Rufus Holsinger (1866-1930) took this photo of “Midway” looking east on March 7, 1917. This part of town at the crest of Vinegar Hill along the historic Three Notch’d Road (later West Main Street) was known throughout the 19th and early 20th century as Midway or sometimes Midway Square (being roughly mid-way between the original downtown Charlottesville at Court Square and the University of Virginia, which opened March 7, 1825). This photo was taken two years before the Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea statue was installed. The busy street trolley tracks are visible on the left, which covered much of Charlottesville from the 1880s to the 1930s. The 1894 Midway School is in the center (built on the site of the historic 1818 Midway Hotel). This school served the City’s white children, elementary through high school, while African-American children attended the nearby Jefferson School. A new McGuffey Graded School opened in 1916, and the Midway School thereafter became more commonly known as Lane High School, after teacher and school superintendent James Waller Lane. That school was replaced by the more modern Lane High School down the hill (today’s County Office Building), which opened in 1940 and was not replaced by today’s Charlottesville High School until 1974. The 1894 Midway School building later became municipal office space until 1966. The building was razed in 1973, and in 1977 became the site of the Midway Manor Senior Housing complex. (photo is courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.


Rare TV Footage from 1973

Demolition to Make Way for the Market Street Parking Garage

Posted on October 10, 2018


T his incredibly rare footage comes to us courtesy of Steve Ashby, who once worked for the Jefferson Cable Corporation, which was the first local television station here in Charlottesville, Virginia. First opened in the early 1960s, JCC pre-dated NBC29 by over 10 years, and eventually became what we now call public access TV. Ashby saved hundreds of hours of TV broadcasts from the early and mid 1970s, some of which are only now being digitized and seen for the first time in decades.

The footage in this excerpt was originally broadcast in 1973 and includes images of the destruction of the historic armory building downtown next to City Hall (then being used as the City Recreation Center). This is now the site of the Market Street Parking Garage and was being torn down for that purpose. Ashby notes that the original tape was damaged, so it can be difficult to see clearly, but the audio is in great shape, and includes an interview with then City Manager Cole Hendrix talking about the development and what would become the Downtown Mall. Much better footage of the Recreation Center is at the end of the video, as well as footage of Main Street before the Mall.


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At the Historic Public Library
On Market Street Park in Downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Monday-Friday (8am-Noon) By Appointment
Phone: 434-296-1492
Email: [email protected]