Shockoe Bottom’s 17th Street Market will officially be a full year under construction this month… And boy, aren’t we excited for the finished product! If you live in the Bottom like me, it’s almost impossible to ignore the orange cones and chain-linked fences that have grown quite cozy around where the old market stood.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve grown quite fond of it. I can recognize most of the construction workers at a glance, and I feel a sense of progress seeing the little changes that happen day by day! It’s not yet the prettiest sight in Richmond, but good things come to those who wait….
For those who don’t know…
The 17th Street Market informally began around 1737 as a place for the public to gather socially, politically, and economically. It was formally declared a public market in 1779 after the Virginia Public Assembly moved over to Richmond; the expansion of the city and the growth of commerce pushed the small market to be bigger than ever. Because of its proximity to Main Street (the main travel route between Richmond and Williamsburg) and the James River, the market thrived tremendously.
The market has undergone at least four major restorations in its long standing history, the most recent of which occurring in 1986, which gave us the open-air structure with green roofshed that we came to know today.
Which leads us to the total overhaul currently taking place! Although the market is not depended upon as heavily as it was centuries ago, it is still respected and admired for its historical significance. Now, once again, it will become a center for Richmonders to eat, drink, shop, and enjoy.
Here’s why I’m excited for the 17th Street Market
There’s so much to love about living in Shockoe Bottom, and the opening of the new and improved market will make our beloved neighborhood even more wonderful!
- Good eats! All of the eateries on 17th street will be able to expand, making room for outdoor patios that face out to the market. Plus, rumor on the street is there are quite a few tasty new restaurants headed to our neck of the woods….
- Music in the air! What better way to make use of the brand new plaza space than with some festivals! Great tunes, yummy food, and plenty of vendors create the perfect recipe for fun at any time of the year.
- Free time fun! With a concert stage, ice skating rink, and fire pits all in the market plans, there is sure to be plenty to do when work and school is done. You’re bound to bump into some friends there too!
- An exciting twist! Staying true to history, there will still be a weekly farmers market and the original 17th Street Market sign from the 1980’s will come back up!! Preserving some of the original cobblestones that paved the market and adding the modernism of a pedestrian plaza, the new market will have our 21st century conveniences with the 18th century flair.
Thank you to HYPE and Enrichmond! To learn more about the plans for the 17th Street Market, visit enRichmond. And a huge thank you to ChamberRVA’s HYPE for putting on the Neighborhood Series event that inspired this blog post!