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

Manchester Residential and Commercial
Historic District


Manchester Residential row houses
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development


Manchester Residential and Commercial Historic District is on a rise above the south bank of the James River in what was Manchester, a separate city that became a part of Richmond in 1910.  The Lee, Mayo, and Manchester Bridges link the district, sometimes referred to as Old Manchester, to Richmond’s central business district.  Manchester began as an English settlement called “Rocky Ridge” in the 17th century and in the 18th century became a trading center at the falls of the James River, with Richmond across the river to the north.   Tobacco trade was at the center of its development.  Manchester incorporated in 1874, becoming the seat of Chesterfield County at the time.  Manchester’s historic properties illustrate its growth from a scattered settlement to a thriving port and manufacturing center.  The district contains a significant concentration of mid-19th and early-20th century residential and commercial buildings in a variety of styles. 

In the early 18th century, Manchester was primarily along the James River and Manchester Canal, an area now within the adjacent Manchester Industrial Historic District.  Later, outward development to the south and west brought scattered residential and commercial development, primarily wood frame buildings.  More substantial buildings gradually replaced these earlier buildings beginning in the late 19th century.  Hull Street, the main east-west thoroughfare, which runs along the southern edge of the district, has primarily commercial and civic buildings.  Bainbridge, Porter, and Perry Streets, parallel to and north of Hull Street, are predominantly residential in character with a scattering of historic churches and schools.

The earliest building in the district is the Archibald Freeland House at 1015 Bainbridge Street.  Built before 1797, this two-story Georgian-style brick dwelling has a Victorian era porch on the façade that replaced the original two-story porch.  The district also contains a number of mid-19th century Greek Revival style buildings.  Bainbridge Baptist Church dating from 1857 and remodeled in 1901 is at 1101 Bainbridge Street, the Turner-BaldwinHouse (pre-1859) at 1209 Porter Street, and the John B. Anderson House (pre-1860) at 12-14 East 12th Street.  The Anderson House, which stands on the property of the former Farmer’s Tavern demolished c. 1913, is a surviving example of the wood frame buildings that were once more common throughout Manchester. 

Most buildings date from after the Civil War from the period between 1866 and 1917.  Recovery and reconstruction in the years following the Civil War came slowly. Manchester's working class community consisted of 3,207 white and 1,935 black citizens by 1874, and its population had grown to 9,246 by 1890.  Manchester’s mills widely exported the flour they produced.  This, in conjunction with the railroad, and shipping and manufacturing industries, helped generate prosperity in the area.  The first business directory of Manchester in 1906 documents that whites owned all the boarding houses and black citizens owned all the eating houses and 16 of the grocery businesses, and that three of the 14 physicians were African Americans.


Commercial street in Manchester District
City of Richmond Department
of Community Development

Along Bainbridge, Porter, Perry, and the numbered cross streets residences are the predominant historic building type, with a few scattered schools and churches.  The Ingram House from 1876 at 1201 Porter Street is the earliest Italianate style dwelling remaining in the area.  Its full-width cast iron front porch is one of only two surviving in the Manchester historic district.  The other is another brick Italianate house at 1109 Bainbridge Street that dates from 1886. Examples of the well-represented Queen Anne style include the 1300 block of Bainbridge, the Ligouri House at 1415 Perry Street (with a nearly identical neighbor at 1417 Perry Street), the 1500 block of Perry Street, and the 1100 and 1400 blocks of Porter Street.  The Church of the Sacred Heart at 1401 Perry Street, dating from 1901, is a brick 1½-story Renaissance Revival style building that Joseph Hubert McGuire designed.

Hull Street has long been the commercial artery serving Manchester and connecting southside Virginia with Richmond and trade on the James River.  Commercial buildings in the Hull Street corridor form a dense urban landscape punctuated by governmental buildings clustered in a block or at a major intersection.  In contrast with the earlier wood frame dwellings, the commercial buildings tend to be attached brick buildings in the Italianate, Colonial Revival, and commercial vernacular styles.

Architect D. Wiley Anderson designed The Beattie Block at 1119 to 1125 Hull Street, the earliest commercial building in the district.  Even though its storefront is altered, the building still has a stone in the center of the brick Italianate façade inscribed with “The Beattie Block 1887.”  Other historic commercial buildings include the Baldwin Building, a brick Italianate department store dating from 1905 at 1209 Hull Street and 1309-1311 Hull Street, a brick building from 1895.  This Beaux Arts style building with a metal storefront featuring cast iron Corinthian columns is one of the few of its type in the district. 

Banks include the Classical Revival Bank of Commerce and Trusts at 1128 Hull Street from 1921, and the Art Deco American Bank and Trust at 1518 Hull Street from 1930.  Built in 1871 and individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Manchester Courthouse dominates the entire 900 block on the south side of Hull Street.  Designed by architect Albert West, this one-story brick Colonial Revival building has a Tuscan-style portico with paired columns.  The Manchester Post Office, a brick and stone Georgian Revival building built at 1019 Hull Street in 1910 is another significant government building.

The area is currently seeing a surge in redevelopment and rehabilitation of historic buildings, especially along the Hull Street corridor. Plant Zero Art Center at 0 East 4th Street is an anchor.   

Plan your visit
Manchester Residential and Commercial Historic District roughly includes the area bounded by 9th St., McDonough St., Cowardin Ave., and Stockton St., and 1211-17, 1301-1305 and 1418 McDonough St., 310-12 W. 12th St., 309 W. 13th St., and 314 and 400 W. 14th St. Some buildings are open to the public including the Manchester County Courthouse and churches open for services.
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