Photos by Lucas Taggart
The Whitesel Brothers Building, located on 131 W. Grace St. in Harrisonburg, was built in 1939 with two subsequent additions. However, most of the warehouse’s original floorplan, including original windows and doors, are still standing today.
The warehouse is privately owned and rented by an electrical company. Graphic, architectural and industrial design classes at James Madison University are taught in the building.
In 2005, the building was listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website, the building serves as an excellent example of early 1920s-era warehouse construction and late Depression-era technology and craftsmanship.
“The most important element of this combination is the second-floor arched truss system that embodies the fundamentals of early-20th century technology, while the building also reflects old construction methodologies in its brickwork and woodwork,” the site reads. “The intact nature of the original mechanical systems, which rarely survive in warehouse buildings of the period, further contributes to its significance.”
Street artists have used this site as a backdrop for self-expression, showing how the worlds of urban planning and art collide.