Backstory: Leggett’s lives on

Photo: Courtesy of Steve Trumbull, whose third book of historic C'ville photography, "Vintage Charlottesville," comes out late 2019. / Photo: Courtesy of Steve Trumbull, whose third book of historic C’ville photography, “Vintage Charlottesville,” comes out late 2019. /

THEN: Leggett’s, opened in 1939 // NOW: Violet Crown, opened in 2015

“Quality merchandise. Popular prices.” So went a 1954 ad slogan for Leggett’s, a department store well-known in Charlottesville—and throughout the Mid-Atlantic—for its mid-priced fashions and homewares.

Leggett’s, then a privately-owned retail business, opened its first store in downtown Lynchburg in 1927. It arrived in Charlottesville in 1939, opening at 200-204 West Main Street, according to City of Charlottesville architectural and historic surveys. (Leggett’s later expanded into 212214 West Main Street around 1956.)

The 200-204 West Main property has a long history of department store use; it was also a Hidy & Company, a Robey and Co., an A.D. Cox, and a Sears. Years later, Regal Cinemas took over the location, only to be replaced by Violet Crown in 2015.

In 1980, Leggett’s left the Downtown Mall for the greener pastures of Fashion Square Mall. In 1996, North Carolina-based Belk bought out Leggett’s, and their store—a last vestige of Leggett’s—still remains at Fashion Square Mall.

Photo: Courtesy of Steve Trumbull //

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Patrick Pierce
Patrick Pierce

A few points are in order regarding the Leggett’s piece. I am sorry that I am just seeing this now. Sears Robebuck and Co. came to Charlottesville in 1937, and was located at 212-214 West Main Street, next door to A.W. Cox Department Store prior to Leggett’s arrival. Leggett’s moved into the A.W. Cox Department Store’s spot, at 200-204 West Main Street, as noted, in 1939. (Artemus Ward Cox was a Charleston, West Virginia, merchant who founded the 21-store regional chain in 1914, with outlets in West Virgina, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. The last of those stores closed in 1984.)… Read more »