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Top Tours

 
Richmond's City Center Tour
"Come join us as we explore Richmond’s city center. From the graceful lines of the Capitol square and Jackson Ward's fascinating history to houses of the Fan and Monument Avenue to the exuberance of the VMFA we sample the best of the city center on our 3 hour tour. Includes a snack stop at Sugar and Twine Bakery that is included in the tour price. Tour includes a beautiful view of the River and highlights the best and most interesting architecture and history that Richmond has to offer! There is not better way to experience Richmond than on a bike with us!""""Come explore the history of Richmond at some of its most famous sites
From $40.00
 
Richmond's City Center Tour
"Come join us as we explore Richmond’s city center. From the graceful lines of the Capitol square and Jackson Ward's fascinating history to houses of the Fan and Monument Avenue to the exuberance of the VMFA we sample the best of the city center on our 3 hour tour. Includes a snack stop at Sugar and Twine Bakery that is included in the tour price. Tour includes a beautiful view of the River and highlights the best and most interesting architecture and history that Richmond has to offer! There is not better way to experience Richmond than on a bike with us!""""Come explore the history of Richmond at some of its most famous sites
From $40.00
 
Richmond's City Center Tour
"Come join us as we explore Richmond’s city center. From the graceful lines of the Capitol square and Jackson Ward's fascinating history to houses of the Fan and Monument Avenue to the exuberance of the VMFA we sample the best of the city center on our 3 hour tour. Includes a snack stop at Sugar and Twine Bakery that is included in the tour price. Tour includes a beautiful view of the River and highlights the best and most interesting architecture and history that Richmond has to offer! There is not better way to experience Richmond than on a bike with us!""""Come explore the history of Richmond at some of its most famous sites
From $40.00

History Tips (10)

Virginia Historical Markers

With all of the significant history in Virginia, it is more important than ever to stop and take a minute to read about the way this state and obviously the country was formed. I think the State of Virginia has done an excellent job relaying this history to those who want to read about it in these historical markers.

Throughout the trip around Richmond I had a chance to read a little bit more than the average person!

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ATXtraveler
Jun 09, 2007

Controversial flag?

The Stars and bars flag of the Confederacy was similar to the Stars and Stripes flag of the Union. Thus, the commanders had problems to distinguish their troops from those of the enemy. That's why the different flag was adopted. Thus, it became the most well-known of the Confederate flags: the two crossed bars with the 13 stars (the Southern Cross) like in the included photo taken in the Haversack Store of the Museum of the Confederacy. The flag was called The Confederate Battle Flag. This flag has become the generally recognized symbol of the South.

CONTROVERSIAL FLAG?
I got to know later during my trip that unfortunately Neo-Nazis, racists, skin-heads and the like have adopted this flag and desecrated it by their acts. They have no right to co-opt this flag! Maybe, that's why some Americans feel offended looking at this flag. The confederate flag also symbolizes slavery to Black community of the USA even now. In reality, it is a flag of honor, designed by the Confederacy as a banner representing state's rights and Southern culture. It is still displayed in the South. I saw this flag put in front of right many houses throughout the South during my trip.

Later on during my trip, I met a young guy in a T-shirt with this flag on its front and writing on the back:: "If this flag offends you that means you need a history lesson". Enough said...

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matcrazy1
Apr 04, 2011

The capital, but not the largest city

Richmond is the capital city of Virginia. So, I expected to see busy and crowded downtown with traffic jams, a shortage of parking slots, expensive parking, numerous skyscrapers in large business district etc.

Haha, I was wrong. Luckily downtown Richmond looked quite different. I saw streets which were nearly empty, green space, lots of free parking slots at the end of the working day. Look at my picture taken at West Franklin Street close to Jefferson Hotel at the edge of the downtown area to see what I mean. Then I got to know that Richmond is not that large city with population of only about 200,000. Did you know Richmond is surpassed in population by the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and now even Chesapeake?

Well, during my Southern Odyssey I discovered again and again that the state capital cities were often not the largest cities in each state. What a difference with most European countries where the capital cities are almost always the largest cities.

How could that be in the USA? Here are a few random thoughts:

1. Maybe the state capitals didn't grow since they were founded so fast (as in Europe and as other cities in a state) because they were simply too expensive for many companies and individuals.

2. Maybe many companies in Europe preferred and still prefer to be closer to government leadership in the capital city. Why is that? One major reason is that European economic systems are still obviously more centralized.

3. European capitals are older and had more time to grow and grow. Thus, they didn't divide into as many individual cities.

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matcrazy1
Nov 17, 2004

Do not move it, please!

The Museum of the Confederacy (modern building and old White House of the Confederacy) is located at the heart of Richmond's downtown, in the shadow of tall and modern building of Virginia Commenwealth University (VCU) Medical Center (on my picture).

The Museum announced recently that it might move out the downtown area because the hospital could expand. That got local attention. I can't believe it. I am sure that local community will never allow anyone to move jewels and must see activities out of downtown. Well, later on during my trip I saw some houses (mainly old, wooden cabin logs) moved from their original locations to... touristy downtowns of cities, but never in the opposite direction. My opinion is: Do not move it, please!

Click onto the link below, please.

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matcrazy1
Apr 04, 2011
 
 
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Difficult history, different views

My first meeting with history of the Civil War took place just in Richmond, when I visited the Museum and the White House of the Confederacy.

I noticed very fast that this difficult period in American history is still described and judged in many ways by Americans, often in different way than official historical sources. I found it very interesting. Later on I noticed that especially folks who lived for years in the South have different opinion than I could find in books.

Let me share some differences and ask some questions with no simple replies.

Was it really civil war?
Many folks, I was talking to in the South, undermined the official name of this war. They called it either the War Between the States or sometimes the War of Northern Aggression. Well, civil war is by definition a war fought by different groups of people living in THE SAME country (like the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939). Indeed, the war 1861-1865 was a war between two independent states: old Union (the United States of America = the North) and new Confederacy (The Confederate States of America = the South) which had own government, had a foreign policy, sent ambassadors (Great Britain was one country which recognised the Confederate States of America).


Opposite opinion:
I cannot agree on the thought that the civil war was not really a civil war but a war between countries. According to the constitution of the United States the Southern States had no right for secession.

My reply:
I checked text of the US Constitution from 1860 and it didn't expressly lay out any guidelines for secession. Thus, I think, there is nothing in it to prohibit secession. A union is, by definition, always voluntary - the act of choice and a free association. Am I wrong?

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matcrazy1
Feb 26, 2005

Slavery or cotton trade?

As I already stated I was told different opinions and views on the Civil War.

One of my basic questions was: why did southern states secede from the Union? Was slavery the reason?
Official history books usually cite slavery as the cause for the secession and war. President Abraham Lincoln was chosen in November 1860 and he wanted to ban slavery wheras the southern states wanted to keep it.

I was told in the South that slavery was a factor in the War Between the States, but it was a secondary factor. Slavery was getting to be cost prohibitive. The advent of the cotton gin made picking cotton more efficient without having to pay for the upkeep of the slaves. Even if the slaves didn't earn money, plantation owners had to pay to keep them in working order. Even if the South won the war, slavery would have probably disappeared before 1900.

The real reason of the secession was really the cotton trade. Because of soil and climate, cotton would only grow in the South. Because many of the congressmen were from the North, they made U.S. trade policy with other countries (as it relates to cotton exports) that put the cotton farmers at a distinct disadvantage. The South took that for a number of years and decided in 1861 they were not going to take it anymore so, one by one, the Southern states began to secede from the Union. Slavery was used as the rallying cry up North because most Americans, both up North and down South, were illiterate in the 1860s. Whereas most couldn't get their arms around the finer points of the cotton trade, they could understand slavery. It's just an opinion, but one that makes sense when you set aside the emotion of the debate.

Read the speeches to Georgia legislature of:
- Alexander H. Stephens, future Confederate Vice-President here
- Robert Toombs, future Confederate Secretary of State here.

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matcrazy1
Nov 20, 2004

Stars and bars and the South

This flag on my picture was put just by the entrance to the Museum of the Confederacy and is commonly known as the "STARS AND BARS".

The flag contained 13 five pointed stars. Each star symbolized one state admitted to the Confederacy:
- Virginia,
- North Carolina,
- South Carolina,
- Georgia,
- Florida,
- Albama,
- Mississippi,
- Louisiana,
- Texas,
- Tennessee,
- Kentucky,
- Missouri,
- Arkansas.
These states are called the South now. Map here

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matcrazy1
Nov 18, 2004

Sense of history

Do not criticise the sense of history displayed by Richmond and the folks who live here. It is not that we are backward-looking, we are proud that so much American history took place within spitting distance of here.

Not only that, in Richmond, old institutions die harder than almost anywhere else. This may confuse the come-heres (folks who move here from elsewhere), old timers (not just those well along in age, but younger folks like me who grew up on the older names) still refer to what is now Fairfield Commons to its former name Eastgate Mall. The same is true for sport stadiums. We still refer to The Diamond as Parker Field. That even extends to airports Richmond International Airport is still commonly referred to as Byrd Field. More than five years out from its demolition, folks still mourn for Azalea Mall, and every now and then there is still nostalgia for the colour-coded CNB weather signage.

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b1bob
Mar 20, 2004

Top 5 Richmond Writers

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b1bob

"Richmond, VA"
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matcrazy1

"PAGE DEDICATED TO NAT (b1bob on VT)"
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doug48

"richmond, virginia"
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Hopkid

"Revolutionary and Civil War History"
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gipper84

"Richmond (A city of diverse history)"
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History is important to any...

History is important to any understanding of Richmond, but Richmonders are also determined to look beyond its history. That said, the number one thing not to discuss with a Richmonder is not the Civil War or slavery. It's tobacco. You see, Richmond is the world headquarters of Philip Morris, the world's largest maker of tobacco products. It's kind of a sticky subject.

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DrewV
Aug 24, 2002

The "Gateway to the South"

Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. One must remember this when they visit Richmond for the first time. Southern pride feelings still run deep in this city. It also provides good learning experiences. The White house of the confederacy is located next to the MCV campus and was the home of Jefferson Davis. Along with the white house is the museum of the confederacy. Just down the road is Hollywood Cemetery. Here, four presidents are burried. It is known for it's unusually artistic grave stones and number of confederate soldiers and officers burried here. It is sometimes refered to as "the arlington of the south"

wewetsel
Jun 04, 2004

Things to Do Near Richmond

Things to Do

Science Museum of Virginia

Science exhibits and an Omnimax theater now occupy the old RF & P Railroad Broad Street Station. It was designed by the same guy who designed the Jefferson Memorial built right after World War 1. Most...
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Things to Do

Children's Museum

Some people say that it is expensive to get into the museum($7 a person) but when you consider all you can do it is very cheap. Kids can do anything from climb in a interactive mouth to being...
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Things to Do

Virginia Historical Society

The Virginia Historical Society has existed since 1811 and remains to this day a repository, a research, and teaching centre for Virginia History. It is supported almost fully by private...
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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

the virginia museum of fine art has an excellent collection of classical american and european sculpture and paintings as well as collections of african, asian, and precolumbian art. the museum hosts...
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Hollywood Cemetery

The beautiful, serene landscape makes this cemetery one of Richmond’s most visited places. The setting is so beautiful that if somebody had not started burying people there when they did, it might...
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Things to Do

Maggie Walker House

Maggie Walker was definitely a pioneer. Not the sort of pioneer that took a covered wagon out into the wild in search for gold or farming land, but a pioneer in the history of civil rights and...
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