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#TBT: When cigarette-smoking cops and rowdy youth roamed Grace Street

Grace Street 02

RICHMOND, Va. – The 800 and 900 blocks of West Grace Street have transformed with time, and it hasn’t always been graceful. News on Wednesday that VCU has partnered with Walmart to bring a smaller campus-style store to the university excited some and frustrated others.

The landscape has certainly changed from the plethora of smaller independent stores that gave the street its character decades back. Now chains from Chipotle to Barnes & Noble dot the street, and squeaky clean multi-level brick dorms loom above. One thing everyone agrees on is that the blocks are much safer these days.

One last holdout of the past decade is the Sahara Hookah lounge located in the 800 block of Grace. VCU has made multiple offers to purchase the space, but the owner has held out each time, despite the brick towers that overshadow the building.

And music from local and traveling bands still thumps from the space where Strange Matter has taken up residence – in a spot formerly known either as Twisters or Nancy Ray-Guns, depending on your generation.

CBS 6 dug into the Video Vault and found this gem from 1991. The Richmond Police were patrolling the area of Grace Street that they considered rowdy. This is back when the Village Café was on the opposite side of the street.

It’s a wild look back at 1991 – with police smoking cigarettes on camera, fights and some great street action.



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