|Continental Can Company, photo by Jeff Majer|
Driving down Williamsburg Ave in Richmond's east end, Fulton Gas Works stands out as a landmark, but few pay any attention to the warehouse across the street at 3200 Williamsburg Ave, or realize that the two complexes are linked in their histories and at one time were linked physically.
|First National Bank, 825 E Main St. RVA, photo by Jeff Majer|
The section of the building that faces Williamsburg Ave is the oldest part of the building and was built in 1900 to replace the original building that burned. The property was bought and developed by the Armitage Manufacturing Company from George T. King who ran the adjacent Richmond City Mill. The Armitage Manufacturing Co. made building materials including tarred felt, oil, black varnish roofing papers, paints, and 2 &3 ply roofs from the coal-tar by product from Fulton Gas Works across the avenue.1 At one time there was even a train trestle elevated over the street from the Fulton Gas Works' coal shed to the east side of the Armitage building physically connecting them. Armitage products were used in many prominent buildings including the Jefferson Hotel, The American National Bank, The Mutual Insurance Building, The Richmond Cedar Works, and The Galliano Flour Mill, to name just a few in Richmond and they even supplied materials as far away as the Panama Canal project. Three generations of The Armitage Family, who were from Pennsylvania, ran the plant in Richmond. At the time it would have been surrounded by other industries like Richmond City Mills, Shockoe Tobacco factories, and the Industry from Rockett’s Landing.
|Loading Docks added in the 1950's, photo by Jeff Majer|
Not only did they supply materials for prominent buildings, their building is significant as well. It was one of the first buildings designed by Noland & Baskervill (now Baskervill & Sons), who has had their hands in many prominent building including, but not limited to the 1904 addition and renovation of the Capitol.2
|West side of the building, Photo by Jeff Majer|
|East side Loading dock, Continental Can Co can still be seen at the top of the wall, photo by Jeff Majer|
Continental Can Company bought the plant in 1956, trying to diversify into paper packaging. In 1977, the Continental Group as they became known moved out closer to the airport and then sold the building in 1979.
|Much of the complex is hidden in the woods, photo by Jeff Majer|
For the last 37 years Jim Carreras has owned the building and he has told me that it is mostly used for storage. They have had some interest in developing the 4.56 acres property but nothing has come though...yet. For more information on development or availability call 804-358-2342.
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All information from http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Cities/Richmond/127-6693_ArmitageManufacturing_2012_NRHP_Final_draft.pdf unless other wise sited.