Our History in RVA

  • Our History in RVA
    The Salvation Army has a rich history of service to families and individuals in need in the Central Virginia area. In fact, The Salvation Army has been providing service to the area for more than 125 years, thanks to the generous support of local donors, volunteers and partners.

    Use the links below to navigate to your decade of interest

    1880s 1890s 1900s 1910 1920s
    1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s
    1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

    1885 – As reported in The War Cry:

    RICHMOND, VA – When we first came the people told us that the devil had a strong hold here. Now they are led to admit that “Jesus Christ the Lord of all is mightier than he.”

    During last week some of the devil’s best friends and advocates have farewelled from his kingdom, and declared plainly that now they seek a better life. Backsliders are coming to Father’s house. Christians are working shoulder to shoulder with The Army, and there is joy in the presence of God.

    We closed the week with four souls in the fountain and Christians drawing nearer to God.

    We mean Richmond for Jesus.

    -Special Jennie Delano

    1886 – Richmond Corps # 1 opens on South Linden Street and throughout the next 67 years, the location of this Corps included Fifth Street, Canal Street. The first officers in Richmond were Captain Glover, Captain Garbutt and Cadet Richardson.

    1887 – The Salvation Army begins setting up tents throughout Richmond to spread the word of the gospel and help their fellow man. The Army will not abandon the idea of using tents until 1907 or thereabouts.

    1897 – The Red Kettle concept reaches the East Coast and Virginia after its start 6 years earlier in San Francisco. Kettle collections in Richmond may have begun around this time.

    1905 – The Salvation Army opens its Industrial Home located at 409 ½ West 4th Street in April of 1905 with Captain and Mrs. Wehrli in command.

    1908 – Richmond Corps # 1 moves to 906 East Broad Street

    1915 – Richmond Corps # 2 opens on May 14, 1915. Captain Mary Etta Davis is the officer at Corps # 2.

    1919 – The Salvation Army begins holding weekly street corner meetings and concerts outside the Murphy Hotel, located at the Southeast corner of 8th Street. The Industrial Home is moved from West 4th Street to 506 East Leigh Street in October of 1919.

    1920 – The Richmond Church Hill Corps, located at 728 North 28th Street, opens on October 17, 1920. This Corps was formerly an outpost of Richmond Corps #1. The officers in charge were Supply & Mrs. McIntyre. Richmond Corps # 3 opens at 801 Hull Street in April, 1920 with Captain and Mrs. Williams Wright as the commanding officers. The first Girl Guard Troop is organized in Richmond.

    1921 – The Salvation Army in Richmond organizes its first ever Advisory Board with Mr. John R. Saunders as chairman.
    For the first time in Richmond, The Salvation Army holds a public supported campaign to raise money for operating expenses with the slogan, “The man prowling the streets hungry and cold is a menace to your city. Help make him an asset.” Prior to this time, The Salvation Army relied on tambourine collections for support.

    1923 – On January 1, 1923, The Evangeline Booth Home & Hospital opens at 2701 Fifth Avenue. This facility provides medical care and shelter for unwed pregnant women from Virginia and West Virginia. The first Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary is formed in Richmond and meets at the Home & Hospital.

    1924 – The Community Chest is organized in Richmond with The Salvation Army as a charter member.

    1926 – Richmond Corps # 2 officially closes and moves to Norton, VA where it was deemed there was a greater need at that time.

    1928 – Richmond becomes Divisional Headquarters for The Salvation Army after a new and separate division is created. The headquarters shares space with Corps # 1 at 906 East Broad Street.

    1930 – The first mass Christmas program is administered in Richmond as gift baskets are distributed to those in need.

    1945 – The Richmond Church Hill Corps is officially closed on July 1, 1945 and subsequently became an outpost of the Richmond Citadel Corps. Despite the closing of the Corps in Church Hill, the building, a former Masonic Lodge, continues to serve the youth of the area.

    1949 – The outpost at Church Hill becomes the Red Shield Boys Club.

    1950 – The first City Command in Richmond is established, with Senior Major Harmon Anderson as City Commander. Richmond Corps # 3 is moved to 416 W. 12th Street. The owner of this property decides to build a memorial for his father, Samuel B. Dunstan.

    1951 – In December of 1951, Richmond Corps # 3 becomes the Dunstan Memorial Citadel and is located on the corner of Semmes Avenue and 12th Street.

    1952 – The Evangeline Booth Home and Hospital on Fifth Avenue in Highland Park is expanded and dedicated in December of 1952. This addition to the building includes 30 beds, a laboratory and delivery room equipment. The older section of the Home and Hospital is used to house women who are in the early stages of their pregnancy.

    1953 – Corps # 1 is closed on May 31, 1953 and all its officers are transferred to Oregon Hill in June of 1953. A Corps located in Oregon Hill officially opens on June 1, 1953 on 19 Maiden Lane, with Second Lieutenant Helen McIntire as the Corps Officer. The Salvation Army ends its practice of weekly street corner meetings in front of the Murphy Hotel.

    1954 – Senior Major Elmer Wall is assigned to Richmond as City Commander, replacing Senior Major Anderson. On January 28, 1954, The Red Shield Boys Club merges with the Boys Clubs of America and is chartered The Salvation Army Boys Club.

    1958 – Richmond City Command is dissolved when Brigadier Elmer Wall (formerly Senior Major Wall) is transferred to Birmingham, Alabama. At this time, all of the social services work is performed by Divisional Headquarters based in Richmond.

    1959 – The City of Richmond purchases the property where Divisional Headquarters is housed and The Salvation Army moves to 2 W. Grace Street. This property on East Broad Street is now Richmond City Hall.

    1963 – The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary reorganizes after some internal changes with The Army take place.

    1966 – The Corps at Oregon Hill closes on May 18, 1966 and becomes an outpost of Dunstan Memorial Citadel Corps. The Salvation Army opens its Adult Rehabilitation Center at 2601 Hermitage Road after being provided funds from Territorial Headquarters and the Industrial Home on Leigh Street is closed.

    1968 – WRVA radio personality, Alden Aaroe, begins the Alden Aaroe Shoe Fund and partners with The Salvation Army to administer the funds to needy children in Richmond.

    1971 – In June, 2 West Grace Street becomes City Command headquarters for The Salvation Army, after 13-years without a City Command in Virginia’s capital. At this time, City Command is sharing space with Divisional Headquarters at the 2 West Grace Street location. Brigadier Arthur Ward is appointed the first Area Coordinator of the new City Command. The Salvation Army Boys Club moves to its present day location at 3701 “R” Street in Church Hill. The facility is renamed The Salvation Army Boys Club and Neighborhood Center.

    1972 – Divisional Headquarters moves from Richmond, VA to Washington, D.C. and The Salvation Army in Richmond begins a capital campaign to raise funds for a new Area Command building.

    1973 – The Richmond Times-Dispatch turns over the responsibility of food and gift distribution for their Christmas Mother Fund program to The Salvation Army. That year’s Christmas Mother is Mrs. Leslie Cheek. The Evangeline Booth Home and Hospital ceases its operations in Richmond.

    1974 – The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary reorganizes yet again, and selects Catherine Kasko as its president.

    1976Project W.A.R.M begins. The program is committed to providing high quality firewood to needy individuals in Central Virginia who heat their homes with wood burning stoves.

    1977 – Major James Hipps is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Brigadier Ward.

    1979 – The Dunstan Memorial Citadel Corps becomes Richmond Community Corps after The Salvation Army purchases a building at 4301 Crutchfield Street and sells the Dunstan Corps building.

    1980 – Captain William Powell is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Major Hipps. In partnership with The Richmond Dental Society, The Salvation Army begins assisting the elderly with dental care.

    1981 – The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club finishes 4th in a national competition sponsored by Colgate Palmolive. For the national “Help Young America” campaign, members from The Club submit a video documentary about how a mentally handicapped youth can be main-streamed in a Boys and Girls Club program.

    1982 – The Richmond City Council amends the City Zoning Ordinance paving the way for The Salvation Army to begin construction on its new Area Command. Residents from Westminster Canterbury begin the Mitten Tree program, benefiting the children that The Salvation Army serves at Christmas.

    1983 – In July, construction begins at 2 W. Grace Street as The Salvation Army builds a new Area Command for Richmond. During construction, The Salvation Army moves it operations to 203 N. Foushee Street. The Salvation Army and Dominion Virginia Power collaborate and introduce the Energy Share program, and begins to help those who are having trouble paying their utility bills.

    1984 – The new City Command is completed and The Salvation Army moves its Richmond headquarters from 203 N. Foushee Street back to 2 W. Grace Street. The new building houses the first emergency shelter operated by The Salvation Army in Richmond. Prior to 1984, temporary housing was provided for up to 10 men at local hotels, first on North Adams Street, then on North 3rd Street. The emergency shelter capacity at this time is 40, but can house up to 50 under extreme circumstances.

    1985 – Captain Donald Faulkner is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Captain Powell.

    1986 – The Salvation Army moves its Corps to 5327 Orcutt Lane in South Richmond, and a dedication service is held at the new Corps building on November 9, 1986.

    1987 – The Salvation Army begins the Angel Tree program in Richmond.

    1988 – Major Avedis Kasarjian is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Captain Faulkner. Puritan Cleaners begins its Coats for Kids drive, which The Salvation Army administers.

    1989 – The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary begins its annual Dolls and Bears Auction.

    1990 – The Salvation Army increases the number of beds in its emergency shelter to 55.

    1991 – Major Kenneth Merrifield is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Major Kasarjian.

    1992 – The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command begins its present day disaster services unit in response to Hurricane Andrew.

    1995 – NBC 12 replaces WRIC TV-8 as media partner for the Angel Tree program.

    1996 – Major Dannie Delaney is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Major Merrifield.

    1998 – Lt. Colonel Danny Morrow is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Major Delaney.

    1999 – The City of Richmond implements its MetroCare program, designed to assist those in need pay their utility bills, and The Salvation Army is chosen as one of the agencies that will distribute its funds. FOX Richmond and The Salvation Army partner to provide stockings to area children at Christmas, thus starting FOX Holiday Socks.

    2000 – Traveler’s Aid International merges with The Salvation Army in Richmond.

    2001 – The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command abandons the Toy Shop concept, but continues its partnership with NBC 12 for the Angel Tree program. The Salvation Army’s operations in Petersburg and the Tri-Cities become part of the Richmond Area Command.

    2003 – Major Bobby Lancaster is assigned to Richmond as Area Commander, replacing Lt. Colonel Morrow. The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command opens the Cold Night Shelter in which anyone who may be homeless is provided a place to sleep on nights where the temperature is forecasted to be 35 degrees or below. During the first year of the program, the Cold Night Shelter was open for 96 nights and provided refuge for 2,882 people.

    2004 – The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club celebrates its 50-year anniversary with The Boys and Girls Club of America. In February, Freedom House begins serving its community meal at Area Command after their facility is closed. The Salvation Army opens a transitional housing facility in Petersburg, and holds a dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Petersburg Corps Worship Center. Robert Winston, a youth from The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, wins the Youth of the Year award in Virginia.

    2005 – The Salvation Army celebrates 120 years of service to Central Virginia with a celebration dinner at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. After Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast, Richmond Area Command’s Emergency Disaster Services Unit and its 3 canteens are dispatched to assist those in need in Louisiana. All told, Richmond Area Command personnel spend 7 weeks in the Gulf Coast providing aid to those in need and serve more than 28,000 meals. Richmond Area Command serves 236 evacuees who come to Central Virginia looking for assistance.

    2006 – Major Dan Proctor is assigned to Richmond Area Command, replacing Major Bobby Lancaster.

    2007 – The Salvation Army School of Performing Arts is launched in three locations; the Richmond Citadel Center for Worship and Service, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, and the Petersburg Center for Worship and Service. This school offers free lessons to Central Virginia children, including keyboard, guitar, percussion, woodwind and brass. Other elements of the performing arts include gospel choir, mime, sacred dance and drama for different age groups. The Church Hill Outpost opens at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club offering offers Christian programming for people of all ages. The Salvation Army, in partnership with ESPN Radio 950 AM and afternoon host Greg Burton, kick off the first annual “Holiday Cheer & Gear” program. This program provides new sporting goods to children in Central Virginia through The Salvation Army Christmas Assistance Programs.

    2008 – Volunteers and officers from Richmond Area Command are activated during The Salvation Army’s national response to hurricanes Gustav and Ike. These individuals provided meals to weary residents along the Gulf Coasts of Mississippi and Texas. In late fall, Richmond Area Command launches Register to Ring, a website that allows individuals and groups to sign up for a time, date, and location to ring a bell at one of The Salvation Army kettle sites in Central Virginia.

    2009 – The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, in partnership with The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, launches a new program; “My Story.” This program aims to teach youth from the Club reading comprehension, writing and spelling as they write their own biographies. In May, The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center opens its newest store at 11000 Midlothian Turnpike. Captain David Worthy is assigned to Richmond Area Command, replacing Major Dan Proctor.

    2010 – The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command ends its Traveler’s Aid program. Richmond Area Commander, Captain David Worthy spends 7 days in Haiti as part of The Salvation Army’s international response to the Haitian earthquake. In May, The Salvation Army celebrates its 125 years of service to Central VA. In October, The Salvation Army Richmond Area Command officially changes its name to The Salvation Army Central Virginia Area Command.

    2013 – Majors Timothy and Donna Carter replaces Captain David Worthy as Central Virginia Area Commander and Associate Area Commander, respectively.

    2017 – Captains Donald and Laura Dohmann replace Majors Carter as Central Virginia Area Commander and Associate Area Commander, respectively.