With both Industrial and Residential Historic Districts, Carver is another of Richmond’s historically significant neighborhoods located near the City’s center and adjacent to VCU. The area (roughly 54 square blocks) is bordered by Lombardy Street to the Northwest, Belvidere Street to the Southeast, Interstate 95 to the Northeast and Broad Street to the Southwest.
Carver began to take shape in the early 1800’s when John Buchanan began to break up the 500 acre estate and sell the smaller parcels. By the middle of the century, many of Richmond’s working class (tradesmen, merchants and skilled laborers) had begun building homes for their families. The first homes were mostly built as attached brick rowhouses — some with storefronts — in the Italianate style with several examples of the Greek Revival and Queen Anne styles following shortly thereafter. Additional rowhouses, detached homes and some of the larger buildings came along late that century and in the early 1900s.
The industrial district was built on the Western side of the neighborhood between 1890 and 1930. These structures were built in a variety of architectural styles including Art Deco, Colonial Revival, Gothic Revival, Italian Renaissance, Queen Anne, Romanesque and Second Empire. One notable industrial structure was the Eagle Brewery which would eventually become the Richbrau Brewery which still exists today. The original brewery drew its water supply from the nearby Buchanan’s Spring.
Given its close proximity, Carver has been strongly influenced by VCU and its community in more recent years. The Stuart C. Siegel Center was a significant catalyst for change when it was opened in 1999. The University’s phenomenal growth since then — not to mention lots of national attention since the basketball team’s string of NCAA tournament appearances — has continued to encourage investment in the area. Local and national retailers like Starbucks, Kroger, Dunkin’ Donuts and others have filled in long overlooked commercial spaces along Broad Street. Most recently, Whole Foods has made a significant investment in adapting another existing structure just a few blocks away from Carver. Several developers have also converted several of the larger historic industrial buildings into condominiums.
Things to do:
Stuart C. Siegel Center – Take any opportunity you get to go see a legit NCAA basketball game in a small but great venue.
Edo’s Squid – Just Broad on Harrison Street, this locally-owned italian restaurant is must visit on your culinary to-do list.
First Fridays Art Walk – Mark the first Friday of every month on your to visit what has become a Richmond institution.
Sugar Shack Donuts – It may not qualify as your healthiest option in Carver but it is well worth a visit on your cheat day.