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Today in Rip Payne

11 May

by Emma Earnst


Ready for some Friday frivolity?

On this day in 1965, Rip Payne spent the day at Monticello, capturing a handful of memories of a telephones galore. First, there are a couple of telephone booths set up on the hillside (to me, it resembles the turn of the road going around the house).  Then, we have a group of gentlemen excitedly answering phones in a tent.  One guy really likes his shades—I mean, who wouldn’t?  Next, Rip documents a fantastic 1960s fire-hazard: a slew of cords thrown about and held up in an old tree. And finally, we close with a misplaced, fantastically cheesy shot of two of the telephoners snapping pictures of one another.

I have no idea.  But you’ve got to love those eyesores of telephone booths. Oh yes, technology over preservation won out (but only temporarily).

In some exciting news regarding Monticello and preservation today, you should consider attending Preservation Piedmont’s Monticello to Main Street tour this weekend.  The tour traces Monticello’s African American community as they descended from the mountain and down into the town in the 19th and 20th centuries. Developed in conjunction with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, it is going to be fantastic. And of course, the 2pm start time still allows you a nice Court Square stroll with us in the morning!

Happy Friday!

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Today in Rip Payne

5 May

by Emma Earnst

On this day in 1987, Rip Payne spent the day in the air. Apparently hanging out the side of a small plane, he took a series of overhead shots of what he labeled “K-Mart” but are actually better described as “Addition to Seminole Square,” or in some cases, “Views of the Airplane’s Wing.” The plaza, which at the time consisted of only the east side as we now know it (the Giant side), was being expanded to include a north side- which now houses a series of great shops like Pete’s Pet Forum.

Take a look for yourself– compare these images with a current map of the area. You can use this crude diagram as a reference tool (please don’t judge my Photoshop skills):

Some time ago, Peter Hedlund shared this awesome map overlay program—HistoryPin— where anyone can place historic images of places directly onto Google Maps- even street view! I attempted to plop this photo onto the current satellite images of the area, but I’m mostly disappointed. However, the program works much better in street view.  Check out these examples from the local area of the McIntire Building, the JPA bridge, and West Main Street.  Learn more about the uses of HistoryPin on the Encyclopedia Virginia blog.

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Today in Rip Payne

3 May

by Emma Earnst

On this day in 1965, Rip Payne documented the dedication of the new General Electric building.  In a uniquely GE way, rather than cut a ribbon or crack open a bottle of champagne, the big wigs lined up and turned on some lights!  WINA offered some sponsorship (microphones), and the tuxedo-clad fellows then dined banquet style. Since the 1980s, GE’s Intelligent Platforms (their computer technology segment) has been headquartered out of Charlottesville (they are located wayyy up 29 North), but not the same building that these men dedicated back in ’65.

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Then, having now fully entered wedding season, Rip Payne spent this day in 1986 photographing Robin Hanger’s big day. And lets just say, there’s no doubting we’re in the 80’s here, kids.  We’re talking big hair, a bigger veil, puffy sleeves, and the tannest skin you’ve ever seen. It is fantastic. I know you will enjoy these!

By the way, Robin’s wedding, like my own upcoming nuptials will, took place in Christ Episcopal Church. But they let her put down a white runner. Hmmm…

44 days!

Today in Rip Payne

27 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Throughout the 1960s, on this day, Rip Payne stayed pretty busy.

On this day in 1984, my parents also stayed pretty busy, as they were getting married. Happy Anniversary!!

They are going to kill me for this...

Just for the record, Rip Payne had nothing to do with that picture.  He did, however, have quite a lot to do with the rest of these.

First up, in 1961, Rip Payne snapped a single shot of a woman being awarded (inducted?) by the Order of Easter Star, a co-ed fraternal organization.  According to their website, the Order is a spiritual, though not religious, organization with the specific values of charity, education, fraternity, and science.  It is a suborder of Freemasonry, and requires all members to have Masonic connections. Today, the Charlottesville Eastern Star Order resides at 425 East Main Street (pictured to the left), with masonic symbols clearly marking the territory.


Then, in 1965, Rip Payne captured the marquis advertising the Paramount Theater’s showing of The Night Walker. The film was directed by William Castle and starred Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwick in her final feature film. The film, according to reviews, wasn’t all that great. But, the Paramount is truly in all its glory here.  It is set on what was still a street-scape at this time (not the paved pedestrian mall of today), and I can just picture it all lit up against the night sky with those big bright lights.  Can you tell that I have my rose-colored glasses on?

Finally, in 1968, Rip Payne documented another awards ceremony, this time at a different type of fraternal organization, Leggett’s.  Leggett’s was the precursor to the Belk we know today, and at this time resided on the “Mall” (or, more appropriately, East Main before it was the Mall) not Fashion Square Mall, where Belk now lives. I guess they didn’t get very creative with their changes.





Don’t you just love cat-eye glasses?!?!

I will leave you with this:

Rip Payne stayed busy today.  My parents had the most important day of their lives today.  The lady in the picture above knew enough to drink her coffee and drink it black today.  Don’t let the spirit die.  Be productive, and accomplish something great today!

The Season for Seasons

26 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Looking back on the past often involves rose-colored glasses, but today my spectacles are completely clear.  As I am currently in the heat of “conference season,” when I came across this medal from the American Legion, I was quite impressed.  For those of you who aren’t aware, as the warm air entices folks outside, folks tend to name repetitive activities by attaching season to the end of an appropriate generic term.  For us twenty-somethings, there is the wedding season; for my snobby D.C. friends, there is the social season (apparently people don’t leave home during the winter?); and for adorkable academics, there is conference season.

Yes, I just used adorkable.  By the way, though, I’m totally over that phrase.  Zooey Deshanel is goddess, but don’t overuse phrases, publicists.  Okay? Thank you.

And…back to the object at hand. Usually when I attend a conference, I get a nice Microsoft-Publisher-style name badge with my name and one of the four organizations I might be representing that day.* Then I get a bunch of junk mail in a hideous bag and get shuffled away.  But back in 1938, the American Legion really knew how to treat their conference attendees right.  We’re talking full-on ribbon and brass medals, complete with images of Monticello, Jefferson (?), and American Legion seals.

 *P.S. I’m not bragging about this…it’s a confusing life I lead.

Today in Rip Payne

25 Apr

by Emma Earnst


On this day in 1968, Rip Payne had a ball!

Well, a golf ball, that is.

He spent the day at THE putt putt palace on Rio Road, snapping shots of the latest crowned Southeastern Putt Putt Queen.

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Didn’t know such a thing existed?  Don’t be foolish.  Back in the 1960s, even South Africa had a Putt Putt Queen!

It is worth mentioning that in the late 1960s, the putt putt business had really gone a tad overboard.  In addition to this full-blown international beauty contest, they published a regular newsletter, established a motto (“America’s Newest Professional Sport”) and even enlisted a chaplain (perhaps to cut down on the cursing when those *&@$ed windmills ate your ball?).

The appearance of “Miss Putt Putt,” as Rip named her in 1968, may have been a recurrence of the previous year’s PPA Tournament as part of the Charlottesville Dogwood Festival.  This 1967 tournament included a $1000 prize, a parade of national beauty queens, and an appearance by Ken Boy, the 1966 “Putter of the Year.”

Built by Lloyd “L.F.” Woods, the Rio Hill course still operates today. Kinda makes you want to go play putt putt now, doesn’t it?!

Today in Rip Payne

18 Apr
by Emma Earnst

On this day in 1946, Rip Payne took in a ball game at Lambeth Field.  The stadium, constructed in 1911 by Robert E. Lee Taylor, was

intended to be the ‘finest athletic stadium in the South and one that compares very favorably with the stadiums at Syracuse and Harvard.’

Named in honor of Dr. William A. Lambeth, the director of athletics at the time, it served as the football stadium until 1931, when Scott Stadium was constructed.  The field continued to serve other sports, including baseball, for many years hence.  In addition to being the premier athletic field of its day, Lambeth also became well-known for hosting, perhaps, one of the first flights to which Charlottesville bore witness (in 1912).

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In researching this entry, I came across the following discussion on regarding Charlottesville businesses (including Keller & George, whose sponsorship is advocated in Payne’s photos), the city/county border, and blogging ethics.  Which has still left me to wonder… what is the oldest Cville business?
In other news, George Reed, who serves as the managing director of Monticello Media (which, consequently, owns WCHV, the radio group picture above) recently wrote an article discussing the Keller Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University.  App State, in turn, is the home to History Matters, a historical publication in which my undergraduate thesis was published. Whoa… that’s a lot of coincidences for one day.