Place of Business

Site Type curated by: The African American Historic Sites Database Team

Places of Business in Virginia

Locations for Site Type

Historical Significance After operating at various locations for several years, Brown's Barber Shop in Winchester opened at 439 North Cameron Street in 1943; a decade later, barbers Spottswood Brown, William Brown, and Archie Burns worked there. In…

Historical Significance From the 1840s until Union troops seized the property in 1861, slave trader Joseph Bruin imprisoned enslaved blacks in this two-story brick building. In December 1845, Bruin and his partner Henry Hill advertised in the…

Historical Significance Cartwright Funeral Home has served the community of Winchester for nearly a century. It was established by Robert S. Painter in the mid-1930's as a funeral home for Winchester's black residents and first located on East Pall…

Historical Significance The Dunlop Tobacco Factory, built in 1888, is one of Petersburg's many 19th-century industrial buildings. In 1892 it employed over 700 people and produced more than two million pounds of tobacco a year. As in the rest of the…

Historical Significance The site of the Evans Hotel has been home to a number of African-American businesses. In 1914, Harriet Bell operated a beauty shop here. In 1947, Hattie Bell operated a grocery store from a side entrance (required due to…

Historical Significance In 1940, Finley Recreation Center, compromising a skating rink and dancing hall, was opened for an African-American clientele by Dr. Taylor F. Finley. Dr. Finley, whose office was located at 232 East Piccadilly Street from…

Historical Significance Today occupied by Founders Park, the area known as Fishtown developed in the 1850s. As fishing season began each spring, throngs of fishmongers rented wood to build shacks along the wharves, dismantling them at the end of the…

Historical Significance One of the nation's largest slave trading firms, Franklin & Armfield operated from this townhouse on Duke Street from 1828-1836. Enslaved African Americans awaiting shipment to slave markets in New Orleans and Natchez…

Historical Significance In the 1880s, Mill C. Gray traveled from Nansemond County, Virginia, to Cape Charles in Northampton County. Gray established himself as a carpenter and built many of the early houses in Cape Charles, several of which still…

Historical Significance John Ferris Bell (January 14, 1890 - October 10, 1959) was born and educated in Petersburg, Virginia. Following his graduation from Hampton Institute, he taught tailoring for four years at Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City,…

Historical Significance One of a few relics of pre-Civil War black entrepreneurship surviving in rural Virginia, the Madden Tavern was completed in 1840, owned and operated by a free black man, Willis Madden (1800-1879). In the 19th century, free…

Historical Significance The Negro Day Nursery was established in 1938 by the Civic Club of Winchester as a nursery for working mothers with support from the United Fund. It continues as the Fremont Street Nursery. Cartwright's Funeral Home, then…

Historical Significance Between 1699 and 1775, at least half a dozen ships carrying slave cargoes docked in the bayside wharves of the Port of Accomack, the largest of which was in Onancock harbor. While ports along the James and York Rivers across…

Historical Significance In 1920 Samuel D. Outlaw left his home in North Carolina and traveled to Hampton, Virginia, to attend Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, where he enrolled in a four-year course in blacksmithing. Two years after…

Historical Significance The Phoenix Bank of Nansemond was built in 1921 during a period when blacks began to open their own businesses in an attempt to provide their communities with the same types of goods and services available in white…

Historical Significance Petersburg's location on the Appomattox River at the fall line (head-of-navigation of U.S. East Coast rivers) caused the city to become a strategic place for transportation and commercial activities during the early growth of…

Historical Significance The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon's historic buildings and one of the oldest buildings west of the Blue Ridge, was built in 1779 as a tavern and overnight inn for stage coach travelers. From 1858 to 1965, the Tavern remained…

Historical Significance Waller and Company Jewelers, a family owned and operated business in continuous operation in downtown Richmond, Virginia for over 100 years, was founded by Marcellus Carrington Waller, known as "M.C," in 1900. M.C. Waller…