The past lives on in Richmond's postcards. 

Wish You Were Here

Picture this: You're a tourist in Richmond and you want to send a friend or relative a postcard with an eyeful of the city. You buy one, write your message and send it.

One problem: Postcard racks at local drugstores and visitors' centers are filled with cards containing images of a Richmond that vanished 10 or more years ago.

The manufacturer of these postcards, Fredericksburg-based Cards Unlimited, makes and distributes 90 percent of the postcards sold in Virginia. The business changed hands at the beginning of last year, says its new owner, Vincent Staley, and hasn't had a chance to update the Richmond cards. Staley and the former owners take the pictures for the postcards themselves.

"When you're running [postcards for] the whole state, there's not a lot of time to do photography," Staley says.

Staley adds he was not aware that the Richmond cards were outdated. "They'll be updated soon," he promises.

A shot of the Richmond skyline, seen from the James River. Look closely: In the background, lined up next to each other, are Crestar, Central Fidelity and Sovran. Well, no. Crestar was bought by SunTrust in 1998 and changed its name last year. Central Fidelity left the stage after getting bought by Wachovia in 1997. Sovran became part of NationsBank in 1991, which makes the card at least 10 years old.

Notice the old Miller & Rhoads neon sign on the right side of the card, all lighted up and ready for business? Whoops. The store famously went out of business in 1990 after a 105-year history. Sixth Street Marketplace was built in 1987. The fact that the failed marketplace is even the centerpiece of the card hints at the age.

This shot of the state Capitol reveals the old Crestar building at the bottom (again, Crestar is outta here). In addition, the magnolia trees in front of the Capitol got cut down a few years


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