The Resource Attucks Theater and Office Building, Norfolk, Virginia, (architectural drawing)

Attucks Theater and Office Building, Norfolk, Virginia, (architectural drawing)

Attucks Theater and Office Building, Norfolk, Virginia, ca. 1919.
Attucks Theater and Office Building, Norfolk, Virginia
Inclusive dates
ca. 1919.
  • This accession consists of seven blueprint and one ink on heavy paper drawings depicting the Attucks Theater and Office Building built for the Twin City Amusements Corporation of Norfolk, Virginia. Shown are floor plans, sections, details, and a front elevation of the structure. Of particular note is the ink on heavy paper drawing, presumably executed by African American architect Harvey N. Johnson, Sr., showing the proscenium opening. Not illustrated is the elaborate fire curtain depicting the theater's namesake, Crispus Attucks, losing his life at the Boston Massacre in 1770
  • The Attucks Theater served as an entertainment venue for Norfolk's sizable African American population. The ediface was erected on the the main street, Church Street, of the city's bustling African American neighborhood. The project was undertaken by Harvey Nathaniel Johnson, Sr., in a collaboration with his mentor Charles Thaddeus Russell. Johnson not only partnered on the design, but supervised the building's construction. Johnson worked with Russell on a number of other commissions for the Norfolk African American community
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Charles Thaddeus Russell began his architectural practice in Richmond, Virginia, in 1909 after having served six years as supervisor of Tuskegee Institutes Carpentry Division and two years as instructor of manual training and superintendent of grounds at Virginia Union University. Russell was raised in Richmond's Jackson Ward neighborhood and had trained at Hampton Institute earning a trade certificate in carpentry in 1899. His first commission as an architect was for the Saint Luke's Penny Savings Bank (1910) in Richmond.
  • Harvey Nathaniel Johnson was born in Richmond into a family of successful African American builders and carpenters. At first he continued in that tradition by learning and practicing the skilled trade. However in 1919, Johnson enrolled in architectural program at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology. After returning to Virginia, he opened his own practice and undertook a number of commissions, several in conjunction with his mentor and former professor at Wayland Academy (now Virginia Union University) Charles Thaddeus Russell.
  • Russell and Johnson collaborated on many projects in Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia's African American neighborhoods. The most famous of these projects is the Attucks Theater and Office Building in Norfolk, completed in 1919.
Cataloging source
Attucks Theater and Office Building, Norfolk, Virginia, (architectural drawing)
  • See Private Papers Location Database for stacks location
  • CD # 171
  • The Library of Virginia
75.5 x 101 cm. and smaller.
8 sheets
Immediate source of acquisition
Crispus Attucks Cultural Center, Inc.
Other physical details
seven blueprints and one ink on heavy paper
Representative fraction of scale
Scale : 1/4 in. equals 1 ft.
Terms governing use
All requests for reproduction ofarchitectural drawings must be made through the Library of Virginia Photo Services Department.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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