If you follow this blog and Richmond In Sight, you know that our mission is to share photographs taken by my great-grandfather in Richmond between 1909-1934. Harris Stilson was a streetcar motorman, or driver, who carried his camera everywhere. I usually show you photographs of Richmond and its people but today I thought I’d invite you into the house Harry returned to at the end of his streetcar route.

038 HHS coming home.jpg


That house was 3021 Chaffin Street, now Grayland Avenue, in what we call Carytown. He also owned the house next door where his daughter and her family lived. That was convenient for visiting but you can visit, too. Come on in and sit a spell at the Stilson home.

Vera, HHS in lr

Harry’s sister Vera moved in after her husband died. This living room scene (above) shows her tatting on the table, a table in my bedroom now. The painting over the piano was created by my grandmother. I still have it. In another view, you can see Harry’s streetcar cap on the mantle.

living room

Lots of household items in Harry’s photographs have survived and are still being used in my home.  One example: my father is banging a spoon on a tin container  in this hand-tinted picture.

HDL, Spoon, chair  tin pail

Harry’s camera was sight in so many pictures. This view of the hall shows a bookcase with his camera sitting on top of what might be a Victrola but not the one I have. Mine is huge and contains the Stilson family 78 record collection. This child-sized secretary was built by my great-grandmother for her son to match a larger one in the house. Mary Stilson was a carpenter and teacher so this photograph reflects hobbies each loved: Mary’s carpentry and Harry’s photography.  Harry’s camera and movie camera are clearly visible on top of the small secretary.

Stairs, camera  086 secretary,old

That same hall was where the Christmas tree stood. I’d love to have the display under it which must have been lost over time but I do have some of the ornaments on the tree.

Christmas tree   Stilson Christmas ornaments

I’d hate to see what the kitchen looked like before the “remodeling” that Harry described this photo as displaying but the eating nook was cool. Notice that the seats fold into the wall. Salt shaker, teapot, dog nutcracker n the window, all accounted for in the Snow household nearly a century later.

Kitchen  057 grayland kitchen

Dining area

We think Harry developed his photographs in the bathroom, glimpsed from his study in one photograph. I’m not sure if it was upstairs or not but his typewriter (got it) was used for hundreds of letters (got them). When he wasn’t developing pictures, he was catching his grandchildren in the bath.

HHS at desk  HHS desk


Next time we’ll visit the gardens, yard, and a bit of Harry’s neighborhood. I hope you’ll check back for that. You can also go to www.richmondinsight.com for more about the Stilson collection and our projects and books based on Harry Stilson’s images.