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200 Block of West Main Street

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  • Omni Hotel (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)
  • Omni Hotel (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)
  • Lewis Clark Apartments (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)
  • Lewis Clark Apartments (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)
  • U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)

A group of undistinguished modern buildings that replaced houses in the former Vinegar Hill neighborhood illustrates the problem of civic design. At the east end sits the minimalist and atrocious Omni Hotel (c. 1980, Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, and Stewart), 235 West Main Street, designed by a firm from Atlanta. Next door is the U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building (1982, Romweber Bornhorst), 255 West Main Street, which amply demonstrates the low level to which federal design sank in the 1980s. Designed by a Cleveland firm, it was developed as a speculative office building, which the government leases. The building has no redeeming qualities. Across from the courthouse is the awkward postmodern Lewis Clark Apartments (1990, VMDO), 250 West Main Street. Near the center of the intersection is the Lewis and Clark Monument (1919, Charles Keck), a sculptural grouping in which Sacajawea appears to crouch behind the explorers.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "200 Block of West Main Street", [Charlottesville, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 149-149.

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