Recently, during a cross-country road trip, I decided to explore Richmond, Virginia.
Approaching the city from the south on I-95, I quickly realized that I did not appreciate Richmond’s size. Downtown hosts a healthy number of high-rise buildings and its suburban fringe extends many miles beyond this core. In other words, there was no way I was going to have enough time to see anything beyond a sliver of this city.
I decided to explore an area dubbed the “Canal Walk” located on the edge of downtown. There is a lot to love about the Canal Walk.
Preservation of Historic Infrastructure
The Canal Walk preserved an important element of Richmond’s industrial history – the James River and Kanawha Canal. Before the railroad, canals we’re essential mode of transportation for heavy and bulky materials. Richmond’s canal connected the city to the James River and ultimately to the Atlantic ocean.
The new Canal Walk allows visitors to see how an industrial canal worked within the city. Interpretative signs tell the story of the materials that the canal moved and the people who worked in the area – many of whom were enslaved.