Founded in 1737, the city of Richmond has played a vital role in American history. Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775 at Richmond's St. John's Church. And as the capital of the Confederate States of America for a number of years, Richmond anchored the Confederacy and remained a constant target of the Union Army forces.
Today, Richmond-with a population of more than 200,000-remains a central hub of commerce and transportation in the region. It is the state capital of the commonwealth of Virginia.
With a dense population, Richmond has experienced several of the expected problems associated with becoming a growing metropolis, including traffic snarls, a higher-than-average crime rate and a significant amount of urbanization. In recent years, Richmond has launched a "City of the Future" program, investing in community improvements that include new schools, improvements to parks and libraries, infrastructure repairs and downtown renovations.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
From the ashes of the Civil War, Richmond has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse. The city is home to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a Federal Reserve Bank. Richmond is also a hub for advertising agencies and advertising related businesses.
Other leading industries in Richmond, are educational services, healthcare, social assistance, retail, professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste management services.
Seven fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Richmond, including Dominion Resources, CarMax, Performance Food Group, Owens & Minor, Genworth Financial and the former insurance arm of GE. Other fortune 500 companies, which are not headquartered in Richmond but have a prominent presence in the city, include SunTrust Banks Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation and McKesson.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city of Richmond has many distinctive neighborhoods within its limits:
- Stratford Hills and Oxford are two neighborhoods located to the south of the James River, among the hills and tree-lined streets. Stratford Hills is the older of the two communities, with houses closer to the river dating from the 1930s. Oxford is one of the newest neighborhoods in Richmond. The neighborhood contains many ranches and tri-levels, as well as Tudors and Dutch Colonials.
- Huguenot Farms is a neighborhood just south of the James River, and many of its properties offer a beautiful river view. Homes are 2,500 to 3,000 square feet or larger on lots that span a half-acre to an acre and a half.
- The Hobby Hill neighborhood is located just south of Huguenot Farms. The sizes of homes in Hobby Hills range from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet on half-acre lots, and many homes have attached garages.
- Richmond's Southside offers its residents a wealth of natural beauty. Within the Southside, one can find every type of community possible. From the converted warehouses and renovated storefronts, to the sloping lots and gorgeous views, to the brand-new homes being built, there is a wide diversity of communities. The neighborhoods in the Southside include Woodland Heights, Westover Hills, Fawnbrook, Broad Rock, Cherry Gardens Cullenwood and Beaufont Hills.
- Central Richmond is buzzing with urban living. The neighborhoods in the Central area include The Fan, Museum District and Byrd Park & Carillon. The Northside offers an ideal residential environment. The neighborhoods include Ginter Park, Sherwood Park and Bellevue.
- Other prominent neighborhoods in Richmond include Church Hill and Fulton.
Richmond is home to several institutions of higher education:
- Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education
- University of Richmond
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia Union University
- American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar: The complete story of the American Civil War comes alive at this museum. The facility offers a unique approach to telling the story of the great conflict, recounting its bloody history from the perspectives of the Union, Confederate, and African American eyes.
- Byrd Park: Byrd Park is the site of the famous Richmond Carillon, a bell tower that commemorates World War I servicemen.
- Canal Walk: Offering visitors the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, Richmond's Canal Walk offers interpretive markers exploring the history of the canal system, which helped solidify the city's position as a national landmark.
- Hollywood Cemetery: Established in 1847, this well-known cemetery is the resting place of such illustrious American figures as President James Monroe, President John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and George Pickett.
- The Landmark Theater: Originally known as "The Mosque," this 1920s-era entertainment center continues to host famous acts from around the globe.
- Museum of the Confederacy: As befits the former capital of the Confederate States of America, Richmond is the site of the Museum of the Confederacy. The years surrounding the American Civil War are explained and explored at this world-class facility.
- Valentine Richmond History Center: Located in Downtown Richmond, the Valentine Richmond History Center has a mission to "engage, educate and challenge" visitors. A variety of exhibits is permanently and temporarily on display.
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA): The VMFA's expansive collection of art and artifacts spans the course of six millennia. Traveling national and international exhibits regularly visit the VMFA.
- Virginia State Capitol (1788): Designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau, the Virginia State Capitol building is the second-oldest United States statehouse that has been in continuous use since its completion. Neo-classical in design, it is said to have been the inspiration for the architecture of both the White House and the Capitol Building.
- J.E.B. Stuart Monument
- Robert E. Lee Monument
- Jefferson Davis Monument
- Stonewall Jackson Monument
- Matthew F. Maury Monument
- Arthur Ashe Memorial
- Bill "Bojangles" Robinson Monument
- Christopher Columbus Monument
- City Edition
- La Voz Hispana de Virginia
- Richmond Free Press
- Richmond Magazine
- Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Style Weekly
DID YOU KNOW?
- Richmond's nicknames include "River City," "Cap City" and "Capital of the South."
- The city's motto is "Sic Itur Ad Astra," meaning "such is the way to the stars."
- Richmond is the third-largest populated area in the commonwealth of Virginia.
- Richmond became Virginia's capital in 1780.
- Richmond is the spot where Thomas Jefferson wrote the famous Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which granted residents freedom from religious persecution. The Statute is celebrated each January 16th during "National Religious Freedom Day."
- The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, founded in 1903 by Maggie L. Walker, an African American entrepreneur, is America's oldest bank founded by an African American.
- Richmond's WTVR-TV (CBS) was the first television station to air south of Washington, D.C.
- The Richmond-based James River and Kanawha Canal was the first American canal system.
- Richmond's Tredegar Iron Works constructed more than 700 tons of armor plating for the Confederacy's first ironclad warship.
- Famous Richmond residents have included actors Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine, singer Pat Benatar, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and authors Edgar Allan Poe and Tom Wolfe.