Bristol Builders Supply Company
This building was constructed around 1925 and expanded slightly in 1928. The warehouse is included in the Bristol Warehouse Historic District and was constructed for the Bristol Builders Supply Company. The building's significance and preservation was one of the factors that inspired local leaders to secure an official designation for the city and this district, an effort that concluded in 2012 when the district was added to the National Register.
Backstory and Context
The building, while appearing to face Lee Street, actually has two entrances, one at 220 Lee Street and one at 500 Scott Street. The Scott Street entrance is elevated higher than the portion of the first floor of the building which extends further down Lee Street. The second floor of the building was the location of its expansion in 1928, in which a brick office wing was added.
The warehouse, as it was originally constructed, features a concrete foundation with a rolled asphalt roof and a common brick exterior. The portion of the building facing Lee Street includes a loading dock platform and an entrance on the elevated side. The lower side has no entrance but includes six window bays on the upper floor. The first floor includes four window bays. Many windows in the building have since been significantly changed or covered entirely.
The eastern side of the building facing Lee Street includes one of the most notable features of the original construction. In addition to a stepped parapet, this façade also features a blue and white terra cotta panel which reads: “BRISTOL BUILDERS SUPPLY CO.”
The southern portion of this side, which is elevated, marks the location of the 1928 expansion to include office space for the company. The second floor of this façade also includes horizontal Carrara glass bands which stretch around the street corner onto the eastern façade. The southern portion facing Lee Street includes a large black-and-white painting at the top of the building, reading: “CENTRAL WAREHOUSE CORP. WHOLESALE BUILDING MATERIALS TO DEALERS ONLY.”
In 2010, the City of Bristol chose to allocate the then-vacant building to the Bristol City School Division. Just two years later, in 2012, the building was at the forefront of the movement to form a Bristol Warehouse Historic District featuring it and several other nearby buildings, some now included in the listing and others not. Today, the building is mostly utilized by the school district as a space for modern offices for school administrators. The City of Bristol and Bristol City Youth Services may also have dedicated office spaces in the building. The funding for these transformations, which notably have only been made to certain portions of the building, while other have remained unchanged, comes mainly from a $3 million interest-free federal loan program.
During the official historic district designation process, local leaders were notably adamant about including the old warehouse as part of a larger project to form a new historic district in Bristol as opposed to listing the site individually. Other historic districts on the Virginia side of Bristol include the Bristol Commercial Historic District, the Euclid Avenue Historic District, Solar Hill Historic District, and Virginia Hill Historic District.
"Bristol Warehouse Historic District." Virginia Department of Historic Resources. March 15th 2012. Accessed August 22nd 2019. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/102-5031/.
Mcgee, David. "Former warehouse impetus for Bristol's newest historic district." Bristol Herald Courier. January 30th 2011. Accessed August 22nd 2019. https://www.heraldcourier.com/news/former-warehouse-impetus-for-bristol-s-newest-historic-district/article_53cf180e-7959-5bd7-a971-e1634e9f7d22.html.
"National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Bristol Warehouse Historic District." Virginia Department of Historic Resources. May 9th 2012. Accessed August 22nd 2019. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/VLR_to_transfer/PDFNoms/102-5031_BristolWarehouseHD_2012_NRHP_FINAL.pdf.
"220 Lee St." White Pages. Accessed August 22nd 2019. https://www.whitepages.com/address/220-Lee-St/Bristol-VA/7RDBa7WR52P2OGcAMn3E1o.
Virginia Department of Historic Resources