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Shockoe Slip Historic District

History [1]

The Shockoe Slip Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 with boundary increases in 1983, 2005 and 2012.

Designated in 1979, the Shockoe Slip Historic District covers more than 28 acres and 115 properties between 12th and 15th Streets and Main and Canal/Dock Streets. The center of the District is Shockoe Slip, a vibrant retail and entertainment center in downtown Richmond. The nearby Shockoe Valley Old and Historic District was established in 1977 to include 22 acres and 119 properties from 18th to 21st Streets between Marshall and Franklin Streets.

Shockoe Slip was laid out prior to Thomas Jefferson's 1782 plan for the City, and it has long been at the heart of the City's commercial and economic life. Buildings in the Slip were completely destroyed by the Civil War Evacuation Fire of 1865. The District was rebuilt in the late 19th century as a commercial center. Many of these warehouses and exchanges remain and have been redeveloped as shops, restaurants and hotels.

Combined with new paving and planting, the area has become a popular attraction for residents and tourists alike. Despite some demolition over the course of the last 40 years and construction of the Downtown Expressway in the early 1970's, the Slip remains an architecturally cohesive commercial district. Shockoe Slip's focus is a small triangular piazza with a decorative Italianate fountain. Surrounding the Slip are several notable Italianate buildings, including the Columbian Block, the Bowers Brothers Coffee Building and the Barrel Factory. To the west the Tobacco Company warehouse has become one of Richmond's most famous restaurants.

The strong railway heritage of the District is preserved in the Southern Railway depot on 14th and Canal Streets. An excellent example of innovative redevelopment is the W.R. Hill building on Virginia Street, converted from its original commercial use to apartments. Shockoe Valley, like the Slip, was part of the original settlement of Richmond in the 18th century.

  1. City of Richmond Virginia, Commission of Architectural Review, Department of Community Development, Old and Historic Districts of Richmond, Virginia: Handbook and Design Review Guidelines, 2006, updated 2009,, accessed December, 2013.

Shockoe Slip Historic District Map

Street Names
12th Street South • 13th Street South • 14th Street South • 15th Street South • Canal Street East • Cary Street East • Exchange Alley • Main Street East • Route 147 • Route 360 • Route 60 • Shockoe Slip • Virginia Street

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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