A Guide to the Richmond (Va.) Office of the City Engineer, Records, 1809-1975 Richmond (Va.) Office of the City Engineer, Records, 1809-1975 Barcode numbers 1205723, 1156595-1159596

A Guide to the Richmond (Va.) Office of the City Engineer, Records, 1809-1975

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode Numbers 1205723, 1156595-1159596


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2004 By the Library of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Selden Richardson

Library of Virginia
Accession number
A Guide to the Richmond (Va.) Office of the City Engineer, Records, 1809-1975
Physical Characteristics
Accession 34886a (Barcode number 1205723) consists of 1400 sheets, mostly India ink on linen with some blueprints and Diazo prints (61 x 91 cm. or smaller). Accession 34886b (Barcode numbers 1156595-1159596) contains 2 volumes(119 p. and 102 p.) of primarily pricking, pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor washes on paper (48 x 33 cm. and 50 x 38 cm.)

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Access to architectural and engineering plans and drawings of current governmental buildings requires a written request from the prospective user and written authorization from the appropriate authority within the agency occupying the facility.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

City of Richmond (Va.), Office of the City Engineer, Records. [cite specific Accession used], Local records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the City of Richmond (Va.), Department of Public Works, Surveys Division, Richmond, Virginia, 12 May 1995.

Biographical/Historical Information

The functions of the office of the City Engineer for the City of Richmond had their origins in the work of William Mayo (d. 1744), who drew the original plat of Richmond ca. 1735. In 1780 an official "Surveyor of the City" was appointed. In 1866 the office was abolished and its duties were consolidated with those of the office of the City Engineer, which had been created in 1853. The title was changed to Department of Public Works in 1919.

Scope and Content

This accession consists of two series: Architectural drawings and plans (Accession 34886a) and Plats (Accession 34886b).

Series I: Architectural drawings and plans is primarily the surviving papers of the office of the City Engineer during the administration of Wilfred Emory Cutshaw (1838-1907), Richmond City Engineer from 1873 to 1907. In the course of long storage at Richmond City Hall, other, later material was added to the Cutshaw-era files. This collection documents the important period of expansion in post-Reconstruction Richmond, a period that saw an increasing number of municipal projects. Among these were the establishment of the city water works and reservoir, numerous city parks, bridges, armories, schools, and the construction of a new City Hall. The collection also documents the expansion of the boundaries of the city, the annexation of Manchester, and the constant efforts of flood control in Shockoe Valley.

This series also contains nineteenth century maps of Richmond drawn by City Surveyors Richard Young (d. 1832) and Micajah Bates (1797-1861). Also included is a partial set of presentation plans for the 1883- 1894 Richmond City Hall by Elijah E. Myers (1832-1909), designs by Ruben Shirreffs (d. 1904) for Navy Hill (1893) and Nicholson Street (1893) schools, and, the most important document in the collection, the plan of the 1816-1818 Richmond City Hall by Robert Mills (1781-1855). This is the only surviving image of this structure from Mills' hand.

Series II: Plats consists of City of Richmond Plat Book A, 1826-1866, and Plat Book B, 1815-1862, denoting plats of various parts and properties of the city. These often include text that explains the particular surveys and give legal references or citations. These plats are unusual in that they have been elaborately shaded with watercolors. They are generally the work of Richard Young, City Surveyor from 1828 to 1832; Micajah Bates, City Surveyor from 1832 to 1861; and Thomas M. Ladd (1800-1866), City Surveyor and Superintendent of Streets from 1851 to 1866. The two plat books are partially indexed.


The records are arranged in the following series: Series I: Architectural drawings and plans, 1809-1975 and Series II: Plats, 1815-1866.

Contents List

Series I. Architectural drawings and plans, 1809-1975.

This series is organized according to project type: Armories, Bridges, Canals, Cemeteries, Electrical Service, Fire Department, Gas Works, Jails, Maps, Non-city Items, Miscellanious Material, Parks, Plats, Police Department, Ports, Railroads, Richmond City Hall, River and Creeks, Schools, Sewer and Drainage, Streets, Streetcars, and Tunnels.