History

Robinson Street began as a country road in Henrico County before becoming the active street it is today. In 1895, the Richmond Traction Company was chartered and built trackage on Robinson Street from the popular fairgrounds off of Broad St., and the new Reservoir Park (now Byrd Park). The Richmond Traction Company had the foresight that Richmond was going to grow towards the west, hence the track lines on Robinson, however they also acknowledged the need for the tracks to be connected to area where special events occur (the fairgrounds and the new park.) Also, in 1895 the Richmond Traction Company built two large brick barns on the corner of Cary and Robinson which are still standing today.   

The street was formally named in 1906 after the Robinson family who owned extensive land nearby. In 1906, the land immediately abutting Robinson Street was sparsely populated, aside from the YMCA built in 1904 across the trolley barns. 

Robinson St Buildings 1902 - 1920

In 1909, the trolley barn complex was expanded and in 1910 the City Council allowed the Richmond Traction Company to run 11 spur tacks from Robinson Street into the lot and trolley barns south of Cary Street, essentially putting the switching yard in the street. During the same two year period, Robinson Street experienced a significant building boom as ridership along the Robinson line increased.  Most of the urban form that still stands today was constructed during this time period. 

In 1949, the streetcar system in Richmond was dismantled, however the new bus company took residence in the same trolley barns and Robinson Street continued to be a major public transportation thoroughfare. In 2009, GRTC moved its headquarters from the old trolley site on Robinson, decreasing the amount of bus traffic on the street. However, Robinson remains the one of the only north-south corridors in the western portion of the Fan neighborhood with bus traffic. Currently Robinson Street serves as a relaxed shopping and dining destination. The corridor includes salons, a record store, a vintage clothing store, laundromat, pet grooming, neighborhood restaurants, and some institutional uses including the Retreat hospital and the Boy’s and Girl’s club.

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