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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Fredericksburg-area real estate pioneer Carl D. Silver, 86, dies

Related: Region reacts to Carl Silver’s death

Related: Clay Jones

Carl D. Silver in April 2006. Photo by Mike Morones.

Carl David Silver, who in many ways put the Fredericksburg region on the map for economic development, died late yesterday at Mary Washington Hospital, where he had been for about 10 days. Silver was 86. Employees for the Silver Cos. development firm, the company Carl Silver founded more than a half-century ago, were informed of the news early this morning. The office will be closed in his honor until Monday. A funeral is planned Friday.

Silver, who lived at a large Franklin Street home in Fredericksburg with his wife of more than 60 years, Maxine, became one of the wealthiest men in Virginia through his successful real estate ventures, which included the development of Central Park and Celebrate Virginia. People who worked for him describe him as a man with an incredible work ethic who shared his financial resources, often anonymously, with many in the community — both individuals and organizations.

Of late Silver had battled illness and had not appeared publicly. Fredericksburg City Council and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance both recently honored Silver’s career during public forums.

Silver showed an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age during a childhood spent in Tappahannock. He started his business ventures after concluding his military service in Europe during World War II, according to a history posted on his company’s web page. He was at first involved in the used-car business, first in Tappahannock and later on William and Princess Anne streets in downtown Fredericksburg, before focusing on the more lucrative real estate business. He later started the Fredericksburg Auto Auction, which continues to thrive today. Among the other retail developments in the area that Silver played a role in developing are the Four-Mile Fork Shopping Center, Amaret Shopping Center, Westwood Center, Westwood Office Park, Westwood Village, Gateway Village Shopping Center and Aquia Towne Center.

His son, Larry, remains the company’s CEO from his full-time home in Florida.

Click here for an article FLS reporter Jim Hall wrote about Carl Silver in 1996.


  • Lynda Knotts Birdwell

    What a huge loss to everyone.  Mr. Silver was a great man who has done much for this area- mostly on the basis of anonymity.  Rest In Peace my dear friend as you have done plenty to deserve it! 

  • Christine Minter

    He was a good man and did a lot for me personally.  Rest now.  You will be missed.

  • Karen Huff

    A true honor to know such a respectful, sucessful, honest man. A true loss. My symphany goes out to everyone who knew him.
    Karen l. Huff

  • Anonymous

    A sad day for the Fredericksburg region. 
    Our Prayers are with friends, family, and all Silver employees as we mourn the loss of a genuine and caring man. 

  • Orlando Vega Jr.


  • Orlando Vega Jr.


  • Heather Herbert Stefl

    Rest in Peace Mr Silver

  • Patric Oesterheld

    You usually see these great men pass away and there are a bunch of detractors… Not in this case. Mr. Silver loved this community and helped MANY in it, as many people have said, anonymously. Great man. Sad loss for the Fredericksburg region. RIP, Mr. Silver.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Silver was one of the nice people you would ever meet.
    I would often talk with him at Ukrop’s.
     He will always be remembered and loved
    JD Southerland