Brown's New Cafe; Mrs. M. Brown, prop

Known Name(s)

Brown's New Cafe; Mrs. M. Brown, prop


102 E. Virginia St.; rear of Grayhound Station South Hill, VA

Physical Status



This one-story brick building has a central door flanked by horizontal shop-like windows. Each window consists of four horizontal panes of glass on either side of a vertical muntin, eight panes total per window. The upper half of the door has three vertical panes of glass. A sign "Brown's New Cafe" is centered on the roof. 

Detailed History

On the 1940 U.S. Census, Melvin Brown is a 40-year old barber who was born in Virginia. His wife Mattie Simmons is age 31. The Browns own their house, valued at $1000. Four sons, a mother-in-law, and two lodgers live in the household. In the 1950 census the Browns are still on Virginia Street. Mr. Brown's birthplace has changed to South Carolina and he is 54 years old. Mattie is 41, born in Virginia. She owns and operates a local cafe. Their household includes two sons, a daughter, a "niee in law," a "wife" (age 76), four lodgers, and a "non."

An ad for Brown's New Cafe on page 102 of the 1962 Green Book includes a photo of the business, a one-story brick building located at 105 East Virginia Street featuring Southern hospitality and fine foods. Mrs. Mattie P. Brown, Proprietor, specializes in Virginia ham, hot biscuits, barbecue, chops, and chicken. Note: a 1961 ad places the business at 102 East Virginia Street. 

Issues also describe the business as being located at the rear of the Greyhound station. It appears that both the Greyhound station and Brown's New Cafe were demolished to construct the R. T. Arnold Public Library.

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