Shockoe Bottom

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Shockoe Valley and Tobacco Row Historic District
View north on 17th Street
Shockoe Bottom is located in Virginia
Shockoe Bottom
Location Roughly bounded by Dock, 15th, Clay, Franklin, and Peach Sts., Richmond, Virginia
Coordinates 37°31′56″N 77°25′29″W / 37.53222°N 77.42472°W / 37.53222; -77.42472Coordinates: 37°31′56″N 77°25′29″W / 37.53222°N 77.42472°W / 37.53222; -77.42472
Area 129 acres (52 ha)
Architectural style Mid 19th Century Revival, Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals, Late Victorian
Governing body State
NRHP Reference #


VLR # 127-0344
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 24, 1983
Designated VLR July 21, 1981; August 23, 2007[2]

Shockoe Bottom is an area in Richmond, Virginia, just east of downtown, along the James River. Located between Shockoe Hill and Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom contains much of the land included in Colonel William Mayo's 1737 plan of Richmond, making it one of the city's oldest neighborhoods.


Between the late 17th century and the end of the American Civil War in 1865, the area played a major role in the history of slavery in the United States, serving as the largest slave trading center in the country apart from New Orleans. Profits from the trade in human beings fueled the creation of wealth for Southern whites and drove the economy in Richmond, leading 15th Street to be known as Wall Street in the antebellum period, with the surrounding blocks home to more than 69 slave dealers and auction houses.[3] In 2006, archaeological excavations were begun on the former site of Lumpkin's Jail,.[4] Nearby is the African American Burial Ground, long used as a commercial parking lot, most recently by Virginia Commonwealth University, a state institution. It was reclaimed in 2011 after a decade-long community organizing campaign and today is a memorial park.


It became a major nightlife, dining, and entertainment center in the last two decades of the 20th century. After centuries of periodic flooding by the James River, development was greatly stimulated by the completion of Richmond's James River Flood Wall in 1995. Ironically, the next flooding disaster came not from the river, but from Hurricane Gaston which brought extensive local tributary flooding along the basin of Shockoe Creek and did extensive damage to the area in 2004, with businesses being shut down and many buildings condemned.

More recent projects include: Cedar Broad Apartments, 204-unit complex at 18th and Broad streets. The project also has room for 8,448 square feet (784.8 m2) of retail space. Total Budget 19 million.[5]

Cold Storage project, $50 million project of Historic Housing. North 18th, East Clay, East Marshall and Oliver Hill Way area. Five turn of the century warehouses being converted to 300 apartments.[6][7]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Trammel, Jack (2012). The Richmond Slave Trade: The Economic Backbone of the Old Dominion. The History Press. ISBN 9781609494131. 
  4. ^ Laird, Matthew. "Preliminary Archaeological Investigation of the Lumpkin's Jail Site". VCU Library. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  5. ^
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