Photos of C’ville in the 70s

The Hook is apparently in the same mood as C-Ville Weekly right now, and finds themselves looking back at the city’s history in the current issue. Dave McNair features a series of then-and-now photos of West Main Street, using Duncan Brown’s 1979 shots of the street. I know a lot of cvillenewsers enjoy a good look back at the C’ville that was just as much as I do, so y’all will get a kick out of the photos of the Duck Inn, Expresso International, the Cotton Exchange, and a bunch of others.

Via a pair of comments on The Hook’s blog, see also Duncan Brown’s complete collection of 1979 West Main photos, his 1980 downtown photos, and whole mess of photos of Main Street from 1976, taken by John Shepherd. These are some great photos. I was unborn/an infant/a toddler in these few years, so it’s the first time I’ve seen some of these places that I’ve heard so much about.

9 Responses to “Photos of C’ville in the 70s”


  • it’s crazy how the photos from ’76 look like an unrecognizable town — yet the ones from 1980, just 4 yrs later, look pretty much exactly like I remember the town from growing up here between 1986-2000. Lots of those photos look like more professional versions of ones I took in High School.

  • Redevelopment along West Main is occurring along with changes in the demographics in the neighborhoods on both sides. The type of development will probably be a lot different however. UVA Hospital is expanding to Main and owns a substantial amount of property down to the railroad tracks. I doubt if there will be much housng introduced before you get to the train station as the City had once envisioned.

  • Waldo,
    You were a baby in the early 70’s?
    I was in college in 1972. Geez do I feel old.

  • Wow, I wondered why my website was getting hammered by people accessing all those pictures, and it led me back here. Must be a well-read blog!

    Are the John Shepard pictures really from 1976? I would definitely have pegged them as being substantially older… both from the buildings and the general state of things, but also because all of the 1950’s and 60’s cars still tooling around.

    Glad everyone is enjoying the walk back through time. Now I wish I had documented more of C’ville as I found it when I arrived. The drive-in theater where Kroger is now, for instance – that was shut down but not yet gone. I have some pictures from around UVa as part of other projects, I’ll have to dig those up and scan them in.

    Sadly, for the entire 3.5 years of Professor Fether’s existence, a really big part of my life at the time, I didn’t take a single picture of the place. Sigh. I was too broke to get color film developed and no access to a B&W darkroom, so the cameras just stayed in the closet that whole time.

    Duncan

  • You were a baby in the early 70’s?

    Oh, heck no. My parents were teenagers in the early 70s. I was a baby in the early 80s. :)

  • Don’t forget these pictures too:
    http://albemarlehistory.org/on-line_exhibits.htm
    Especially
    http://albemarlehistory.org/downtown.htm
    (But paynescan_714.jpg is Richmond, not Cville.)
    The youtube links is broken, should be
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=GgDtRvrJ1IE
    but the images are distorted anyway.
    Waldo, I couldn’t find the 1979 photos you link to, it goes to the same 1976 photos as the other link.

    Re: John Shepard, I see some mid-70’s cars, for instance in this picture:
    http://albemarlehistory.org/shepherdimages/4.html
    You can Google “75 dodge dart” to get an idea of those cars. The one on the left is a Plymouth Valiant I think, but the similar Dodge Darts are easier to Google. There were only a few taxi companies then (as now!), so a little phone book research and you could start to track down which was which. I know Maupin’s Tax ran Dart/Valiants.

    Look at the cool car this guy from Veteran’s Cab drove:
    http://albemarlehistory.org/shepherdimages/31.html

    Check out this “boat” in front of Oh Suzannah’s. That’s a two-door! The car companies did not really get the message on gas economy until a few years after the ’73 oil shock.
    http://albemarlehistory.org/shepherdimages/91.html

  • Here is the link to the 1979 pictures:

    http://www.backglass.org/duncan/cville/main_street_1979/

    Duncan

  • Your photos are great, I’ll check out 1979 when I’m back on high-speed internet.

  • I am 40, and I can remember when the downtown mall was a two way street. Our favorite time of the year was driving down Main street and looking at the Christmas lights in all of the stores downtown. Excellent photos.

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