The Union Overall Company: Threads of Tradition from Norfolk's Colorful Past

The Union Overall Company: Threads of Tradition from Norfolk's Colorful Past

Old Kings Road is now Union Overall Company

Nestled along the coast of Virginia, Norfolk is a city where history runs as deep as the waters that surround it. Its vibrant past is a complex tapestry of shipbuilding, maritime adventures, military might, and a lively underbelly that contributed to its unique character. Within this rich mosaic, the Union Overall Company, founded in 1901 by Samuel Sherrick, Barton Myers, and L. Bach, emerged as a beacon of American workwear—crafting durable garments for the hardworking souls of the early 20th century.

As Norfolk flourished into a key maritime and military hub, the Union Overall Company produced workwear that mirrored the city's robust spirit. Though their original premises at 72 & 82 Water Street have vanished into the folds of time, and their last known presence faded in 1922, the essence of their craft lives on. The resilience of their garments is still glimpsed in old photographs of Norfolk's workers, a silent testament to their role in the city's industrious past.

Yet, Norfolk's narrative is not solely one of industry and valor. Its streets, particularly along the bustling Main Street, were alive with the vibrant, often seedy elements of a port city. Tattoo parlors flourished, birthing the American Traditional tattooing style thanks to legends like Cap Coleman and Lady Lenora. These parlors became havens for sailors and military personnel, etching stories onto skin with ink, and contributing to the cultural tapestry that distinguished Norfolk.

The city's nightlife buzzed with energy from burlesque shows to sailor fights, painting a picture of a town teeming with life, where every corner held a story. Amidst this lively scene, the Union Overall Company's garments likely adorned the bodies of many, from workers by day to the denizens of Norfolk's spirited nights.

Fast forward to 2024, and the Union Overall Company is experiencing a renaissance, reborn just blocks away from where its story began. This revival is more than a nod to nostalgia; it's a homage to the enduring spirit of Norfolk, a city that has navigated through times of prosperity and challenge. By employing old methods and authentic designs, the reborn company is stitching together the past and present, ensuring the legacy of quality and resilience continues.

This resurgence echoes Norfolk's own journey through history, a city that honors its diverse heritage while embracing change. The Union Overall Company, in its new chapter, stands as a symbol of Norfolk's undying resilience and innovation. It's a tribute to the shipbuilders, sailors, and workers who've shaped the city, as well as the vibrant, sometimes shadowy, life that gave Norfolk its character.

As Norfolk evolves, merging its historical roots with dynamic nature of its modern form, the Union Overall Company remains a stitch in the city's ongoing story. It's a reminder of the importance of preserving our heritage while forging ahead into the future. Celebrating the spirit of a city defined by both its work ethic and its colorful past, the Union Overall Company's revival is a testament to the enduring appeal of authenticity and the timeless nature of well-crafted workwear.

In reviving the Union Overall Company, we're not just bringing back a brand; we're reconnecting with a chapter of Norfolk's history, celebrating the city's rich tapestry of life. It's a story of resilience, renewal, and the enduring legacy of a community that continues to weave its future, one garment at a time.

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