The big snow has everyone posting pictures on Facebook but recording snow days isn’t a new activity in Richmond. My great-grandfather, Harry Stilson, took hundreds of winter shots: Byrd Park in a historic ice storm, streetcar accidents, Stilson grandchildren and neighbors in the snow. I shared some of these on Richmond In Sight’s Facebook page but here are a few more. If you’re a Richmonder, you’ll recognize a few locations.

Belmont car facebook

On January 23, 2016, I posted this photo of the Belmont Avenue streetcar which derailed and plowed into Roland Galvin’s fence. Ironically, the accident occurred on January 23, 1930 so, like today, Richmond was shoveling snow exactly 86 years ago. One reason I often say “Richmond, not six degrees of separation, maybe two” is that I discovered Roland Galvin, a man I’d never heard of before, was my friend, Margaurite Bendall’s cousin. She often visited his house (with intact fence!) in her youth. Roland Galvin was a well-known Richmond educator, a fact Margaurite mentioned and often confirmed by those in the audience as I make presentations around Richmond.

Harry Stilson’s daughter Anita Lynch lived next door to him on Chaffin Street, now Grayland Avenue. Harry’s house, 3021 Grayland, is still there but the Lynch home was destroyed and has been rebuilt. You can see a bit of it in this photo of their front yard. It’s labeled “Norma’s snowman” in the album so my aunt was designing things decades before she became a bridge engineer.

Norma's SnowmanThe kids from Grayland Avenue stayed lifelong friends. My aunt Margaret Lynch considered next-door-neighbor, Minnie Arnold, another big sister. Here’s some of the Grayland Avenue gang including Margaret, Minnie, and Ralph Carr. I wish I had possessed Harry’s collection prior to Minnie’s death. I could have asked her to identify her photo subjects. It was only later that I knew she took pictures which Harry developed. Minnie never married but I’d love to be able to share those pictures with her cousins. They may still be in Richmond but I don’t know their names.

Minnie & MAL                               Grayland kids and sled

 

The church below has held several congregations over its history. It was labeled “Our Church” in the family album and was First Congregational Church, Sheppard & Grove Avenue, back then. It’s now home to All-Saint’s Presbyterian. Harry documented the building in the snow and also the Reverend McCauley’s children. Again, I’d love to find relatives of the people Harry recorded in his photographs so if you see any familiar names or can give me a clue on how to find folks, let me know.

Christian church                                            Rev McCauley's kids

The snow is keeping most of us inside but there are things you can do while you’re cooped up. Go to our Richmond In Sight website (www.richmondinsight.com) and check out some of our stories and names. You just might be able to help identify someone. It’s happened several times before. Also, think about organizations or groups you’re involved with. Do they invite guests to share presentations? I give presentations just about anywhere I’m invited. If you like what you see in Richmond Views, the Richmond In Sight Facebook page, and on our site, you’ll love the various presentations offered by RIS. Look on the RIS calendar for upcoming events or better yet, contact me to schedule one for your group. Meanwhile, enjoy your snow day but watch out for snowballs.

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Minnie Arnold, Ralph Carr, Norma Kathleen Lynch, “Skeebo” (unknown last name), & my father, Howard Lynch, the “Little Rascals” of Grayland Avenue

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