Second Street in the Twentieth Century

Scanning the pictures stored of Second Street aludes far more to the Second Street I know today rather than the bustling residential and business area I had read of existing only ninety years ago.  As black businesses began to fail while Main Street and Broad nearby North Second flourished and segregation was outlawed, the black businesses presumably sold off their properties to whomever could offer them the most money – perhaps city officials or private developers.  Once the trolley system was retired mid-twentieth century, it became critical that the people of Richmond had someplace to park their cars in the city.  Richmond as a city is very automobile-centered and so parking lots are crucial to the city’s vitality; I can only assume that the low property values all across Second Street make it easy to turn dilapidated buildings or cheap housing into an empty lot.  Other results for Second Street bring up photographs of old buildings, worn and weathered into near-extinction.  It will be fascinating to discover what changed Second Street from an important region (particularly for black Richmonders) into the time-trodden street that stands in these pictures today.

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