Right the Record: Lightfoot Building

254-258 East Davis Street, Culpeper, VA

Location: 254-258 East Davis Street, Culpeper, VA

  • Per Culpeper County 2021 tax assessor records, the building was built in 1900 and the property contains 0.04 acres. ***NOTE: In the “building information” section of many Culpeper County tax assessor property records, the “year built” is occasionally incorrect; if “year built” is unknown, the year 1900 is noted by the assessor
  • J.E.R. Lightfoot acquired the property located on the north side of East Street, between the Walter H. Johnson grocery store and Morris & Morris Garage in 1921. He had the lot cleared to expand his business and erect a new two-story building. The building contractor was Isaac Chauncey (I.C.) Abbott (white) of Brandy Station, Virginia. The current building was completed around June 1922
  • Original owner was J.E.R. Lightfoot until his business closed due to his death in 1946
  • In later years, Sarah & Lillie’s Café expanded and moved their business from 214 East Davis Street to the Lightfoot building. She served both African American and white customers

Photo of Lightfoot's grocery

Lightfoot’s Grocery

J.E.R. Lightfoot (James Edward Russell), Proprietor, Henry Clay Lightfoot (Father of J.E.R.)

  • Store also served as an employment agency, social hall to discuss African American issues, i. e. equal education and schools, voting rights and politics, employment, etc.
  • Henry Clay Lightfoot, father of J.E.R., established the grocery store in the 1870’s in the original location, across the street, on the south side of East Davis Street
  • Shortly after Lightfoot built his new store beside Walter H. Johnson’s grocery store, Johnson began improving his building storefront, thus a little competition and he could not compete with Lightfoot! Johnson’s building and property were sold at public auction on October 15, 1925

Interior photo of Lightfoot's grocery store

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