Tag Archives: Daily Progress

Today in Rip Payne

31 May

by Emma Earnst


On this day in 1960, Rip Payne accompanied a class on a field trip to a local press (Daily Progress?).  The group explored the workings of the press’s Linotype machine, the blocking for the press, and finally, the end result—a newspaper.

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The Case of the Cash Register that Won’t Open

27 Jan

I’ve admitted before, and I’ll say it again, that I enjoy a good mystery wayyy too much.  If I didn’t love history so much, my other career choice would have been detective work.  Or, employment by sitting on my couch all day watching Law & Order and Murder She Wrote and reading Sherlock Holmes.  In fact, one of things that attracted me to history is the idea that in every case, a story has 3,000 or more different viewpoints, so how do you track down what REALLY happened?  While there are many facts in history, there are a far greater number of opinions and evaluations.  I have a saying, “History is a mystery,” that my professors never appreciated as an exam answer, but nonetheless is often the case.  As much as this makes history appealing, I really, really wish it weren’t the case in this case- “the case of the register that won’t open.”

Metal Cash Register from Buddy’s Restaurant, 17″x13″x15″

Metal Cash Register from Buddy’s Restaurant. Accession notes: the $2 lever is stuck, and drawer will not open.

You see, the register to which I refer, pictured above, comes from Buddy’s Restaurant, which was first a long-standing, well-beloved Charlottesville business.  Its legacy, however, derives from its setting as one of the most violent yet effective sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement in Charlottesville.

Metal Cash Register from Buddy’s Restaurant, with sign stating “Buddy’s: Just a nice place to eat”

Buddy Glover, a young local man whose prior experience included working as a soda fountain clerk at Timberlake’s Drug Store, established his own place, aptly named “Buddy’s” in the late 1930s as a hamburger stand, located near104 Emmet Street.  The self-declared, “Biggest Little Place in Town,” Buddy’s restaurant managed to maintain that small-town atmosphere even after moving into a much larger location.  After serving in the Korean War in the late 1940s, Buddy and his long-time employee Sylvester “Woody” Wood returned to Charlottesville with a bigger vision for the restaurant.  Buddy worked with architect Thomas Craven to design the building at 104 Emmet Street (last known to us as the house of UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation), which was recently torn down by the University of Virginia to make way for a park.  At the time, however, the building became a hub for University traffic and local businessmen alike.

Buddy’s Restaurant may or may not have served African American customers during this time.  According to Paul M. Gaston, a UVA professor of history and local Civil Rights activist, Buddy had occasionally allowed African American visitors to eat in the restaurant.  Another local civil rights leader, Eugene Williams, has no such memories, saying, “I have no knowledge of a single black being served in that restaurant,” in an interview featured in a recent Charlottesville Tomorrow article.  Regardless of what Buddy may have done in the past, during the sit-ins of May 1963, Buddy did not serve his African American guests.

On May 29, 1963, three men—African American community leaders Floyd and William Johnson, and white UVA professor Paul Gaston—entered Buddy’s but were ignored at their table until being ushered out at closing time.  The group was denied entry the next morning, when violence erupted between the threesome and some restaurant patrons.  As Gaston entered a phone both to call the police, he was punched four times in the face.  Police eventually arrived and arrested the protestors.  Following a storm of negative press after the events at Buddy’s, a number of Charlottesville’s restaurants, theatres, and hotels dropped their segregation policies.  Violence had quickly changed what months of negotiations had not.  Gaston told The Hook,

“Change was not only going to come from direct action, and not from rational discussion.”

Gaston further asserts that as consequence of sit-ins like that in Charlottesville occurring all throughout the South, President John F. Kennedy submitted what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Buddy closed his restaurant the evening that act was passed, July 2, 1964.  On the door of the former local hotspot, he posted a notice that stated,

“Passage of the Civil Rights Bill forced us to take this unfortunate action.”

According to Buddy’s supporters, including Gaston, Buddy closed the restaurant because he was a firm believer in the rights of private property, a common contemporary Southern sentiment.  At the same time, many others viewed the closing as an inability to deal with the changes of the times, namely, segregation.  Buddy never spoke about the incident to the media.  The sale of the building in 1969 to the American Automobile Association was announced with a brief article in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, sans quotes from Buddy regarding the incidents of the past decade.  In a farewell article to Buddy in a Martha Jefferson publication, c. 1983 (Buddy worked as Dietary Department Director for MJH after his restaurant career), the author interviews Buddy extensively about the restaurant but conspicuously avoids the topic of the 1963 sit-ins.  Instead, the article simply states, “Buddy decided, for a number of reasons, to close the restaurant and enter the catering business.”

We may never know exactly what prompted Buddy’s choice, but we must look to the positive, as all those involved in the protest do.  The incidents at Buddy’s restaurant changed conditions in Charlottesville for African Americans in a way that other tactics had not.  As The Hook states,

“the incident served as a catalyst for desegregation in Charlottesville, a town whose businesses initially resisted the door-opening efforts of local NAACP head Floyd Johnson.”

Further Reading:

Brian Wheeler, “UVa plans pocket park at site of old restaurant, gas station; Buddy’s played role in civil rights movement,” Charlottesville Tomorrow News, August 6, 2011.  Article can be accessed online here.

“Buddy Glover Retires from MJH, Retraces 45 Years of Good Times,” Martha Jefferson Hospital publication, ca. 1983.

“Buddy’s Sold to Auto Club,” Charlottesville Daily Progress, March 4, 1969.

Hawes Spencer, “Busted Buddy’s: UVA has demolished civil rights landmark,” The Hook, November 29, 2011.  Article can be accessed online here.

Lisa Provence, “A Long and Winding Road: City Residents Recall Integration Battles,” The Hook, April 8, 2004.

Lisa Provence, “Brown’s Birthday: The Road to Equality in Charlottesville,” The Hook, May 6, 2004.

Elliot’s Ice Company

12 Aug

Here’s a bit of cool trivia for a hot day—in 1906, the opening price lists for ice in Charlottesville show that one could attain a ton of ice (no, literally, a TON) at retail price for between $6 and $10.  Wholesale, the same amount went for $3.50 – $5.50.  That’s a whole lotta ice, for much less than I could imagine today!

Charlottesville Ice Company. Photograph by R.W. Holsinger, 1915.

So why are we talking about ice?  Well, aside from it being a nice relief when its hotter than blazes outside, ice is our theme for this week’s featured objects from Elliot’s Ice Company, formerly the  Charlottesville Ice Company.

Our two objects were donated separately, over a decade apart.  The ice tongs came first.  These tongs, ca. 1895, are made of iron with a wooden handle.  They were used for handling the ice chunks.  On deliveries, chunks of as heavy as 50 pounds would be delivered to homes.  The container, donated in 2009, features the name Elliot Ice Company, dating it between 1922 and 1964.*

Charlottesville Ice Company tongs, ACHS Collection MU 75.

Elliot's Ice Company container. ACHS Collection 2009.8.268.

An Icy History

Compared to the price I pay when my cooler is running low and I’m forced to stop at a gas station for a bag, the price of ice in 1906 is deceivingly low.  Yet throughout history, ice has been quite a privileged commodity- especially in the southern United States.  In the 19th to early 20th centuries, ice boxes necessitated a constant supply of ice, only available from the harvests of frozen lakes and streams.  For southern states, a year’s ice supply was dependent on the harvests of the winter.  Horse-drawn plows equipped with knives would cut ice into blocks, which would then be stored in ice houses, covered with hay.  Elizabeth Gamble of Charlottesville recalled the effects of these in an interview with David Maurer of the Daily Progress in 1990, saying, “Of course, quite often you would get a bit of straw in your iced tea, but that certainly wasn’t anything to be concerned about.”  As ice became more widely available via ice factories and refrigerated rail cars, the phenomenon made its way to Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Ice Company. Photograph by R.W. Holsinger, 1916.

In 1901, the Charlottesville Ice Company was built at the intersection of Fourth and South Streets, and set about manufacturing and delivering ice.

The latter was done by horse-drawn wagon, of which Gamble also reminisced in 1990: “When the icemen began delivering ice to our home it was never a mystery if they’d come or not because if they had, there was always drippings on the road and the porch.”  Bonnie Ballard expounded on the importance of these deliveries: “In the summer, the kids would come running when they would hear the bell on his truck as though he [her father, an iceman] was the ice cream man.”  I can only imagine the delight of seeing that ice wagon pull up to your house on a hot summer day!  Frances Ball, another Charlottesville resident, told Maurer: “It [ice wagon] would have a bell on it which alerted the neighborhood that the iceman was coming.”

In 1922, J.F. Elliot, who had worked for the company, took over as president, and in a burst of pride, changed the name to Elliot’s Ice Company.  In 1928, those famous horse-drawn wagons were replaced with Ford ice trucks, but much to everyone’s delight, kept the announcement bells.

Elliot's Ice Company. Photograph by R.W. Holsinger.

At this time, however, refrigerators began replacing the wooden iceboxes which necessitated ice deliveries.  It wasn’t until the late 1950s, however, that the company stopped delivering ice to homes.  In 1964, Elliot’s was purchased by Monticello Dairy and moved to Grady Avenue.   Then, in 1972, the dairy caught fire, which I’m certain made for one ironic and very wet situation.  A year later, the city, which had owned the property since 1971, razed the landmark of “the time before refrigerators” as part of the redevelopment of Garrett Street.

Site of former Charlottesville Ice Company. Photograph by Steve Trumbull, 2011.

*At the time of publication, the editor has been unable to determine the exact use of the container.  Please comment to inform!


1901- The Charlottesville Ice Company is built at South & Fourth streets, and begins manufacturing and delivering ice to Charlottesville residents.

1906- A ton of ice can be purchased for $3.50-$10.  Charlottesville prices appear low compared to state averages, and mid-range compared to national averages at this time.

1922- J.F. Elliot, a long-time employee of the Charlottesville Ice Co., takes over as president and changes the name to Elliot’s Ice Company.

1928- 12 Ford trucks replace the horse-drawn carriages as Elliot’s Ice Company’s means of delivering ice to homes.

Late 1950s- Elliot’s Ice Company stops delivering ice to homes.

1964- Monticello Dairy purchases Elliot’s Ice Company, moving the company to Grady Avenue.

1971- The City of Charlottesville assumes ownership of the former Charlottesville Ice Company building on South & Fourth Streets.

1972- The former Charlottesville Ice Company building catches fire.

1973- The City of Charlottesville razes the former Charlottesville Ice Company building as part of the Garrett Street redevelopment project.

Further Reading

Ice Trade Journal Company.  “Opening Price Lists of Ice.” Refrigerating World.  Vol. 31 (April 1906): 49.

Maurer, David.  “The iceman goeth with dawn of ‘electric boxes’.”  Daily Progress  (May 20, 1990).

Trumball, Steve.  “Charlottesville Ice Company.” Charlottesville Then and Now (March 12, 2011).