1000 E Broad Street
Old City Hall served as Richmond’s city hall until the 1970s. This is the third Richmond municipal building on this site, and occupies an entire city block. The original City Hall and Courthouse stood on this site from 1816 to 1875.
City Engineer Wilfred Cutshaw led the efforts to build a replacement for the 1816 building. A national competition was held and resulted in the selection of Elijah Myers who had been the designer of the State capitols of Michigan, Colorado, Texas, and Idaho and winner of the international competition for the Parliament Buildings in Rio de Janeiro.
The bids were considerably higher than expected due to the choice of materials, and the large amount of ornamentation. City Engineer Wilfred Cutshaw attempted to manage the cost of the project by serving as the project contractor and hiring day laborers. In the end, the project cost $1.3 million dollars, a ridiculous cost over run from its original $300,000 budget.
James Netherwood was the subcontractor for the stone portion of Old City Hall’s construction. Netherwood was an English immigrant. He chose “Petersburg” granite quarried locally along the James River. Netherwood’s workers relied on steam-driven saws and polishing tools developed in Britain in the 19th century to carve the stone. Old City Hall is the largest granite building in Richmond.
Richmond iron founder, Asa Snyder, cast the grills and fencing along with the cast iron columns in the atrium.
Restored to its original color scheme, the atrium is an amazing example of cast iron architecture in Richmond.
Old City Hall was almost torn down two times, once in 1915 and again in 1971. Saving the building was a huge preservation victory.
The building was rehabbed in the early 1980s as offices.