Hunting for Historic Graffiti

On some downtown structures history is writ large on the sides of old, brick buildings. The images below represent a small sample of the 19th and early 20th century advertising technique of painting buildings. See how many old store names you can locate on and around the mall this summer. A hint: the photos illustrated here were taken near East Water Street and 4th Street SE. Ironically, the brand-new building in the back of the “Chas King Grocers” building is “the Holsinger,” named after a famous, historic photographer.


For more photos of local graffiti visit the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society website which contains a photo essay by Glenn Rebholz. He photographed dozens of examples from downtown Charlottesville. His on-line exhibit is titled: Ghost Signs and Vestige Billboards. The accompanying report is on file at the historical society.