Richmond Commission of Architectural Review Slide Collection

About this collection
The Richmond Commission of Architectural Review Slide Collection contains more than 7,000 color photographs of the city of Richmond. Taken over a period from 1965 to 2000, these images document many of the changes within the city. In some cases the images serve as a record forproperties which have since been either renovated or demolished. Ranging from close-ups of architectural details and shots of single buildings to photos of entire city blocks and aerial shots, the subjects depicted include office buildings, houses, warehouses, construction sites, alleys, storefronts, historical buildings, cemeteries, gardens, and garages.

The Richmond Commission of Architectural Review, established in 1957, is a nine-member board appointed by City Council. Five of the members are citizens-at-large while the remaining four are representatives of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the James River Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Historic Richmond Foundation, and the Richmond Association of Realtors. The Commission is charged with reviewing all exterior changes to structures within the City's Old and Historic Districts.

The 7,401 images included as part of the Commission's slide collection were scanned by the VCU Libraries from color slides in 2008. The slides were taken under the auspices of the Secretary to the Commission, a position housed in the Richmond Department of Community Development. The images were used for monthly Commission meetings, and were taken prior to meetings to document existing conditions of buildings and other structures before review. They show how the structures looked before rehabilitation or reconstruction.

The slides were kept in a series of slide pockets in 33 three-ring binders. The binders, used to organize the slides when they were part of the working collection, were labeled with hand-written categories. These original categories are given in the record for each slide as "Original binder label." Each binder also had slide-sized labels denoting the street, area, or building depicted in groups of slides. These are the "Original content designation."

Addresses for each slide were usually annotated on the slide or given on the slide-sized labels. Addresses have been normalized in the following ways:

Street names are spelled out in full ("Franklin" instead of "Frank.").
Street appellations are abbreviated ("St." instead of "Street").
Numbered streets are given in numeral form ("1st" instead of "First").
Cardinal directions are abbreviated ("E." instead of "East").
The word "block" is spelled out ("block" instead of "blk.").
Streets numbers grouped together are expanded ("2208 - 2212" instead of "2208-12"; "2814/2816/2818" instead of "2814/16/18"). Each number is searchable on its own.

This material is in the public domain in the United States and thus is free of any copyright restriction. Acknowledgement of Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries as a source is requested. The physical collection is housed at James Branch Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives.

Additional research information
There is additional information on the Richmond Commission of Architectural Review at the Richmond's Department of Community Development Website. For additional contemporaneous images of Richmond taken by City of Richmond staff, see the Richmond Comprehensive Planning Slide Collection.