Monday, January 18, 2010

More Urban Renewal Archives Online

Charlottesville, Va.—Maybe a third of Housing Authority photographic archives are now on the internet. Only a handful of the 6,000+ text documents have been made public.

"The Vinegar Hill Project" we’ve been waiting for since 2005 is now finished. The researchers are clear that the project focuses exclusively on Vinegar Hill and other documents in the collection were disregarded. No deeds or assessments seem to be available, in contradiction to the project’s promises in Feb. 2007.

"Since 2005, researchers from the Virginia Center for Digital History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute's Center for the Study of Local Knowledge have been working with local residents, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, the Public Housing Association of Residents, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the City of Charlottesville to digitize photographs, oral histories, and public records related to Vinegar Hill, with the aim of building an online archive and virtual tour of this urban "memoryscape." " (Source)

"Aerial Timeline" with news summaries does mention the 3 referendums in 1967, the world war two of Charlottesville’s urban renewal. (Visual Eyes)

Flickr has more photos, including the students and researchers who created the project.
Below are other archives published by Blair Hawkins. They include 152 notebook pages of photos adding up to 287 photos, copied Feb. 5, 2007. A page can have a single photo, 2, 3, or 4 photos. They also include 8 photos of 6 particular houses on Ware St. and 17 photos (10 unidentified houses and 7 aerial photos), which Hawkins photographed on separate visits in August and June 2005, respectively, when former assistant city manager Rochelle Small-Toney telephoned and presented these selected excerpts to Hawkins. Hawkins’ first request to view the archives was March 25, 2004. The archive pursuit has been documented in many publications ever since.

In Feb. 2007, the Carter G. Woodson Institute and Dr. Scot French said the archives comprise 1,189 photos, 189 maps and blue prints, and 6,845 pages of written documentation.

The archives below include Vinegar Hill pictures, but makes no effort to exclude other pieces of history, or to present Vinegar Hill as the only history we have.

You can browse the archives below. Some photos are identified because this researcher knows the detail. Others are identified from what someone else wrote on a post-it note. Many are not identified. Some notes are incorrect.If you know anything related to the photo, please leave a comment so we can piece all this history together eventually.

The photos are not limited to Vinegar Hill, or even Garrett Street urban renewal. The existence of a photo may or may not mean the agency used or threatened eminent domain. We don't have the text documents to cross-reference.

***  The Archives are completely reproduced on ***
UPDATE: May 8, 2017.

Garrett Satellite Feb. 1, 2006Garrett Satellite Feb. 1, 2006
Vinegar Hill Satellite Feb. 1, 2006Vinegar Hill Satellite Feb. 1, 2006

Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority photographic archives, copied June 2005 by Blair Hawkins.

Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority photographic archives, copied August 2005 by Blair Hawkins.

The first 10 pics from June 2005 and the 8 from August 2005 are also published in "An inconvenient truth: Report from Housing Authority: Update on archives, HUD request", July 17, 2006. On all 3 occasions where I had access to the archives, assistant city manager Rochelle Small-Toney presented only these hand-picked items. Later Small-Toney claimed I had been given complete access.
Below are a few newspaper articles you can read. It just seems so illiterate to have only pictures.

Daily Progress news articles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good afternoon-

I am contacting you for two reasons. One is that I sit on Celebrate 250 Advisory Committee which has been charged to organize celebration events in 2012 for the 250th anniversary of Charlottesville's founding. We hope that one of the features of the celebration will be photographic displays which would have early photos (Then) along with an image of what occupies the site now (Now). I would like to be able to get into the archives of the Garrett Street Urban Renewal Project. Could you suggest the best way for me to proceed on that?

The other reason is that I was the owner of one of the businesses that was displaced when that renewal took place. Because I knew the neighborhood well I have fairly strong recollections of the locations of various businesses and I feel that I could be helpful in identifying some of those locations. I have only viewed a few of the images on your site but have seen errors.

I live in Charlottesville and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, if you are local, to discuss these images.

Preston Coiner

6/15/2011 3:58 PM  
Blogger Blair said...

Thanks. My blog has many minor errors. I update the information with later blog posts. For example it wasn't until 2006 that the earliest history of Jefferson School came into focus. I welcome corrections.

As a former businessman in pre-Downtown Extended, you must know your history has been lost from public discourse. For more history you might try the archives of Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, from which documents and photos have been stolen over the years. Just because they're off-limits to me, they may allow someone else to see them. Since these archives have been closed to me since March 25, 2004, much of my info comes from deeds, newspaper archives, what people tell me and what I remember. You may need to file a FOIA because these are the most controversial records in city hall.

Good luck Preston. But I think at the end of the town's 250th year, the historical factoid that Queen Charlotte was black should eclipse the surprising fact there was an urban renewal project larger and more recent than Vinegar Hill.

Council refuses to release urban renewal archives: Jefferson School conflict of interest: Blighted House has until Feb 15, Nov. 21, 2006 Includes speech delivered by Blair Hawkins and documentation of the first request to view the housing archives March 25, 2004.

First Baptist Church site of first Jefferson School, Feb. 25, 2007 Where UVA historian Scot French and colleagues give the numbers of artifacts: 6,845 documents and 1,189 photos. They publish a report on Vinegar Hill and omit the story of urban renewal, in which Vinegar Hill is a minor player. The Carter G Woodson Institute also got tainted with this ongoing revision of history.

6/20/2011 7:22 PM  

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