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Placemaking Project

Historic Area Mural

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Mural

Richmond, Virginia

In 2013, John Crank decided to create a mural on the office building celebrating the history surrounding our 1717 East Cary Street office which lies in the shadow of the Penninsula Trestle—an elevated track built in 1901 by the C&O Railway.

Until the mid 1950's, the Chesapeake & Ohio's powerful steam engines could be seen on this trestle hauling heavy loads from the coalfields of West Virginia to the shipyards of Newport News, Virginia. Our office building, the former Virginia Bonded Warehouse, was built by the C&O Railway in 1917. Known as a customs warehouse, it offered secure, duty‐free storage for imported goods from around the world and provided a vital link between the ocean‐going ships docked along the adjacent Kanawa Canal and the C&O's extensive rail network that, by then, stretched all the way to Chicago and its great railway hub.

Several of our designers worked with John Crank to develop and refine the mural's concept and artwork. Crafted to wrap the six brick piers and three corners on the northwest side of the building, the 7' high by 63' long mural highlights the many C&O landmarks in Shockhoe Bottom that are within walking distance of the office. Senior Designer, Jena Bright, refined the design and finalized the digital files while Senior Designer, Katie Slusher, became an expert at cutting the full‐scale paper stencils. Last but not least, Harrison Crank spent almost 220 hours on a ladder and scaffold painting the mural before leaving for his freshman year at college.