James River Steam Brewery Cellars

4920 Old Main Street, Richmond, Virginia


James River Steam Brewery Cellars


View this photo at nps.gov


Street View 


The vaulted brick cellars on the west side of the Rocketts Landing development are the sole surviving remnant of the James River Steam Brewery, which operated here from 1866 to 1879, defining the period of significance. Established by David G. Yuengling, Jr., in partnership with John A. Beyer and John F. Betz, this substantial brewing enterprise was affiliated with the Eagle Brewery of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, now known as Yuengling Brewery. Founded by German immigrant David G. Yuengling in 1829, the Yuengling family brewery is now considered to be the oldest continuously operating brewery in the United States. Built shortly before the advent of mechanical refrigeration, the cellars represented the apex of mid-nineteenth-century brewery architecture and technology. No comparable examples of brewery storage cellars of this size or scale have yet been documented in Virginia. The James River Steam Brewery Cellars are locally significant under Criterion A in the areas of Commerce and Industry for association with the history of beer brewing, sales and distribution within the Richmond, Virginia, vicinity and as a symbol of expansion by the Pennsylvania-based Yuengling companies into the Reconstruction era Southern states. The cellars are also locally significant under Criterion C, Architecture, as a rare surviving example of mid-nineteenth-century industrial architecture that remains as a historic model of the processing and storage of beer prior to the widespread use of mechanical refrigeration.

Posted to the NRHP 2-5-2014

Update Log 

  • August 20, 2014: Added by Dave King