Canal Walk Trail video from Richmond Downtown to Maymont

I found a nice video online of someone jogging from downtown Richmond up to Maymont  Park. The video is a little choppy but it’s worth taking a look at. Enjoy.


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    VC&NS “Home Fund” Established

    After 35 successful years as a nonprofit organization researching, educating, and advocating for Virginia canals, batteaux and other historic watercraft, the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society is ready to settle down and display Virginia’s rich cultural waterway heritage. As the only nonprofit organization in Virginia specializing specifically in the historic river highways that helped found our great nation,  (a once forgotten segment of history), VC&NS is uniquely positioned to create a museum of cultural waterway heritage of commonwealth and national interest. Throughout our 35 years, members have been collecting archives, artifacts and memorabilia of canal and river heritage and building navigable reproductions. It’s time to gather and share them with the public while also creating a much overdue VC&NS work place.

    The VC&NS Board of Governors at their December 1, 2012 meeting launched a fund drive for the purpose of establishing a VC&NS home with space for meetings, workshops, archives, library and museum.  We have begun the work of creating a funding plan, and needs assessment and exploring location possibilities.  Already we are receiving offers from communities that are interested in working with us! If you would like to assist our “Home” committee, please contact Ellen Neal, (434) 263-4745 or Philip deVos, (434) 299-5249.

    All donations to this temporarily restricted fund will be set aside for the express purpose of establishing a VC&NS home and if no home is established by December 1, 2017 (5 years from establishment date) then the VC&NS board of governors reserves the right to reevaluate and possibly reallocate the money towards the VC&NS general fund.

    Donate now to help VC&NS establish our “Home”. VC&NS is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Your donation to this fund is 100% tax deductible.

    Please send donations via usps to: VC&NS, c/o “Home Fund”, PO Box 62, Covesville, VA 22931-0062. Please write “Home Fund” on the for line of your check. You will be mailed a receipt for your tax deductible donation.

    We appreciate your donation via check as that saves us transactions fees that are charged by PayPal. However, if you would like to donate and use your credit card, we accept donations via PayPal. You can use your credit card or PayPal account. Select the “Donate Now” button below. Thank you.

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      Inland Waterways International supports canal in Richmond

      To all those interested in the future of Richmond’s historic canal:

      The attached letter is from Mr. D.J. Ballinger, president of the international canal organization Inland Waterways International, containing a resolution of support for the preservation and wise use of the remains of the James River & Kanawha Canal in Richmond. Originally known as the James River Canal, it was the first operating canal system with locks in America. It first opened in 1789 and was completed into the Great Basin in 1800. The canal company elected George Washington as its honorary president and gave him a grand tour in 1791. Today, much of the canal is still intact in Richmond.

      The resolution was passed at the annual World Canals Conference, held this year in Yangzhou, China, on China’s Grand Canal. For 25 years these conferences have been held annually in America or Europe, and now, for the first time, in the far east. This one was held in conjunction with the Sixth World Canal Cities Expo, which has been held annually in Yangzhou. The Chinese are making the most of their canal heritage. Communities along its length are working together to nominate the Grand Canal as a World Heritage Site, and are using it to create beautiful parks and waterways much beloved by both tourists and those who live there. Efforts like this are going on all over the world.

      Richmond rightly prides itself as a River Town and has learned much from other river cities. But Richmond is also a Canal City. The technology and philosophy of canal park development is not the same as river park development. We need to work not only with other river cities, but with other canal cities and canal parks to learn how we can put our historic canal to its best use for our city. The sweep of the canal around Oregon Hill is in danger and needs our help.

      Bill Trout

      Letter supporting the canal in Richmond, VA from Inland Waterways International.


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        Richmond’s History along the canal also had a narrow gauge railroad.

        Another aspect of the historical significance of the site of Venture Richmond’s proposed amphitheater is the narrow gauge railroad tracks that are on the towpath of the south bank of the canal.  This railroad track probably connected Tredegar Iron Works with the iron works on Belle Isle.  The stone pillars and one section of trestle for this railroad line still survive in the James River.  Since this the site of the proposed amphitheater was formerly part of the Tredegar Iron Works grounds, it is very likely that these railroad tracks were actually manufactured at Tredegar Iron Works, and they may be among the few surviving tracks made at this foundry.
        These railroad tracks would have to be the first thing removed if the south bank of the canal were sliced as proposed by Venture Richmond, not only irreparably damaging the historic canal but this authentic Tredegar history as well.
        Submitted by Charles Pool
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          Posted in Canal in Danger, James River & Kanawha Canal, Narrow Gauge Railroad, Richmond, Richmond, Save our Canal!, Virginia | Leave a comment

          Richmond, VA’s TV Channel 8 coverage of canal wall demolition.

          The Channel 8 reporter is interested in getting to the bottom of the demolition of the 150 feet of canal wall on city property.  She has done three stories so far.  Jennifer had some excellent quotes.
          The reporter got the contractor for the 2nd St. Connector project to show her the plans for the project.  I did a screen save from the footage that shows 28 feet to be demolished on Venture Richmond property (see attachment below),
          yet Venture Richmond claims that they had no knowledge of any wall being removed on their property.   The Liesfeld Contractor claims that the 150 feet of city owned wall somehow “collapsed” when they were removing the 28 feet of wall, although this is certainly not true since I witnessed them demolishing the wall with a “bobcat” bulldozer.  The scene was obviously  inconsistent with the wall collapsing; instead of large chunks of wall that had fallen over, there were only individual bricks, many of which had been broken by the bulldozer.  They were already at work on putting the bricks that did not belong to them on pallets.
          This raises several questions:
           Who asked for this 28 feet of wall demolition — about 200 feet from the 2nd St. Connector — to be added to the work plan of the 2nd Street Connector?
          Who hired Liesfeld?  (Wouldn’t it be simple for the police or Commonwealth Attorney to ask for a copy of the demo contract?)
          If NewMarket hired Liesfeld (as the contractor reported to the Times Dispatch), why was NewMarket hiring a contractor to work on the 2nd Street Connector project when Dominion is overseeing this project?
          NewMarket was cited by the city for demolishing another portion of the same wall up to 28 feet from the city property line last year without a permit.  Did they come back to finish the job?  Did Liesfeld do that demolition work for NewMarket last year?
          Was the demolition part of the effort to improve the sight lines for Venture Richmond’s amphitheater?
          Will anyone be held accountable for this demolition?  Will those responsible be required to pay for the wall’s reconstruction?
          Is this just the first step in the further damage of the south bank of the canal for Venture Richmond’s amphitheater?
          Charles Pool
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            OHNA calls for investigation into the destruction of canal property

            Richmond, VA: The Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association (OHNA) acknowledges to Venture Richmond that OHNA made an incorrect assumption that Venture Richmond would be aware of bulldozers and construction crews operating on their own property, and therefore made the erroneous statement that Venture Richmond was responsible for the recent damage to the historic wall and canal.
            According to an article that appeared in the October 20, 2012 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch, “William Roberts, a project manager for J.A. Liesfeld, a Rockville-based contractor, acknowledged the firm was hired by NewMarket Corp. to tear down the wall but would not discuss the project.”
            The Richmond Times Dispatch, in October 2011, reported that NewMarket destroyed another large section of the pre-Civil War Tredegar wall, only obtaining the required permit after the fact.–ar-1365435/
            Last Tuesday, 150 feet of brick wall constructed before the Civil War was demolished by a construction crew operating on Venture Richmond property.
            “We request an investigation of whatever entity was responsible for the destruction of this historic property,” said Jennifer Hancock, OHNA President. “Whoever demolished this wall should be required to rebuild the wall.”

            The James River and Kanawha Canal was built over 200 years ago largely with slave labor when George Washington was president of the canal society. The Oregon Hill neighborhood has many connections with the rich history of the canal.

            Charles Pool
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