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Shockoe Slip

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Richmond's past prominence as a port is still apparent in the name of one of its historic warehouse districts, Shockoe Slip. The actual slip no longer exists, but the handsome brick warehouses with iron details and storefronts remain. The area between East Main Street and Canal and between 12th and 14th streets has been a commercial hub for more than 200 years. After the Virginia government arrived in Richmond in 1780, a commercial building at 14th and Cary streets served as the capitol, an indicator of the neighborhood's significance in the late eighteenth century. The entire area burned during the evacuation fire in 1865; rebuilding began immediately. The area thrived again for several decades as a center of of manufacturing, warehousing, and the rowdy hospitality industry supported by them. By the midtwentieth century traffic in the Slip had slowed to a trickle. A new life for the Slip came when the state legislature in the early 1970s overturned the prohibition statute that forbade the sale of liquor by the drink. A rush ensued to initiate night life in downtown Richmond, and several businessmen who recognized that the real estate of the Slip was undervalued bought and began rehabilitating buildings along East Cary and South 13th streets. The product is a small but thriving retail and entertainment district. In 1978 the Bowers Building was adapted as apartments, the start of an ongoing trend to provide upscale housing in downtown Richmond.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.

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