Interesting facts about Richmond

Richmond is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States.

It is situated in the east-central part of the state at the head of navigation of the James River.

As of January 2021, the population of Richmond is about 230,000 people.

The city covers a total area of 162 square kilometers (63 square miles).

The average altitude is 46 metres (166 feet) above sea level.

The English first explored the site in 1607, when a party led by Christopher Newport and John Smith sailed upriver shortly after the founding of Jamestown.

A trading post was established in 1637 by Thomas Stegg at the fall of the James, and in 1645 Fort Charles was built there.

In 1733 William Byrd of Westover named the settlement for Richmond upon Thames, England, and the town was laid out four years later by surveyor Major William Mayo on a site that became known as Church Hill.

During the Revolutionary War period, several notable events occurred in the city, including Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775 at St. John’s Church, and the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom written by Thomas Jefferson.

During the American Civil War, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy.

In 1840 the city was linked to Lynchburg by the James River and Kanawha Canal, and by 1860 it was served by several railroads.

It entered the 20th century with one of the world’s first successful electric streetcar systems.

The Jackson Ward neighborhood is a traditional hub of African-American commerce and culture.

The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in Richmond. It houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America, the Virginia General
Assembly, first established as the House of Burgesses in 1619. The Capitol was conceived of by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau in France, based on the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. Construction began in 1785 and was completed in 1788. The current Capitol is the eighth built to serve as Virginia’s statehouse, primarily due to fires during the Colonial period. In the early 20th century, two wings were added, leading to its present appearance. In 1960, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, or VMFA, is an art museum in Richmond, which opened in 1936. It is one of the first museums in the American South to be operated by state funds. It is also one of the largest art museums in North America. VMFA ranks as one of the top ten comprehensive art museums in the United States.

The Poe Museum or the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, is a museum located in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond, dedicated to American writer Edgar Allan Poe. Though Poe never lived in the building, it
serves to commemorate his time living in Richmond. The museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of original manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. The museum also provides an overview of early 19th century Richmond, where Poe lived and worked. The museum features the life and career of Poe by documenting his accomplishments with pictures, relics, and verse, and focusing on his many years in Richmond.

The American Civil War Museum is a multi-site museum in the Greater Richmond Region of central Virginia, dedicated to the history of the American Civil War. The museum operates three sites: The White House of the Confederacy, American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar in Richmond, and American Civil War Museum at Appomattox. It maintains a comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, Confederate imprints (books and pamphlets), and photographs.

Maymont is a 40-hectare (100-acre) Victorian estate and public park in Richmond. It contains Maymont Mansion, now a historic house museum, an arboretum, formal gardens, a carriage collection, native wildlife exhibits, a nature center, and Children’s Farm. In 1893, James H. Dooley, a wealthy Richmond lawyer and philanthropist, and his wife, Sallie, completed their elaborate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River. According to their wishes, after their deaths Maymont was left to the people of Richmond. Over the next 75 years, additional attractions were added.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a 20 hectares (50 acres), botanical garden in Richmond, Virginia’s Lakeside neighborhood. It features a conservatory, library cafe and tea house restaurant. Regular daily admission is $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, $8 for children (age 3-12), under age 3 are free. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden also hosts select days where admission is free and is part of the Museums for All program offering discounted admission and membership to those with a SNAP/EBT card. Art exhibitions, special events, live music, tours, classes and seminars are also offered.

Richmond is the third capital city of Virginia. The first two were Jamestown and Williamsburg.

Richmond has been recognized in recent years for being a “foodie city”, particularly for its modern renditions of traditional Southern cuisine.

The city also claims the invention of the sailor sandwich, which includes pastrami, knockwurst, Swiss cheese and mustard on rye bread.

Richmond is also where, in 1935, canned beer was made commercially available for the first time.