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One Bridge Place (Lewis, Hubbard and Company)

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Lewis, Hubbard and Company
1898, Yost and Packard with Harrison Albright. 1985, ZMM; Stephen Branner, project architect. Virginia St. between Hale St. and the Dickinson St. ramp to South Side Bridge
  • One Bridge Place (Lewis, Hubbard and Company) (Michelle Krone)
  • One Bridge Place (Lewis, Hubbard and Company) (Michelle Krone)
  • One Bridge Place (Lewis, Hubbard and Company) (Michelle Krone)
  • One Bridge Place (Lewis, Hubbard and Company) (Michelle Krone)

The cornice of this five-story structure, with its three-bay facade fronting Virginia Street, is a particularly fine feature and from a distance appears more as a solid curved masonry unit than the twelve rows of gently corbeled brick it actually is. Below, rhythmic fenestration, unadorned arches, and general proportions of the facade and the longer side elevation on Hale Street vaguely recall H. H. Richardson's 1885–1887 Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago, on an admittedly modest scale.

One Bridge Place was built for much the same purpose as Richardson's building. Turn of-the-century Charleston was an important commercial distribution center for southern West Virginia. Among the many jobbing houses that sold wholesale goods was Lewis, Hubbard and Company, a grocery jobber whose warehouse this was. ZMM's handsome 1985 restoration earned the firm a design honor award from the West Virginia Society of Architects. Heavy timber framing and brick were left exposed inside, and the building now serves as rental office space.

The facade facing the nearby ramp of the South Side Bridge is altogether different from the rest of the building. What appears at first glance to be a group of Victorian row houses—San Francisco's “painted ladies” come to mind—turns out to be a trompe l'oeil mural, painted by Bart Davies. Real windows on the wall are incorporated as windows of the painted houses.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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