The infamous Coal Tower, as seen from the tracks on nearby Meade Avenue.
Faith Baptist Church on Rives Street
Photo by Dave McNair
Ever drive down Carlton Avenue? We did.
It was never hard to miss the "Young Building" at 1102 Carlton, but now that Habitat for Humanity's transformation of the former Sunrise Trailer Park project has begun next door it really stands out. The only example of Jacobean Revival style in Charlottesville, the 2,744 square foot, eight-room brick building is on both the city's Individually Protected Property list and the National Register of Historic Places.
Indeed, the eaves that project out, the decorative rafter ends, and the elaborate Jacobean gables on either end and over the central bay make the former J.S. Young Company factory looks like some kind of Masonic church. Here, the company, which also produced licorice candy at other facilities, produced dyes extracted from wood that were used in the tanning process.
The Charlottesville factory was destroyed by a fire in 1920, but the office building survived. It would become a residence and then a rental property for many years. Today, it's own by Jeff Grosfeld, who opened the Under the Roof furniture store on West Main, and now runs a new furniture store in Downtown Waynesboro called Ann Arden Home Furnishings.
Grosfeld says he has no immediate plans for the property, which he's mostly using for storage, and is just "waiting for the right time" to fix it up or sell it. He says that Habitat offered to buy the property, which is assessed at $171,700, but didn't offer him very much.
"I didn't want to just give it away," says Grosfeld.
Meanwhile, much of the Sunrise Trailer Park that surrounded the Young Building is being transformed into a brand new affordable housing development. Ground was broken on the project in March, and on Saturday, November 19 the first family to move in got their keys to a new home.
Oh, that old Coal Tower
Coran Capshaw's so-called "Coal Tower Project" got seriously scaled down in 2009, going from an ambitious mixed-use development with 9-story towers to a low-rise residential facility. Still, the by-right development will have 303 one- to two-bedroom condos, making it one of the bigger complexes. The site will also include a walking trail connecting the Downtown with the Woolen Mills neighborhood.
The project has been in the works for years, and no construction permit has been issued, so don't hold your breath. The infamous Coal Tower, once owned by very light car inventor Oliver Kuttner, who once talked about plans to make the actual coal tower a condo unit, was the site of a police standoff after a double murder in the summer of 2001, and in August 2010 Virginia Quarterly Review managing editor Kevin Morrissey chose it as the location to end his life.
Oh, and don't forget, as part of the UVA Art Museum's 2000 exhibit, Hindsight/Fore-site: Art for the New Millennium, artist Todd Murphy created a monument to Sally Hemings atop the tower, basically a giant sewing mannequin adorned with a flowing white dress, the steel framework for which is still there.
Faith Baptist Church
A beautiful day on Rives Street, with the Faith Baptist Church in the foreground and Carter Mountain in the background. Founded by Hubert and Margaret Tooley in 1972, following Mr. Tooley's work holding tent revivals in the area. Pastor Tooley died this past April.