Richmond is at the fall line
of the James River
, 44 miles (71 km) west of Williamsburg
, 66 miles (106 km) east of Charlottesville
, 91 miles (146 km) east of Lynchburg
and 92 miles (148 km) south of Washington, D.C.
Surrounded by Henrico
counties, the city is at the intersections of Interstate 95
and Interstate 64
and encircled by Interstate 295
, Virginia State Route 150
and Virginia State Route 288
. Major suburbs include Midlothian
to the southwest, Chesterfield
to the south, Varina
to the southeast, Sandston
to the east, Glen Allen
to the north and west, Short Pump
to the west and Mechanicsville
to the northeast.
Richmond's economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government, with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as notable legal and banking firms in the downtown area
. The city is home to both a U.S. Court of Appeals
, one of 13 such courts
, and a Federal Reserve Bank
, one of 12 such banks
. Dominion Energy
, Fortune 500
companies, are headquartered in the city, with others in the metropolitan area.
In 1737 planter William Byrd II
commissioned Major William Mayo
to lay out the original town grid. Byrd named the city after the English town of Richmond
near (and now part of) London, because the view of the bend in the James River at the fall line was similar to the view of the River Thames
from Richmond Hill
in England (which was in turn named after Henry VII
's ancestral town of Richmond, North Yorkshire
), where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April 1737 and incorporated as a town in 1742.
In 1775 Patrick Henry
delivered his famous "Give me liberty, or give me death
" speech in St. John's Church
in Richmond, crucial for deciding Virginia's participation in the First Continental Congress
and setting the course for revolution and independence.
On April 18, 1780, the state capital was moved from the colonial capital of Williamsburg
to Richmond, to provide a more centralized location for Virginia's increasing westerly population, as well as to isolate the capital from British attack.
The latter motive proved to be in vain, and in 1781, under the command of Benedict Arnold
, Richmond was burned by British troops, causing Governor Thomas Jefferson
to flee as the Virginia militia, led by Sampson Mathews
, defended the city.
Early United States
After the American Revolutionary War
(1775–1783), Richmond emerged as an important industrial center. To facilitate the transfer of cargo from the flat-bottomed James River bateaux
above the fall line to the ocean-faring ships below, George Washington
helped design the James River and Kanawha Canal
east to Richmond, to bypass Richmond's rapids on the upper James River with the intent of providing a water route across the Appalachian Mountains
to the Kanawha River
flowing westward into the Ohio
then eventually to the Mississippi River
. The legacy of the canal boatmen is represented by the figure in the center of the city flag. As a result of this and ample access to hydropower
due to the falls, Richmond became home to some of the country's largest manufacturing facilities, including iron works and flour mills, the largest of their kind in the South
. The resistance to the slave trade was growing by the mid-19th century; in one famous 1848 case, Henry "Box" Brown
made history by having himself nailed into a small box and shipped from Richmond through Baltimore
's President Street Station
northward on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
(a well-used "Underground Railroad
" route for escaping disguised slaves) to abolitionists in Philadelphia
, in the free state of Pennsylvania
, escaping slavery.
By 1850 Richmond was connected by the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad
to Port Walthall
, where ships carrying over 200 tons of cargo could connect to Baltimore
and passenger liners could reach Norfolk, Virginia
through the Hampton Roads
In the 19th century Richmond was connected to the North by the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad
, which was later replaced by CSXT
On April 17, 1861, five days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter
, the state legislature voted to secede from the United States
and join the newly organized Confederate States of America
. Official action came in May, after the Confederacy promised to move its national capital to Richmond from its provisional home in Montgomery, Alabama
. The city was at the end of a long supply line, which made it difficult to defend, requiring the bulk of the Army of Northern Virginia
and arguably the Confederacy's best troops and commanders.
It became the main target of Union armies, especially in the campaigns of 1862 and 1864–65.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Three years later, in March 1865, Richmond became indefensible after nearby Petersburg
and several remaining rail supply lines to the south and southwest were broken. On March 25 Confederate General John B. Gordon
's desperate attack on Fort Stedman
east of Petersburg failed. On April 1 Federal Cavalry General Philip Sheridan
, assigned to interdict the Southside Railroad, met brigades commanded by Southern General George Pickett
at the Five Forks
junction, smashing them, taking thousands of prisoners, and encouraging Union General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant
to order a general advance. When the Union Sixth Corps broke through Confederate lines on the Boydton Plank Road south of Petersburg, Confederate casualties exceeded 5,000, about a tenth of Lee's defending army. Lee then informed President Jefferson Davis
that he was about to evacuate Richmond.
The White House of the Confederacy
On April 2, 1865 the Confederate Army began their evacuation of Richmond. Davis and his cabinet, along with the government archives and Treasury gold, left the city by train that night, as government officials burned documents and departing Confederate troops burned tobacco and other warehouses to deny their contents to the victors. In the early a.m. of the following day, Confederate troops exploded the gun powder magazine, resulting in the death of several paupers residing in the temporary Almshouse.
It was on April 3, 1865, General Godfrey Weitzel
, commander of the 25th Corps of the United States Colored Troops
, accepted the city's surrender from the mayor and a group of leading citizens who remained.
The Union troops eventually stopped the raging fires but about 25% of the city's buildings were destroyed.
President Abraham Lincoln
visited Grant at Petersburg on April 3, and took a launch to Richmond up the James River
the next day, while Davis attempted to organize his remaining Confederate government further southwest at Danville
. Lincoln met Confederate assistant secretary of War John A. Campbell
, and handed him a note inviting Virginia's state legislature to end their rebellion. After Campbell spun the note to Confederate legislators as a possible end to the Emancipation Proclamation
, Lincoln rescinded his offer and ordered Weitzel to prevent the former Confederate state legislature from meeting. Union forces killed, wounded or captured 8,000 Confederate troops at Sayler's Creek
southwest of Petersburg on April 6, as the Southerners continued a general retreat southwestward. Lee continued to reject Grant's surrender suggestions until Sheridan's infantry and cavalry moved around the shrinking Army of Northern Virginia
and appeared in front of his withdrawing forces on April 8, cutting off the line of further retreat southwest. He surrendered his remaining approximately 10,000 troops at Appomattox Court House
, meeting Grant the following morning at the McLean Home.
Davis was captured on May 10 near Irwinville, Georgia
and taken back to Virginia, where he was imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe
until freed on bail.
Richmond emerged a decade after the smoldering rubble of the Civil War to resume its position as an economic powerhouse, with iron front buildings and massive brick factories. Canal traffic peaked in the 1860s and slowly gave way to railroads, allowing Richmond to become a major railroad crossroads,
eventually including the site of the world's first triple railroad crossing. Tobacco warehousing and processing continued to play a role, boosted by the world's first cigarette-rolling machine, invented by James Albert Bonsack
in 1880/81. Contributing to Richmond's resurgence was the country's first successful electrically powered trolley
system, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway
. Designed by electric power pioneer Frank J. Sprague
, the system opened its first line in 1888, and electric streetcar lines rapidly spread to other cities.
Sprague's system used an overhead wire and trolley pole to collect current, with electric motors on the car's trucks.
Transition from streetcars to buses began in May 1947 and was completed on November 25, 1949.
Retreating Confederates burned one-fourth of Richmond in April 1865.
By the early 20th century Richmond had an extensive network of electric streetcars, as shown here crossing the Mayo Bridge across the James River, c. 1917.
By the beginning of the 20th century the city's population had reached 85,050 in 5 square miles (13 km2
), making it the most densely populated city in the Southern United States
In 1900 the Census Bureau reported Richmond's population as 62.1% white and 37.9% black.
Freed slaves and their descendants created a thriving African-American business community, and the city's historic Jackson Ward
became known as the "Wall Street of Black America". In 1903 African-American businesswoman and financier Maggie L. Walker
chartered St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and served as its first president. She was the first female bank president in the United States. Today the bank is called the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company and is the country's oldest surviving African-American bank.
Other figures from this time included John Mitchell Jr.
In 1910 the former city of Manchester
consolidated with Richmond, and in 1914 the city annexed Barton Heights, Ginter Park, and Highland Park in Henrico County
In May 1914 Richmond became the headquarters of the Fifth District of the Federal Reserve Bank
Several major performing arts venues were constructed during the 1920s, including what are now the Landmark Theatre, Byrd Theatre, and Carpenter Theatre. The city's first radio station, WRVA
, began broadcasting in 1925. WTVR-TV
(CBS 6), Richmond's first television station, was the first TV station south of Washington, D.C.
Between 1963 and 1965 there was a "downtown boom" that led to the construction of more than 700 buildings. In 1968 Virginia Commonwealth University
was created by the merger of the Medical College of Virginia
with the Richmond Professional Institute
In 1970 Richmond's borders expanded by an additional 27 square miles (70 km2
) on the south. After several years of court cases in which Chesterfield County
fought annexation, more than 47,000 former Chesterfield County residents found themselves within the city's perimeters on January 1, 1970.
In 1996 still-sore tensions arose amid controversy involved in adding a statue of African American Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe
to the series of statues of Confederate generals on Monument Avenue
After several months of controversy Ashe's bronze statue was finally completed, facing the opposite direction from the Confederate generals, on July 10, 1996.
A multimillion-dollar flood wall was completed in 1995 to protect low-lying areas of city from the oft-rising James River. As a result, the River District businesses grew rapidly, and today the area is home to much of Richmond's entertainment, dining and nightlife activity, bolstered by the creation of a Canal Walk along the city's former industrial canals.
Geography and climate
The Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area
(MSA), the 44th largest
in the United States, includes the independent cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights
, and Petersburg
, as well as the counties of Charles City
, New Kent
, and Prince George
As of July 1, 2009 the Richmond—Petersburg MSA
's population was 1,258,251.
Richmond's original street grid, laid out in 1737, included the area between what are now Broad, 17th, and 25th Streets and the James River. Modern Downtown Richmond
is slightly farther west, on the slopes of Shockoe Hill. Nearby neighborhoods include Shockoe Bottom
, the historically significant and low-lying area between Shockoe Hill and Church Hill
, and Monroe Ward, which contains the Jefferson Hotel
. Richmond's East End includes neighborhoods like rapidly gentrifying Church Hill
, home to St. John's Church
, as well as poorer areas like Fulton
, Union Hill, and Fairmont, and public housing projects like Mosby Court
, Whitcomb Court, Fairfield Court, and Creighton Court closer to Interstate 64
The area between Belvidere Street, Interstate 195
, Interstate 95
, and the river, which includes Virginia Commonwealth University
, is socioeconomically and architecturally diverse. North of Broad Street, the Carver and Newtowne West neighborhoods are demographically similar to neighboring Jackson Ward
, with Carver experiencing some gentrification due to its proximity to VCU. The affluent area between the Boulevard
, Main Street, Broad Street, and VCU, known as the Fan
, is home to Monument Avenue
, an outstanding collection of Victorian architecture
, and many students. West of the Boulevard is the Museum District, which contains the Virginia Historical Society
and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
. South of the Downtown Expressway
are Byrd Park
, Hollywood Cemetery
, the predominantly black working-class Randolph neighborhood, and white working-class Oregon Hill
. Cary Street between Interstate 195 and the Boulevard
is a popular commercial area called Carytown
View of the Carillon from across the James River
Richmond's Northside is home to numerous listed historic districts.
Neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill-Plateau
and Barton Heights began to develop at the end of the 19th century when the new streetcar system made it possible for people to live on the outskirts of town and still commute to jobs downtown. Other prominent Northside neighborhoods include Azalea, Barton Heights, Bellevue, Chamberlayne, Ginter Park, Highland Park, and Rosedale.
Farther west is the affluent, suburban West End
. Windsor Farms is among its best-known sections. The West End also includes middle- to low-income neighborhoods such as Laurel, Farmington and the areas surrounding the Regency Mall. More affluent areas include Glen Allen, Short Pump, and the areas of Tuckahoe away from Regency Mall, all north and northwest of the city. The University of Richmond
and the Country Club of Virginia are located on this side of town near the Richmond-Henrico border.
The portion of the city south of the James River is known as the Southside. Southside neighborhoods range from the affluent and middle-class suburban Westover Hills, Forest Hill, Southampton, Stratford Hills, Oxford, Huguenot Hills, Hobby Hill, and Woodland Heights to the impoverished Manchester
and Blackwell areas, the Hillside Court housing projects, and the ailing Jefferson Davis Highway commercial corridor. Other Southside neighborhoods include Fawnbrook, Broad Rock, Cherry Gardens, Cullenwood, and Beaufont Hills. Much of Southside developed a suburban character as part of Chesterfield County
before being annexed by Richmond, most notably in 1970.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Richmond has a humid subtropical climate
), with hot, humid summers and moderately cold winters.
The Trewartha classification
defines Richmond as Temperate Oceanic Climate due to winter chill. The mountains to the west
act as a partial barrier to outbreaks of cold, continental air in winter; Arctic air is delayed long enough to be modified, then further warmed as it subsides in its approach to Richmond. The open waters of the Chesapeake Bay
and Atlantic Ocean contribute to the humid summers and cool winters. The coldest weather normally occurs from late December to early February, and the January daily mean temperature is 37.9 °F (3.3 °C), with an average of 6.0 days with highs at or below the freezing mark.
Richmond's Downtown and areas south and east of downtown are in USDA Hardiness zones
7b. Surrounding suburbs and areas to the north and west of Downtown are in Hardiness Zone 7a.
Temperatures seldom fall below 0 °F (−18 °C), with the most recent subzero reading on January 7, 2018, when the temperature reached −3 °F (−19 °C).
The July daily mean temperature is 79.3 °F (26.3 °C), and high temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) approximately 43 days a year; 100 °F (38 °C) temperatures are not uncommon but do not occur every year.
Extremes in temperature have ranged from −12 °F (−24 °C) on January 19, 1940, up to 107 °F (42 °C) on August 6, 1918.[a]
The record cold maximum is 11 °F (−12 °C), set on February 11 and 12, 1899
. The record warm minimum is 81 °F (27 °C), set on July 12, 2011.
is rather uniformly distributed throughout the year. Dry periods lasting several weeks sometimes occur, especially in autumn, when long periods of pleasant, mild weather are most common. There is considerable variability in total monthly amounts from year to year so that no one month can be depended upon to be normal. Snow has been recorded during seven of the 12 months. Falls of 4 inches (10 cm) or more within 24 hours occur once a year on average.
Annual snowfall is usually moderate, averaging 10.5 inches (27 cm) per season.
Snow typically remains on the ground for only one or two days, but remained for 16 days in 2010 (January 30 to February 14). Ice storms (freezing rain or glaze) are not uncommon, but are seldom severe enough to do considerable damage.
The James River
reaches tidewater at Richmond, where flooding may occur in any month of the year, most frequently in March and least in July. Hurricanes
and tropical storms
have been responsible for most of the flooding during the summer and early fall months. Hurricanes passing near Richmond have produced record rainfalls. In 1955, three hurricanes brought record rainfall to Richmond within a six-week period. The most noteworthy were Hurricane Connie
and Hurricane Diane
, which brought heavy rains five days apart. In 2004, the downtown area suffered extensive flood damage after the remnants of Hurricane Gaston
dumped up to 12 inches (300 mm) of rain.
Damaging storms occur mainly from snow and freezing rain
in winter, and from hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms in other seasons. Damage may be from wind, flooding, rain, or any combination of these. Tornadoes
are infrequent but some notable ones have been observed in the Richmond area.
Downtown Richmond averages 84 days of nighttime frost annually. Nighttime frost is more common in areas north and west of Downtown and less common south and east of downtown.
From 1981 to 2010 the average first temperature at or below freezing was on October 30 and the average last one on April 10.
Map of racial distribution in Richmond, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
As of the census
of 2000, there were 197,790 people, 84,549 households, and 43,627 families living in the city. The population density was 3,292.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,271.3/km2
). There were 92,282 housing units at an average density of 1,536.2 per square mile (593.1/km2
). The racial makeup of the city was 57.2% African American
, 38.3% White
, 0.2% Native American
, 1.3% Asian
, 0.1% Pacific Islander
, 1.5% from other races
, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 2.6% of the population.
There were 84,549 households, out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.1% were married couples living together, 20.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 21.8% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,121, and the median income for a family was $38,348. Males had a median income of $30,874 versus $25,880 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 17.1% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Richmond experienced a spike in overall crime, in particular, the city's murder rate
. The city had 93 murders for the year of 1985, with a murder rate of 41.9 killings committed per 100,000 residents. Over the next decade, the city saw a major increase in total homicides
. In 1990 there were 114 murders, for a murder rate of 56.1 killings per 100,000 residents. There were 120 murders in 1995, resulting in a murder rate of 59.1 killings per 100,000 residents, one of the highest in the United States.
In 2004, Morgan Quitno Press
ranked Richmond as the ninth (out of 354) most dangerous city in the United States
In 2005, Richmond was ranked as the fifth most dangerous city overall and the 12th most dangerous metropolitan area
in the United States.
The following year, Richmond saw a decline in crime, ranking as the 15th most dangerous city in the United States. By 2008, Richmond's position on the list had fallen to 49th.
By 2012, Richmond was no longer in the 'top' 200.
Richmond's rate of major crime, including violent and property crimes, decreased 47 percent between 2004 and 2009 to its lowest level in more than a quarter of a century.
Various forms of crime tend to be declining, yet remaining above state and national averages.
In 2008, the city had recorded the lowest homicide rate since 1971.
In recent years, as in many other American cities, Richmond has witnessed a rise in homicides. The Richmond Times-Dispatch
reported 61 murders in Richmond in 2016, marking it "the city's deadliest year in a decade".
Richmond has several historic churches. Because of its early English colonial history from the early 17th century to 1776, Richmond has a number of prominent Anglican/Episcopal churches including Monumental Church
, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
and St. John's Episcopal Church
. Methodists and Baptists made up another section of early churches, and First Baptist Church of Richmond
was the first of these, established in 1780. In the Reformed church
tradition, the first Presbyterian Church in the City of Richmond was First Presbyterian Church, organized on June 18, 1812. On February 5, 1845, Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond
was founded, which was a historic church where Stonewall Jackson
attended and was the first Gothic
building and the first gas-lit
church to be built in Richmond. St. Peter's Church
was dedicated and became the first Catholic church in Richmond on May 25, 1834.
The city is also home to the historic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
which is the mother church
for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond
The first Jewish congregation
in Richmond was Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom. Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom was the sixth congregation in the United States. By 1822 K.K. Beth Shalom members worshipped in the first synagogue building in Virginia. They eventually merged with Congregation Beth Ahabah
, an offshoot of Beth Shalom. There are two Orthodox Synagogues, Keneseth Beth Israel and Chabad of Virginia.
There is an Orthodox Yeshivah
K–12 school system known as Rudlin Torah academy, which also includes a post high-school program. There are two Conservative synagogues, Beth El and Or Atid. There are two Reform synagogues, Beth Ahabah and Or Ami. Along with such religious congregations, there are a variety of other Jewish charitable, educational and social service institutions, each serving the Jewish and general communities. These include the Weinstein Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and Richmond Jewish Foundation
Due to the influx of German immigrants
in the 1840s, St. John's German Evangelical church
was formed in 1843. Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral held its first worship service in a rented room at 309 North 7th Street in 1917. The cathedral relocated to 30 Malvern Avenue in 1960 and is noted as one of two Eastern Orthodox churches in Richmond and home to the annual Richmond Greek Festival.
There are seven current masjids
in the Greater Richmond area, with three more currently in construction,
accommodating the growing Muslim population, the first one being Masjid Bilal.
In the 1950s, Muslims from the East End got organized under Nation of Islam (NOI). They used to meet in Temple #24 located on North Avenue. After the NOI split in 1975, the Muslims who joined mainstream Islam, start meeting at Shabaaz Restaurant on Nine Mile Road. By 1976, the Muslims used to meet in a rented church. They tried to buy this church, but due to financial difficulties the Muslims instead bought an old grocery store at Chimbarazoo Boulevard, the present location of Masjid Bilal. Initially, the place was called "Masjid Muhammad #24". Only by 1990 did the Muslims renamed it to "Masjid Bilal". Masjid Bilal was followed by the Islamic Center of Virginia, ICVA
masjid. The ICVA was established in 1973 as a non profit tax exempt organization. With aggressive fundraising, ICVA was able to buy land on Buford road. Construction of the new masjid began in the early 1980s. The rest of the five current masjids in the Richmond area are Islamic Center of Richmond (ICR)
in the west end, Masjid Umm Barakah
on 2nd street downtown, Islamic Society of Greater Richmond (ISGR)
in the west end, Masjidullah
in the north side, and Masjid Ar-Rahman
in the east end.
is actively practiced, particularly in suburban areas of Henrico and Chesterfield. Some 6,000 families of Indian descent resided in the Richmond Region as of 2011. Hindus are served by several temples and cultural centers. The two most familiar are the Cultural Center of India (CCI) located off of Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield County and the Hindu Center of Virginia in Henrico County which has garnered national fame and awards for being the first LEED certified
religious facility in the commonwealth.
Bishops that sit in Richmond include those of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the denomination's largest); the Richmond Area of the United Methodist Church (Virginia Annual Conference), the nation's second-largest and one of the oldest. The Presbytery of the James—Presbyterian Church (USA) – also is based in the Richmond area.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
has three stakes in the greater Richmond area (a stake is an organizational unit that is made up of multiple congregations. As of December 31, 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 95,379 members in 200 congregations within 22 stakes across the state of Virginia
In April 2018, church president Russell M. Nelson
announced a new temple
to be built in Virginia. The first temple of the church to be built in the state, the temple is located in Glen Allen, Virginia, a northwest suburb of Richmond.
Richmond tobacco warehouse c. 1910s
Richmond's strategic location on the James River
, built on undulating hills at the rocky fall line
separating the Piedmont
and Tidewater regions
of Virginia, provided a natural nexus for the development of commerce. Throughout these three centuries and three modes of transportation, the downtown has always been a hub, with the Great Turning Basin for boats, the world's only triple crossing
of rail lines, and the intersection of two major interstates.
Law and finance have long been driving forces in the economy.
Richmond is particularly known for its bankruptcy
The city is home to both the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
, one of 13 United States courts of appeals
, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
, one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks
, as well as offices for international companies such as Genworth Financial
, Capital One
, Philip Morris USA
, and numerous other banks and brokerages. Richmond is also home to four of the largest law firms in the United States: Hunton & Williams
, Williams Mullen
, and LeClairRyan
. Another law firm with a major Richmond presence is Troutman Sanders
, which merged with Richmond-based Mays & Valentine LLP in 2001.
Since the 1960s Richmond has been a prominent hub for advertising agencies and advertising related businesses. One of the most notable Richmond-based agencies is The Martin Agency
, founded in 1965 and currently employing 500 people. As a result of local advertising agency support, VCU
's graduate advertising school (VCU Brandcenter) is consistently ranked the No. 1 advertising graduate program in the country.
Richmond is home to the rapidly developing Virginia BioTechnology Research Park,
which opened in 1995 as an incubator facility for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Located adjacent to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University
, the park currently[when?]
has more than 575,000 square feet (53,400 m2
) of research, laboratory and office space for a diverse tenant mix of companies, research institutes, government laboratories and non-profit organizations. The United Network for Organ Sharing
, which maintains the nation's organ transplant
waiting list, occupies one building in the park. Philip Morris USA
opened a $350 million research and development facility in the park in 2007. Once fully developed, park officials expect the site to employ roughly 3,000 scientists, technicians and engineers.
Richmond's revitalized downtown includes the Canal Walk, a new Greater Richmond Convention Center, and expansion on both VCU
campuses. A new performing arts center, Richmond CenterStage
opened on September 12, 2009.
The complex included a renovation of the Carpenter Center and construction of a new multipurpose hall, community playhouse, and arts education center in parts of the old Thalhimers department store.
Richmond is also fast-becoming known for its food scene, with several restaurants in the Fan, Church Hill, Jackson Ward and elsewhere around the city generating regional and national attention for their fare. Departures
magazine named Richmond "The Next Great American Food City" in August 2014.
while Metzger Bar & Butchery made its "Best New Restaurants: 12 To Watch" list. Craft beer
production is also growing in the River City, with twelve micro-breweries in city proper; the oldest is Legend Brewery, founded in 1994. Two cideries, Buskey Cider and Blue Bee Cider, are located in the popular beverage neighborhood of Scott's Addition
and are joined by nine breweries, one meadery, and one distillery.
, Reservoir Distillery, Belle Isle Craft Spirits and James River Distillery, were established in 2010, 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Additionally, Richmond is gaining attention from the film and television industry, with several high-profile films shot in the metro region in the past few years, including the major motion picture Lincoln
which led to Daniel Day-Lewis
's third Oscar, Killing Kennedy
with Rob Lowe
, airing on the National Geographic Channel
, starring Jamie Bell
and airing on AMC
. Richmond was the main filming location for the PBS
drama series Mercy Street
, which premiered in Winter 2016. Several organizations, including the Virginia Film Office and the Virginia Production Alliance, along with events like the Richmond International Film Festival and French Film Festival, continue to draw supporters of film and media to the region.
Fortune 500 companies and other large corporations
Six Fortune 500
companies are headquartered in the Richmond area.
The Greater Richmond area was named the third-best city for business by MarketWatch
in September 2007, ranking behind only the Minneapolis and Denver areas and just above Boston. The area is home to six Fortune 500
companies: electric utility Dominion Resources
; Owens & Minor
; Genworth Financial
, and Altria Group
However, only Dominion Resources is headquartered within the city of Richmond; the others are located in the neighboring counties of Henrico
In 2008, Altria moved its corporate HQ from New York City to Henrico County, adding another Fortune 500 corporation to Richmond's list. In February 2006, MeadWestvaco
announced that they would move from Stamford, Connecticut
, to Richmond in 2008 with the help of the Greater Richmond Partnership,
a regional economic development organization that also helped locate Aditya Birla Minacs
and Honeywell International
to the region. In July 2015, MeadWestvaco merged with Georgia-based Rock-Tenn Company creating WestRock
Other Fortune 500
companies, while not headquartered in the area, do have a major presence. These include SunTrust Banks
(based in Atlanta
), Capital One
(officially based in McLean, Virginia
, but founded in Richmond with its operations center and most employees in the Richmond area), and medical and pharmaceutical giant McKesson Corporation
(based in Las Colinas, Texas). Capital One and Philip Morris USA are two of the largest private Richmond-area employers. DuPont
maintains a production facility in South Richmond known as the Spruance Plant. UPS Freight
, the less-than-truckload division of United Parcel Service
has its corporate headquarters in Richmond.
Other companies based in Richmond include engineering specialists CTI Consultants
, chemical company NewMarket
, a security and armored car company; Estes Express Lines
, a freight carrier, Universal Corporation
, a tobacco merchant; Cavalier Telephone
, now Windstream, a telephone, internet, and digital television provider formed in Richmond in 1998; Cherry Bekaert & Holland
, a top 30 accounting firm serving the Southeast
; the law firm of McGuireWoods
; Elephant Insurance
, an insurance company subsidiary of Admiral Group
and Media General
, a company specializing in broadcast media.
As of 2016, 24.8% of Richmond residents live below the federal poverty line
, the second-highest among the 30 largest cities and counties in Virginia.
An Annie E. Casey Foundation
report issued in 2016 also determined that Richmond had a child poverty
rate of 39%, more than double the rate for Virginia as a whole.
As of 2016, Richmond had the second-highest rate of eviction
filings and judgments of any American city with a population of 100,000 or more (in states where complete data was available).
Some Richmond neighborhoods, such as the Creighton Court
public-housing complex, are particularly well known for concentrations of poverty.
Arts and culture
Richmond is home to museums and battlefields of the American Civil War. Near the riverfront is the Richmond National Battlefield Park
Visitors Center and the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
, both housed in the former buildings of the Tredegar Iron Works
, where much of the ordnance for the war was produced. In Court End
, near the Virginia State Capitol
, is the Museum of the Confederacy
, along with the Davis Mansion, also known as the White House of the Confederacy; both feature a wide variety of objects and material from the era. The temporary home of former General Robert E. Lee still stands on Franklin Street in downtown Richmond. The history of slavery and emancipation are also increasingly represented: there is a former slave trail along the river that leads to Ancarrow's Boat Ramp and Historic Site which has been developed with interpretive signage, and in 2007, the Reconciliation Statue was placed in Shockoe Bottom, with parallel statues placed in Liverpool
representing points of the Triangle Trade
Other historical points of interest include St. John's Church
, the site of Patrick Henry
's famous "Give me liberty or give me death
" speech, and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum
, features many of his writings and other artifacts of his life, particularly when he lived in the city as a child, a student, and a successful writer. The John Marshall
House, the home of the former Chief Justice of the United States
, is also located downtown and features many of his writings and objects from his life. Hollywood Cemetery
is the burial grounds of two U.S. Presidents
as well as many Civil War officers and soldiers. Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives
collects, preserves and exhibits materials that focus on Jewish history and culture specifically connected to Richmond, VA.
The city is home to many monuments and memorials, most notably those along Monument Avenue
. Other monuments include the A.P. Hill
monument, the Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
monument in Jackson Ward, the Christopher Columbus
monument near Byrd Park. On June 9, 2020, protesters tore down the Columbus monument and threw it in Fountain Lake.
Located near Byrd Park is the famous World War I Memorial Carillon
, a 56-bell carillon
tower. Dedicated in 1956, the Virginia War Memorial
is located on Belvedere overlooking the river, and is a monument to Virginians who died in battle in World War II, the Korean War
, the Vietnam War
, the Gulf War
, the War in Afghanistan
, and the Iraq War
Visual and performing arts
Musicians of note associated with Richmond include Jason Mraz
, Jimmy Dean
, Agents of Good Roots
, Aimee Mann
, Alabama Thunderpussy
, Carbon Leaf
, Count Me Out, Cracker
, Down to Nothing
, Engine Down
, Four Walls Falling
, Iron Reagan
, Lamb of God
, Lil Ugly Mane
, Lucy Dacus
, Municipal Waste
, Nickelus F
, River City High
, Strike Anywhere
, Chris Brown
, Eric Stanley
, and Fighting Gravity
Richmond is also home of GWAR
, a heavy metalart collective
based in a Scott's Addition
With the advent of the Richmond Mural Project (RMP) by RVA Mag and Art Whino; as well as the RVA Street Art Festival in 2013, the city quickly gained more than 100 murals from international mural artists such as Aryz, Roa, Ron English
, and Natalia Rak. While the RMP focused on international talent, the RVA Street Art festival helmed by long-time local mural artist Ed Trask focused largely on regional artists (although it also brought in PoseMSK, Jeff Soto
, and Mark Jenkins
.) After some criticism the RMP included its first local artist, Nils Westergard
, who was already on the international circuit; following the next year with Jacob Eveland
. The two festivals are unrelated, with the RMP being defunct, and the RVA Street Art festival happening sporadically due to funding issues. With the advent of the George Floyd protests across america, local artist Hamilton Glass spearheaded the Mending Walls Project featuring walls by pairs of local artists.
Many of the murals a unrelated to any project, and are done under the impetus of the artists alone.
Professional performing companies
From earliest days, Virginia, and Richmond in particular, have welcomed live theatrical performances. From Lewis Hallam
's early productions of Shakespeare in Williamsburg, the focus shifted to Richmond's antebellum prominence as a main colonial and early 19th century performance venue for such celebrated American and English actors as William Macready, Edwin Forrest,
and the Booth family. In the 20th century, Richmonders' love of theater continued with many amateur troupes and regular touring professional productions. In the 1960s a small renaissance or golden age accompanied the growth of professional dinner theaters and the fostering of theater by the Virginia Museum, reaching a peak in the 1970s with the establishment of a resident Equity company at the Virginia Museum Theater (now the Leslie Cheek) and the birth of Theatre IV, a company that continues to this day under the name Virginia Repertory Theatre.
- Virginia Repertory Theatre is Central Virginia's largest professional theatre organization. It was created in 2012 when Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV, which had shared one staff for over a decade, merged to become one company. With an annual budget of over $5 million, the theatre employs over 240 artists each year, presenting a season at the November Theatre and Theatre Gym at Virginia Rep Center, as well as productions at the Hanover Tavern and The Children's Theatre in The Shops at Willow Lawn. The historic November Theatre opened in 1911 as the Empire Theatre, offering stock and vaudeville performances. In 1915 it changed its name from the Empire to the Strand and continued under that name until damaged by fire in 1927. It reopened in 1933 as the "Booker T," and served as the leading black movie house for many years when Richmond was segregated. It closed in 1974 and was idle until real estate developer Mitchell Kambis rescued and renovated it. Kambis restored the Empire name and in 1979 leased it to Keith Fowler, artistic director of the American Revels Company. Revels restored live professional theater to downtown Richmond. Revels was succeeded by Theatre IV in 1984. On its 100th anniversary in 2011 the theatre was further restored when Sara Belle and Neil November made a $2 million gift to Theatre IV and Barksdale. The November now serves as Virginia Rep's headquarters and home and anchors the Arts District. It is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Bruce Miller and Managing Director Phil Whiteway.
- Richmond Ballet, founded in 1957.
- Richmond Triangle Players, founded in 1993, delivers theater programs exploring themes of equality, identity, affection and family across sexual orientation and gender spectrums.
- Richmond Symphony
- Virginia Opera, the Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, founded in 1974. Presents eight mainstage performances every year at the Carpenter Theater.
Other venues and companies
The Carpenter Theatre
Other venues and companies include:
- The Altria Theater, the city-owned opera house.
- The Leslie Cheek Theater, after lying dormant for eight years, re-opened in 2011 in the heart of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at 200 N. Boulevard. The elegant 500-seat proscenium stage was constructed in 1955 to match then museum director Leslie Cheek's vision of a theater worthy of a fine arts institution. Operating for years as the Virginia Museum Theater (VMT), it supported an amateur community theater under the direction of Robert Telford. When Cheek retired, he advised trustees on the 1969 appointment of Keith Fowler as head of the theater arts division and artistic director of VMT. Fowler led the theater to become the city's first resident Actors Equity\LORT theater, adding major foreign authors and the premieres of new American works to the repertory. Under his leadership VMT reached a "golden age," gaining international recognition and more than doubling its subscription base. Successive artistic administrations changed the name of the theater to "TheatreVirginia". Deficits caused TheatreVirginia to close its doors in 2002. Now, renovated and renamed for its founder, the Leslie Cheek is restoring live performance to VMFA and, while no longer supporting a resident company, it is available for special theatrical and performance events.
- The National Theater is Richmond's premier music venue. It holds 1500 people and has shows regularly throughout the week. It opened winter of 2007 and was built in 1923. It features a state-of-the-art V-DOSC sound system, only the sixth installed in the country and only the third installed on the East Coast.
- Visual Arts Center of Richmond, a not-for-profit organization that is one of the largest nongovernmental arts learning centers in the state of Virginia, founded in 1963. Serves 28,000 individuals annually.
- Richmond CenterStage, a performing arts center that opened in Downtown Richmond in 2009 as part of an expansion of earlier facilities. The complex includes a renovation of the 1,700-seat Carpenter Theater and construction of a new multipurpose hall, community playhouse, and arts education center in the location of the old Thalhimers department store.
- The Byrd Theatre in Carytown, a movie palace from the 1920s that features second-run movies, as well as the French Film Festival.
- Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation.
- Dogwood Dell, an amphitheatre in Byrd Park, where the Richmond Department of Recreation and Parks presents an annual Festival of the Arts.
- School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community). SPARC was founded in 1981, and trained children to become "triple threats", meaning they were equally versed in singing, acting, and dancing. SPARC has become the largest community-based theater arts education program in Virginia and it offers classes to every age group, during the summer and throughout the year.
- Classic Amphitheatre at Strawberry Hill, the former summer concert venue located at Richmond International Raceway.
In addition, in 2008, a new 47,000-square-foot (4,400 m2) Gay Community Center opened on the city's north side, which hosts meetings of many kinds, and includes a large art gallery space.
Richmond has long been a hub for literature and writers. Edgar Allan Poe
was a child in the city, and the town's oldest stone house is now a museum to his life and works. The Southern Literary Messenger
, which included his writing, is just one of many notable publications that began in Richmond. Other noteworthy authors who have called Richmond home include Pulitzer-winning Ellen Glasgow
, controversial figure James Branch Cabell
, Meg Medina
, Dean King
, David L. Robbins
, and MacArthur Fellow Paule Marshall
. Tom Wolfe
was born in Richmond, as was Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan
. David Baldacci
graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University
, where the creative writing faculty has included Marshall, Claudia Emerson
, Kathleen Graber
, T. R. Hummer
, Dave Smith
, David Wojahn
, and Susann Cokal
. Notable graduates include Sheri Reynolds
, Jon Pineda
, Anna Journey
and Joshua Poteat
A community-based organization, James River Writers
, serves the Greater Richmond Region, It sponsors many programs for writers at all stages of their careers and puts on an annual writers' conference that draws attendees from miles away.
Richmond is home to many significant structures, including some designed by notable architects. The city contains diverse styles, including significant examples of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Neoclassical, Egyptian Revival, Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, Tudor Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Art Deco, Modernist, International, and Postmodern buildings.
Much of Richmond's early architecture was destroyed by the Evacuation Fire in 1865. It is estimated that 25% of all buildings in Richmond were destroyed during this fire.
Even fewer now remain due to construction and demolition
that has taken place since Reconstruction
. In spite of this, Richmond contains many historically significant buildings and districts. Buildings remain from Richmond's colonial period, such as the Patteson-Schutte House
and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond, Virginia)
, both built before 1750.
Architectural classicism is heavily represented in all districts of the city, particularly in Downtown, the Fan, and the Museum District. Several notable classical architects have designed buildings in Richmond. The Virginia State Capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson
and Charles-Louis Clérisseau
in 1785. It is the second-oldest US statehouse in continuous use (after Maryland's) and was the first US government building built in the neo-classical
style of architecture, setting the trend for other state houses and the federal government buildings (including the White House
and The Capitol
) in Washington, D.C.
Robert Mills designed Monumental Church
on Broad Street. Adjoining it is the 1845 Egyptian Building
, one of the few Egyptian Revival
buildings in the United States.
The firm of John Russell Pope
designed Broad Street Station
as well as Branch House
on Monument Avenue
, designed as a private residence in the Tudor style, now serving as the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design. Broad Street Station (or Union Station), designed in the Beaux-Arts
style, is no longer a functioning station but is now home to the Science Museum of Virginia
. Main Street Station
, designed by Wilson, Harris, and Richards, has been returned to use in its original purpose. The Jefferson Hotel and the Commonwealth Club were both designed by the classically trained Beaux-Arts architects Carrère and Hastings. Many buildings on the University of Richmond
campus, including Jeter Hall and Ryland Hall, were designed by Ralph Adams Cram
, most famous for his Princeton University Chapel and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
Richmond's urban residential neighborhoods also hold particular significance to the city's fabric. The Fan, the Museum District, Jackson Ward, Carver, Carytown, Oregon Hill and Church Hill (among others) are largely single use town homes and mixed use or full retail/dining establishments. These districts are anchored by large streets such as Franklin Street, Cary Street, the Boulevard, and Monument Avenue. The city's growth in population over the last decade has been concentrated in these areas.
Among Richmond's most interesting architectural features is its cast-iron architecture
. Second only to New Orleans
in its concentration of cast-iron work, the city is home to a unique collection of cast iron porches, balconies, fences, and finials. Richmond's position as a center of iron production helped to fuel its popularity within the city. At the height of production in the 1890, 25 foundries operated in the city employing nearly 3,500 metal workers. This number is seven times the number of general construction workers being employed in Richmond at the time which illustrates the importance of its iron exports.
Porches and fences in urban neighborhoods such as Jackson Ward, Church Hill, and Monroe Ward are particularly elaborate, often featuring ornate iron casts never replicated outside of Richmond. In some cases cast were made for a single residential or commercial application.
Many of Richmond's historic properties were documented in books and 1970s era black and white photographs by John G. Zehmer
, an architectural historian and preservationist.
Richmond's City Code provides for the creation of old and historic districts so as to "recognize and protect the historic, architectural, cultural, and artistic heritage of the City".
Pursuant to that authority, the city has designated 45 districts throughout the city.
The majority of these districts are also listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register
("VLR") and the National Register of Historic Places
Fifteen of the districts represent broad sections of the city:
The remaining thirty districts are limited to an individual building or group of buildings throughout the city:
Parks and outdoor recreation
The city operates one of the oldest municipal park systems in the country. The park system began when the city council voted in 1851 to acquire 7.5 acres (30,000 m2
), now known as Monroe Park
. Today, Monroe Park sits adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth University
campus and is one of more than 40 parks comprising a total of more than 1,500 acres (610 ha).
Several parks are located along the James River, and the James River Parks System offers bike trails, hiking and nature trails, and many scenic overlooks along the river's route through the city.
The trails are used as part of the Xterra East Championship course for both the running and mountain biking portions of the off-road triathlon.
There are also parks on two major islands in the river: Belle Isle
and Brown's Island. Belle Isle, at various former times a Powhatan fishing village, colonial-era horse race track, and Civil War prison camp, is the larger of the two, and contains many bike trails as well as a small cliff that is used for rock climbing
instruction. One can walk the island and still see many of the remains of the Civil War prison camp, such as an arms storage room and a gun emplacement that was used to quell prisoner riots. Brown's Island is a smaller island and a popular venue of a large number of free outdoor concerts and festivals in the spring and summer, such as the weekly Friday Cheers concert series or the James River Beer and Seafood Festival.
Two other major parks in the city along the river are Byrd Park
, located near the Fan District. Byrd Park features a one-mile (1.6 km) running track, with exercise stops, a public dog park
, and a number of small lakes for small boats, as well as two monuments, Buddha house, and an amphitheatre. Prominently featured in the park is the World War I Memorial Carillon
, built in 1926 as a memorial to those that died in the war. Maymont, located adjacent to Byrd Park, is a 100-acre (40 ha) Victorian
estate with a museum, formal gardens, native wildlife exhibits, nature center, carriage
collection, and children's farm. Other parks in the city include Joseph Bryan Park Azalea Garden
, Forest Hill Park (former site of the Forest Hill Amusement Park), Chimborazo Park
(site of the National Battlefield Headquarters), among others.
The James River itself through Richmond is renowned as one of the best in the country for urban white-water rafting/canoeing/kayaking. Several rafting companies offer complete services. There are also several easily accessed riverside areas within the city limits for rock-hopping, swimming, and picnicking.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
is located adjacent to the city in Henrico County. Founded in 1984, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located on 80 acres (320,000 m2
) and features a glass conservatory, a rose garden, a healing garden, and an accessible-to-all children's garden. The Garden is a public place for the display and scientific study of plants. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of only two independent public botanical gardens in Virginia and is designated a state botanical garden.
Another significant sports venue is the 6,000-seat Arthur Ashe Athletic Center
, a multi-purpose arena named for tennis great and Richmond resident Arthur Ashe
. This facility hosts a variety of local sporting events, concerts, and other activities. As the home of Arthur Ashe, the sport of tennis
is also popular in Richmond, and in 2010, the United States Tennis Association
named Richmond as the third "Best Tennis Town", behind Charleston, South Carolina
, and Atlanta, Georgia
Auto racing is also popular in the area. The Richmond Raceway
(RR) has hosted Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
races since 1953, as well as the Capital City 400 from 1962 − 1980.
RIR also hosted IndyCar's Suntrust Indy Challenge from 2001 − 2009. Another track, Southside Speedway
, has operated since 1959 and sits just southwest of Richmond in Chesterfield County
. This .333-mile (0.536 km) oval short-track has become known as the "Toughest Track in the South" and "The Action Track", and features weekly stock car racing on Friday nights.
Southside Speedway has acted as the breeding grounds for many past NASCAR legends including Richard Petty
, Bobby Allison
and Darrell Waltrip
, and claims to be the home track of NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin
In 2015, Richmond hosted the 2015 UCI Road World Championships
, which had cyclists from 76 countries and an economic impact on the Greater Richmond Region
estimated to be $158.1 million, from both event staging and visitor spending.
The course used for the championships was the first real-world location to be recreated within the indoor cycle training application, Zwift
, and has been subsequently joined within the game by the UCI world championships courses from 2018 (Innsbruck
) and 2019 (Harrogate
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
, the local daily newspaper in Richmond with a Sunday circulation of 120,000, is owned by BH Media, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
company. Style Weekly
is a standard weekly publication covering popular culture, arts, and entertainment, owned by Landmark Communications. RVA Magazine
is the city's only independent art music and culture publication, was once monthly, but is now issued quarterly. The Richmond Free Press
and the Voice
cover the news from an African-American perspective.
The Richmond metro area is served by many local television and radio stations. As of 2010, the Richmond-Petersburg designated market area
(DMA) is the 58th largest in the U.S. with 553,950 homes according to Nielsen Market Research.
The major network television affiliates are WTVR-TV
), and WUPV
). Public Broadcasting Service
stations include WCVE-TV
23 and WCVW
57. There are also a wide variety of radio stations in the Richmond area, catering to many different interests, including news, talk radio
, and sports, as well as an eclectic mix of musical interests. Richmond enjoys a low power FM Station
, which features all volunteer community supported radio at all hours.
Government and politics
Richmond City Hall
Richmond city government consists of a city council
with representatives from nine districts serving in a legislative
and oversight capacity, as well as a popularly elected, at-large mayor serving as head of the executive branch
. Citizens in each of the nine districts elect one council representative each to serve a four-year term. Beginning with the November 2008 election Council terms was lengthened to 4 years. The city council elects from among its members one member to serve as Council President and one to serve as Council Vice President. The city council meets at City Hall, located at 900 E. Broad St., 2nd Floor, on the second and fourth Mondays of every month, except August.
In 1977, a federal district court ruled in favor of Curtis Holt Jr.
who had claimed the council's existing election process — an at large voting system — was racially biased. The verdict required the city to rebuild its council into nine distinct wards. Within the year the city council switched from majority white to majority black, reflecting the city's populace. This new city council elected Richmond's first black mayor, Henry L. Marsh
Richmond's government changed in 2004 from a council-manager
form of government with a mayor elected by and from the council to an at-large, popularly elected mayor. Unlike most major cities, in order to be elected, a mayoral candidate must win a plurality of the vote in five of the city's nine council districts. If no one crosses that threshold, a runoff is held between the two top finishers in the first round. This was implemented as a compromise in order to address concerns that better-organized and wealthier white voters could have undue influence.
In a landslide election, incumbent mayor Rudy McCollum was defeated by L. Douglas Wilder
, who previously served Virginia as the first elected African American governor in the United States since Reconstruction
. The current mayor of Richmond is Levar Stoney
who was elected in 2016.
The mayor is not a part of the Richmond City Council.
As of 2020, the Richmond City Council consisted of:
- Andreas D. Addison, 1st District (West End)
- Kimberly B. Gray, 2nd District (North Central)
- Chris A. Hilbert, 3rd District (Northside), Council Vice President
- Kristen Nye Larson, 4th District (Southwest)
- Stephanie A. Lynch (Central)
- Ellen F. Robertson, 6th District (Gateway)
- Cynthia I. Newbille, 7th District (East End), Council President
- Reva M. Trammell, 8th District (Southside)
- Michael J. Jones, 9th District (South Central)
The Art Deco
-styled Thomas Jefferson High School in the near West End
The Romanesque Revival
-style of the former Benedictine College Preparatory in the Museum District
The city of Richmond operates 28 elementary schools, nine middle schools
, and eight high schools, serving a total student population of 24,000 students.
There is one Governor's School in the city − the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies
. In 2008, it was named as one of Newsweek
magazine's 18 "public elite" high schools,
and in 2012, it was rated #16 of America's best high schools overall.
Richmond's public school district also runs one of Virginia's four public charter schools
, the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, which was founded in 2010.
The class of 2020 saw an on-time graduation rate of 71.6% putting it at least 20 percentage points behind most other school divisions and making it the worst in the state. 
As of 2008, there were 36 private schools serving grades one or higher in the city of Richmond.
Some of these schools include: Banner Christian School, Benedictine College Preparatory
, St. Bridget School, Brook Road Academy
, Collegiate School
, Grace Christian School, Grove Christian School, Guardian Christian Academy, St. Christopher's School
, St. Gertrude High School
, St. Catherine's School
, Southside Baptist Christian School
, Northstar Academy
, The Steward School
, Trinity Episcopal School
, The New Community School, and Veritas School.
Colleges and universities
The Richmond area has many major institutions of higher education, including Virginia Commonwealth University
(public), University of Richmond
(private), Virginia Union University
(private), Virginia College
(private, for-profit), South University
–Richmond (private, for-profit), Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education
(private), and the Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond (BTSR—private). Several community colleges are found in the metro area, including J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
and John Tyler Community College
). In addition, there are several Technical Colleges in Richmond including ITT Technical Institute, ECPI College of Technology
and Centura College. There are several vocational colleges also, such as Fortis College and Bryant Stratton College.
The Greater Richmond area is served by the Richmond International Airport
), located in nearby Sandston
, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Richmond and within an hour drive of historic Williamsburg, Virginia
. Richmond International is now served by ten passenger and four cargo airlines with over 200 daily flights providing non-stop service to major destination markets and connecting flights to destinations worldwide. A record 3.3 million passengers used Richmond International Airport in 2006, a 13% increase over 2005.
Richmond is a major hub for intercity bus
company Greyhound Lines
, with its terminal at 2910 N Boulevard. Multiple runs per day connect directly with Washington, D.C., New York, Raleigh, and elsewhere. Direct trips to New York take approximately 7.5 hours. Discount carrier Megabus
also provides curbside service from outside of Main Street Station. Direct service is available to Washington, D.C., Hampton Roads
, and Philadelphia
. Most other connections to Megabus served cities, such as New York, can be made from Washington, D.C.
bus service in Richmond, Henrico
, and Chesterfield
counties is provided by the Greater Richmond Transit Company
(GRTC). The GRTC, however, serves only small parts of the suburban counties. The far West End (Innsbrook and Short Pump) and almost all of Chesterfield County have no public transportation despite dense housing, retail, and office development. According to a 2008 GRTC operations analysis report, a majority of GRTC riders utilize their services because they do not have an available alternative such as a private vehicle.
Richmond, and the surrounding metropolitan area, was granted a roughly $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2014
to support the GRTC Pulse bus rapid transit
system, which opened in June 2018, running along Broad Street from Willow Lawn to Rocketts Landing, in the first phase of an improved public transportation hub for the region.
The Richmond area also has two railroad stations served by Amtrak
. Each station receives regular service from north of Richmond including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. The region's main station, Staples Mill Road Station
, is located just outside the city on a major north–south freight line and receives all service to and from all points south including Raleigh
, Newport News
and Florida. Richmond's only railway station located within the city limits, the historic Main Street Station
, was renovated in 2004.
As of 2010, the station only receives trains headed to and from Newport News due to track layout.
Richmond also benefits from an excellent position in reference to the state's transportation network, lying at the junction of east–west Interstate 64
and north–south Interstate 95
, two of the most heavily traveled highways in the state, as well as along several major rail lines.
Natural gas in the Richmond Metro area is provided by the city's Department of Public Utilities and also serves portions of Henrico
Water is provided by the city's Department of Public Utilities, and is one of the largest water producers in Virginia, with a modern plant that can treat up to 132 million gallons of water a day from the James River
The facility also provides water to the surrounding area through wholesale contracts with Henrico
, and Hanover
counties. Overall, this results in a facility that provides water for approximately 500,000 people.
treatment plant and distribution system of water mains, pumping stations and storage facilities provide water to approximately 62,000 customers in the city. There is also a wastewater treatment plant located on the south bank of the James River. This plant can treat up to 70 million gallons of water per day of sanitary sewage and stormwater before returning it to the river. The wastewater utility also operates and maintains 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of sanitary sewer and pumping stations, 38 miles (61 km) of intercepting sewer lines, and the Shockoe Retention Basin, a 44-million-gallon stormwater reservoir used during heavy rains.
- ^ Annual records from the airport weather station that date back to 1948 are available on the web.
- ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
- ^ Official records for Richmond kept January 1887 to December 1910 at downtown, Chimborazo Park from January 1911 to December 1929, and at Richmond Int'l since January 1930. For more information, see Threadex
- ^ Per www.richmondgov.com & The Free Dictionary.
- ^ City Connection, Office of the Press Secretary to the Mayor. Richmondgov.com Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. January–March 2010 edition. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
- ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ^ a b "Richmond city QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". State and County QuickFacts. U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- ^ "Distance between Richmond, VA and Lynchburg, VA". www.distance-cities.com. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- ^ "Distance between Richmond, VA and Washington, DC". www.distance-cities.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- ^ a b Blackwell, John Reid. "Six local companies make the Fortune 500 list". Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- ^ City of Richmond. "History". Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- ^ Dabney, Virginius (1990). Richmond: The Story of a City (revised and expanded ed.). University Press of Virginia. ISBN 978-0813912745.
- ^ "Richmond", in Encyclopædia Britannica, (9th edition, 1881), s.v.
- ^ Scott, Mary Wingfield (1941). Houses of Old Richmond (PDF). Richmond, Virginia: The Valentine Museum. Archived from the original(PDF) on September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- ^ Grafton, John. "The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History: 1775–1864 Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine." 2000, Courier Dover Publications, pp. 1–4.
- ^ "April dates in Virginia history Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Virginia Historical Society Archived March 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 11, 2007.
- ^ Waddell, Joseph Addison (1902). Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871. C. R. Caldwell. p. 278.
- ^ Morrissey, Brendan. "Yorktown 1781: The World Turned Upside Down Archived January 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine." Published 1997, Osprey Publishing, pp. 14–16.
- ^ Peterson, Merrill D.; Vaughan, Robert C. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History Archived April 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Published 1988, Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on July 11, 2007.
- ^ Switala, William J. "The Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania Archived January 16, 2016, at the Wayback Machine." Published 2001, Stackpole Books. pp. 1–4.
- ^ The New American Encyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge. D. Appleton. 1872. p. 196. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- ^ Bruce Levine, The Fall of the House of Dixie (New York, Random House 2014) pp. 269–70
- ^ Time-Life Books. The Blockade: Runners and Raiders Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Published 1983, Time-Life, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8094-4709-1
- ^ Levine pp. 271–72
- ^ "The City Magazine" The Richmond Whig, 4/27/1865
- ^ Levine, pp. 272–73
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