marshall St.  Carver Industrial District is roughly bounded by Harrison St. on the east, W. Marshall St. on the south, N. Lombardy St. on the west, and W. Leigh and W. Clay Sts. on the north. The districts are adjacent to Virginia Commonwealth University. The districts include private homes and buildings with commercial and light industrial/ manufacturing uses.  Visit Richmond’s Neighborhoods in Bloom website for Carver for more information.

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