A history of Carytown
RVA News has a neat look at the history of Carytown:
Usage of “Carytown” as the official name began in 1974 when a vote was held among residents. Until then stores were simply part of W. Cary Street, according to JoAnne Draucker. JoAnne has owned Ellman’s Dancewear for the past 34 years and Premiere Costumes for 38 years. She also grew up in the area and helped put on the first Watermelon Festival 29 years ago.
In the 1960s, the area was mainly apartments and corner stores. “You had the store downstairs and the apartment upstairs.” It was in about 1955 that the street was changed to one-way, heading into town. “Cary Street sort of became a pass-through.” Slowly houses turned into shops because of the through traffic. It wasn’t until later that people began to notice how useful the street had become: “You could get your vacuum cleaner fixed, your lamp fixed, you could buy appliances, and you could buy anything you wanted without having to go to a mall.” To Draucker, 1974 was “sort of like the beginning of Carytown.”