A Walking Tour of Richmond, Virginia
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Advantageously situated at the head of navigation on the James River, Richmond has been a serial capital city through the centuries. When this was the land of the Powhatan tribe it was one of their capitals, often called Shocquohocan, or Shockoe. The English began attempts at a settlement here as early as 1609 but development did not take until 1645 when Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James. On October 27, 1673 Englishman William Byrd was granted 1,200 acres on the James River and became a prosperous fur trader on the land that would become modern-day Richmond.
In 1779 the capital of Virginia was moved out of Williamsburg to Richmond, following the flow of western-bound settlers to a more centralized location. At the time there were only 684 people living in the town and Governor Thomas Jefferson and the government had to scramble for rented and temporary quarters. Virginians embraced their new capital, however, and by 1790 the population had swelled to 3,761 and by 1800 had reached 5,730.