Richmond Part 1- Shockoe What

Before I leave Richmond next week, I think it’s a good idea to write about where I am and have been for the last six months. I should start by saying that this is not my home. I spent most of my life in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. That, however, didn’t sound as catchy as “From Richmond to Rio”. I’m sure I’ll talk more about my Appalachian upbringing later but right now it’s Richmond turn.
The capital of the state of Virginia and at one point in it’s history the capital of the Confederate States of America, Richmond was originally home to a settlement of the Powhatan tribe. The same Powhatan tribe perhaps better know for their activities in Jamestown, VA, their chief (Chief Powhatan), his daughter Pocahontas, her “saving” of John Smith , later marriage to John Rolfe and her Disney reincarnation painting with the colors of the wind. The real life Powhatan settlement located here was sometimes know as Shocquohocan or Shockoe. Several areas in Richmond still have some variation of Shockoe in their name. Two neighborhood examples are Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom. Shockoe Slip and the neighboring/overlapping (several of Richmond’s district boundary lines aren’t clearly defined) Tobacco Row are home to tobacco warehouses that have been renovated and are now shops, restaurants, clubs and apartments/lofts.

On Tobacco Row, the Lucky Strike Complex was originally built in 1910. It was converted into apartments and offices and completed renovation in 2009. The now nonfunctional smokestack, silo and water tower and the Lucky Stripe Indian sit atop of the brick building as a reminder of the past.

Shockoe Slip’s neighboring district, Shockoe Bottom sits alongside the James River. It’s become an entertainment district filled with bars, restaurants and shops. Something I loved when we first drove there is that the streets and the alleyways in the Shockoe districts are cobblestone. It’s bumpy, historic and very loveable.

Shockoe's cobblestone streets

Shamrock The Block! St. Patrick's Day 2011 on the streets of Shockoe Bottom

Speaking of the James River, The River District contains the Canal Walk. It’s a nice little walk along the banks of the James. Every time we went there were some runners, a couple of fishermen and one or two dog walkers. It was never crowded and felt very calming and peaceful.

View of downtown Richmond from the Canal Walk.

Great Shiplock Park

A fisherman calls it a day on the banks of the James River

More about Richmond to come…


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