South Main Street
Chatham, Virginia

Edited by Henry Mitchell.

East Side of the First Block

East Side of First Block of South Main

The east side of the first block of South Main Street, as seen from the Court Place intersection.

1 South Main

1 South Main (6/2005). See a 1909 view of the same location.

11 South Main

11 South Main (6/2005). This ca. 1900 brick commercial structure is notable for its Italianate windows and its inverted-pyramid brick corbels at the top of its facade.

15 South Main

15 South Main (6/2005). Built in the early 20th century, this building's roles have included as a movie theatre, a Ford dealership, Whitehead's Pharmacy, Leggett's Department Store, Chatham's Square Restaurant, and now El Cazador Restaurant.

17 South Main

17 South Main (6/2005). During the 1920's and 1930's this was the site of Lewis Ivy's meat market. In the late 1930's or early 1940's Dr. Randall Reynolds built a service station here.1 Later the Burnetts connected to and used part of the building in conjunction with their streetcar diner. Harvey Giles rebuilt the service station to house his insurance office in the late 1970's. The building and insurance agency are now owned by Allan Easley.

19 South Main

19 South Main (6/2005). For several decades Burnett's Diner occupied a streetcar moved here from Danville in 1939. It is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. It is now operated by Roy and Janet Garner as Garner's Streetcar Diner.

21 South Main

21 South Main (6/2005). Constructed during the late 1920's by the Whitehead family for the Viccellio brothers, who operated an implement company here. The property had been bought in the bankruptcy sale of James W. Collie. Later, the Whiteheads operated their own hardware store here (first called Whitehead's, then Elliott's), and the Viccellios moved across the street.1 Now Fred and Sandra Turner own the building, which houses their 21 Meeting Street Antiques business.

25 South Main

25 South Main (6/2005) was constructed around 1920 by James W. Collie as a bank building.1

27 South Main

27 South Main (6/2005) was constructed around 1920 by James W. Collie as a hotel.1 Through much of the 20th century it was known as the Powell Hotel, owned by Kate Hardy Powell. It suffered an extensive fire in August 2001. It is currently being restored by Phil and Pam Mauger, who have renamed it The Waterford. It houses their Outstaffing, Inc. business.

31 South Main

31 South Main (6/2005). The Chatham Post Office was constructed in the Colonial Revival style in 1935. Before the construction of the post office, this space was occupied by a poolroom and hotdog stand operated by George V. Jones and his son Samuel.1

33 South Main

33 South Main (6/2005). During the 1920's, this area was a plumbing shop operated by Tommy Dillon. Around 1925, David T. Williams built the current structure, and had a law office here.1

37 South Main

37 South Main (6/2005).

41 South Main

41 South Main (6/2005). This area was occupied in the 1920's by Henderson's blacksmith shop.1

West Side of the First Block

West Side of First Block of South Main

The west side of the first block of South Main Street, as seen from the Court Place intersection.

2 South Main

2 South Main (6/2005). This little ca. 1980 building sits where the entrance to the Hotel Chatham formerly was. Most of the Hotel Chatham structure was demolished, except for the commercial storefront space still standing just to the left (south) of this building.

4 South Main

4 South Main (6/2005). This structure is a remaining first-floor portion of the four-story Hotel Chatham, which once occupied this end of the block, all the way to the corner of Court Place. The hotel was torn down in the 1970's. The Hotel Chatham building was an enlargement of a two-story hotel, which in turn had replaced a (ca. 1890) Queen Anne style hotel building (Carter's Hotel) which had burned in the 1902 fire (see below). Carter's Hotel had also replaced a still earlier hotel on the site.

When news of Lee's surrender reached Chatham on April 10, 1865, Lee's mapmaker Jed Hotchkiss was staying at the hotel here. A few days later, it was probably here to which Virginia's Confederate Governor William “Extra Billy” Smith briefly moved his government-in-flight, after Confederate President Jefferson Davis evacuated from Danville. Thus, it could theoretically be said that very briefly, this spot may have been the last Confederate capital of Virginia.

This remaining portion of the old Hotel Chatham building actually was a storefront space all along. When the structure was first built, it was the home of the J. W. Marks haberdashery. Later, during the 1930's, the store was operated as Pender's.1,2

6-10 South Main

6-10 South Main (6/2005). This building was constructed around 1940 by Ray Harris.1

12-14 South Main

12-14 South Main (6/2005). On March 15, 1902, at the J. P. Hunt Grocery which occupied a building at this location, a fire began which destroyed much of downtown Chatham. Later, for many years this was the location of V. O. Mundy's Grocery.1,2

The smaller space on the right (north) side was occupied by Art Barber Shop, operated by “Shorty” Mercer.1

16 South Main

16 South Main (6/2005). During the early twentieth century this building was the home of Chatham Furniture and Undertaking, operated by D. A. “Dave” Jefferson.1

Competition Alley

Competition Alley is the only remaining street (from the original layout of the town) still unchanged in location and dimension. Chatham was known as Competition through much of the 1800's.

18 South Main

18 South Main (6/2005). This structure was the J. I. Overbey hardware store.1

22 South Main

22 South Main (6/2005). This little building housed the R. C. Dunn shoe shop after it was built during the 1920's.1

24 South Main

24 South Main (6/2005). The space occupied by 24 and 26 South Main was the former location of the Whitehead & Yeatts Department Store, which burned twice in the early 1900's. These buildings were completed around 1928 for and Whitehead & Yeatts, which used both the entrances. After Whitehead & Yeatts, this upper side was the location of Walter Whitehead's store, then John Friend's department store.1

26 South Main

26 South Main (6/2005). After this building's completion in 1928, it served as a movie theatre, until the establishment moved to the large quonset steel building on Pruden Street.1 Then it was occupied by the AP Grocery for many years. It is now owned by Henry Hurt and is the home of his Shadetree Rare Books.

28 South Main

28 South Main (6/2005). Around 1930 the Viccellio brothers moved their implement company from across the street into this building. After the Viccellios, the building was occupied by a Chevrolet dealership. At the end of WWII, an Oldsmobile dealer used the premises. The structure was remodeled around 1960 as Mitchell's Five and Ten Cent Store, by Roy Mitchell. After that, it was Pope's Department Store, before being purchased by J. W. Thomasson for Chatham Furniture Co.1

30 South Main

30 South Main (6/2005). The current building housed the Hunt Dodge dealership, then Sam White moved in from next door (see below), then Grubb Ford, Parson's Ford. Later it became the home of Hampco Apparel, a clothing manufacturer.1 It was transferred from Hampco to the Town of Chatham. The town now leases it to Fred and Sandra Turner, who operate an antique mall here.

32 South Main

At the corner of South Main and Depot (6/2005). Fretwell's Diner occupied a streetcar moved here from Reidsville, North Carolina, in 1937. It is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. This structure stands on the site long known as the Bolanz Corner. After Bolanz, the space was occupied during the 1930's by a store run by Sam White; his brother Frank White helped him in the store.1

West Side of First Block of South Main

The west side of the first block of South Main Street, as seen from the Depot Street intersection.


  1. Frank Taylor, Chatham, Virginia.
  2. Elizabeth Mitchell Inge, Chatham, Virginia.

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