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Richmond ( ) is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginiamarker, in the United Statesmarker. Like all Virginia municipalities incorporated as cities, it is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond area. Surrounded by Henricomarker and Chesterfieldmarker counties, the city is located at the intersections of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64, and surrounded by Interstate 295 and Virginia State Route 288 in central Virginia. The population was 200,123 in 2007, with an estimated population of 1,212,977 for the Richmond Metropolitan Area — making it the third largest in Virginia.

The site of Richmond, at the fall line of the James River in the Piedmont region of Virginia, was briefly settled by English settlers from Jamestown in 1609, and in 1610-11, near the site of a significant native settlement. The present city of Richmond was founded in 1737. It became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1780. During the Revolutionary War period, several notable events occurred in the city, including Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775 at St. John's Churchmarker, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1779—the latter of which was written by Thomas Jefferson in the city. During the American Civil War, Richmond served as the capital of the Confederate States of America, and many important American Civil War landmarks remain in the city today, including the Virginia State Capitolmarker and the White House of the Confederacymarker, among others.

Richmond's economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government with several notable legal and banking firms, as well as federal, state, and local governmental agencies, located in the downtown area.

The city is home to both the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuitmarker, one of 13 United States courts of appeals, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks. There are nine Fortune 500 and 13 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in the city. Tourism is also important, as many historic sights are in or nearby the city.


Early settlement

Before 1607, the Powhatan tribe had lived in the region. For centuries, the tribe recognized the value of this site, rich in natural beauty, and had one of their capitals here, also known as Powhatan. They knew it as a place to hunt, fish, play, and trade, and they also called it Shocquohocan, or Shockoe.

1606, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America. After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April, 1607, at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, and on May 24, 1607, erected a cross on one of the small islands in the middle of the part of the river that runs through today's downtown area.

The first English settlement within the present limits of the city was made in 1609 by Francis West at the falls, in the district known as Rockett's, and was known as "West Fort". Captain John Smith then bought the fortified Powhatan village on the north bank of the river from chief Parahunt, about from the fort. He named this tract Nonesuch, but the English garrison soon abandoned the entire area after attacks by the Powhatans. In fall, 1610, Lord de la Warre made a second attempt to build a fort at the falls, which managed to last all winter, but was then likewise abandoned.

In 1645, Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James – the highest navigable point of the James River – as a frontier defense. New settlers moved in, and the community grew into a bustling trading post for furs, hides, and tobacco. Col. David Crawford, a Virginia Burgess, owned much of the land in the mid-1600s that would become Richmond.

Founding of Richmond

In 1673, William Byrd I was granted lands on the James River that included the area around Falls that would become Richmond and already included small settlements. Byrd was a well-connected Indian trader in the area and established a fort on the site. William Byrd II inherited his father's land in 1704, and in 1737 founded the town of Richmond at the Falls of the James and commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. Byrd named the city Richmond after the English town of Richmondmarker near (and now part of) Londonmarker, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April, 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742.

American Revolution

In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered his famous, "Give me Liberty or Give me Death," speech in St. John's Churchmarker in Richmond that was crucial for deciding Virginia's (then the largest of the 13 colonies) participation in the First Continental Congress and setting the course for revolution and independence. Thomas Jefferson, who would soon write the United States Declaration of Independence, George Washington, who would soon command the Continental Army, were in attendance at this critical moment on the path to the American Revolution.

On April 18, 1780, as Virginia’s population moved further west, the state capital was moved from the colonial capital of Williamsburgmarker to Richmond, to provide a more centralized location, as well as to isolate the capital from British attack. In 1781, under the command of Benedict Arnold, Richmond was burned by British troops causing Governor Thomas Jefferson to flee the city. Yet Richmond shortly recovered and, by 1782, Richmond was once again a thriving city.

In 1786, one of the most important and influential passages of legislation in American history was passed at the temporary state capital in Richmond, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Written by Thomas Jefferson and sponsored by James Madison, the statute was the basis for the separation of church and state, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. Its importance is recognized annually by the President of The United States, with January 16 established as National Religious Freedom Day.

The Virginia State Capitolmarker building, designed by Thomas Jefferson with the assistance of Charles-Louis Clérisseau, was completed in 1788. It is the second-oldest US statehouse in continuous use (Maryland's is the oldest) and was the first US government building built in the neo-classical Roman style of architecture, setting the trend for other state houses and the federal government buildings (including the White Housemarker and The Capitolmarker) in Washington, DCmarker. It underwent a complete renovation which was completed in May 2007.

Early Nineteenth Century

After the Revolutionary War, Richmond emerged an important industrial center; it also became a crossroads of transportation and commerce, much of this tied to its role as a major hub in the Transatlantic slave trade. George Washington proposed and received the support of the Virginia legislature for the establishment of the James River and Kanawha Canal, the first canal system to be established in the U.S. The canal allowed goods and services coming up the James River to be navigated around the falls at Richmond and connect Richmond and the eastern part of Virginia with the west. As a result, Richmond became home to some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the country, including iron works and flour mills, the largest facilities of their kind in the south. 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. The Canal officially ceased operations in the 1880s, although portions of the canal have been preserved and rebuilt by 1998–1999, spurring tourism and economic development along the old canal route in downtown Richmond.

Besides transportation and industry, antebellum Richmond was also the center of regional communications, with several newspapers and book publishers, including John Warrock, helping shape public opinion and further the education of the populace.

The resistance to the slave trade was growing by the mid-nineteenth century; in one famous case in 1848, Henry “Box” Brown made history by having himself nailed into a small box and shipped from Richmond to abolitionists in Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, escaping slavery.

Civil War and Reconstruction

At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the strategic location of the Tredegar Iron Worksmarker was one of the primary factors in the decision to make Richmond the Capital of the Confederacy. From this arsenal came the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia, the world’s first ironclad used in war, as well as much of the Confederates' heavy ordnance machinery. In February 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabamamarker, the first Confederate capital. In the early morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumtermarker in Charleston, South Carolinamarker, beginning the Civil War. On April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States, and soon thereafter the Confederate government moved its capital to Richmond. The Confederate Congress shared quarters with the Virginia General Assemblymarker in the Virginia State Capitolmarker, and the Confederacy's executive mansion, the "White House of the Confederacymarker", was two blocks away in the upscale Court End neighborhood.

The Seven Days Battles, in which Union General McClellan threatened Richmond and came very near but ultimately failed to take the city, followed in late June and early July 1862. Three years later, on April 2, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army captured Richmond, and the state capital was then relocated to Danvillemarker. Six days later, Robert E. Lee's retreating Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court Housemarker, symbolically ending the war. On April 2, 1865, about 25% of the city's buildings were destroyed in a fire set by retreating Confederate soldiers. Union soldiers put out the fires as they entered the city. President Lincoln left Washington for Richmond immediately upon hearing of the city's capture, arriving the next day April 4, 1865, with the city still smoldering from the fires. Lincoln wanted to make a public gesture of sitting at Jefferson Davis's own desk, symbolically saying to the nation that the President of the United States held authority over the entire land. He was greeted at the city as a conquering hero by freed slaves, whose sentiments were epitomized by one admirer's quote, "I know I am free for I have seen the face of Father Abraham and have felt him." When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy."

After the Civil War, Richmond entered a phase of recovery and reconstruction. Monument Avenue was laid out in 1887, with a series of monuments at various intersections honoring the city's Confederate heroes (east to west) J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson and oceanographer Matthew F. Maury. Richmond's Hollywood Cemeterymarker is the final resting place of both Stuart and Davis.

Contributing to Richmond's industrial reconstruction was the first successful electrically-powered trolley system in the United States, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway. Designed by electric power pioneer Frank J. Sprague, the trolley 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.
The intersection shown is at 8th & Broad Streets, Theater District, in 1923.

Twentieth century

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the city's population had reached 85,050 in , making it the most densely populated city in the southern United States.

In 1903, African-American businesswoman and financier Maggie L. Walker chartered St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and served as its first president, as well as the first female bank president in the United States. Today, the bank is called the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, and it is the oldest surviving African-American bank in the U.S. The regional Governor's School in Richmond is named after her.

In 1910, the former city of Manchestermarker was consolidated with the city of Richmond, and in 1914, the city annexed the Barton Heights, Ginter Park, and Highland Park areas of Henrico Countymarker.

In May 1914, Richmond became the headquarters of the Fifth District of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was selected due to the city's geographic location, its importance as a commercial and financial center, its transportation and communications facilities, as well as Virginia's leading regional role in the banking business. The bank was originally located near the federal courts downtown and moved to a new headquarters building near the Capitol in 1922, and finally to its present location overlooking the James River in 1978. Richmond's business and industrial development continued throughout the decade, and in 1929, Philip Morris, which began as a British company about 100 years earlier, opened its first US factory in the city. Richmond was chosen because the town's rich tobacco history.

Richmond entered the broadcasting era in late 1925 when WRVAmarker, originally known as the Edgeworth Tobacco Station and owned by Larus & Brothers, went on the air. The white ballad singers and black gospel quartets that were popular on the radio at the time were often urban and sometimes even professional men. At the time, Richmond was particularly self-conscious with its southern roots, and such music was seen as culturally inferior. WTVR-TVmarker (CBS 6), the first television station in Richmond, was the first television station south of Washington, D.C.

The Landmark Theater, originally known as The Mosque, adjacent to Monroe Park.
Several performing arts venues were constructed during the 1920s. In 1926, The Mosque (now called the Landmark Theater) was constructed by the Shriners as their Acca Temple Shrine, and since then, many of America's greatest entertainers have appeared on its stage beneath its towering minarets and desert murals. Loew's Theater was built in 1927, and was described as, "the ultimate in 1920s movie palace fantasy design." It later suffered a decline in popularity as the movie-going population moved to the suburbs, but was restored during the 1980s and renamed as the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts. In 1928, the Byrd Theatermarker was built by local architect Fred Bishop on Westhampton Avenue (now called Cary Street) in a residential area of the city. To this day, the Byrd remains in operation as one of the last of the great movie palaces of the 1920s and 1930s.

Between 1963 and 1965, there was a, "downtown boom," that led to the construction of more than 700 buildings in the city. In 1968, Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker was created by the merger of the Medical College of Virginiamarker with the Richmond Professional Institute. In 1970, Richmond's borders expanded by an additional on the south. After several years of court cases in which Chesterfield Countymarker fought annexation, more than 47,000 people who once were Chesterfield County residents found themselves in the city’s perimeters on January 1, 1970.

Between the 1984 and 1985 seasons, the city completed construction of the Diamond, a new baseball stadium for the Richmond Braves, a AAA baseball team in the Atlanta Braves minor league system. The park opened on April 17, 1985, replacing the old Parker Field, which previously occupied the same site. Also in 1985, Richmond saw the opening of 6th Street Marketplace, a downtown festival marketplace, which was envisioned as a solution to the downtown areas urban erosion. The project ultimately failed, and the shopping center was closed and demolished in 2004.

A multi-million dollar flood wall was completed in 1995, in order to protect the city and the Shockoe Bottom businesses from the rising waters of the James River. After the flood wall was completed, the River District businesses grew rapidly, and today the area is home to much of Richmond's entertainment, dining and nightlife activity.

In 1996, a reminder of Richmond's Confederate history arose amid controversy involved in placing a statue of African American Richmond native and tennis star Arthur Ashe to the famed series of statues of Confederate heroes of the Civil War on Monument Avenue. After several months of controversy, the bronze statue of Ashe was finally completed on Monument Avenue facing the opposite direction of the Confederate Heroes on July 10, 1996.

Twenty-first century

Richmond entered the twenty-first century in the process of undergoing several redevelopment initiatives. The city completed a $52 million restoration of the James River and Kanawha Canals, as well as the Haxall Canal, in 1999, which included a Canal Walk, designed to attract businesses such as restaurants and nightclubs to the area. The riverfront project has brought the corridor back to life, with trendy loft apartments, restaurants, shops and hotels winding along the Canal Walk, along with canal boat cruises and walking tours. Riverfront development continued in April 2003 with the start of construction of Riverside on the James, a 720,000 square foot (66,890 sq m) residential and office complex near Brown's Island between 10th and 12th Streets downtown. The project, costing $90 million, was completed in July 2005, and is expected to attract even more commercial development to the downtown area.

On September 19, 2003, Hurricane Isabel's sustained winds of caused major power outages in the area.

In September 2004, Tropical Storm Gaston swept through the area, bringing with it intense rain, causing severe flooding in the Shockoe Bottom business district, as well as major electrical outages throughout the metropolitan area.

Geography and climate


Richmond-Petersburg area

Richmond is located at (37.538346, -77.461507). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of . of it is land and of it (3.96%) is water. The city is located in the Piedmont region of Virginiamarker, at the highest navigable point of the James River. The Piedmont region is categorized by relatively low, rolling hills, and lies between the low, sea level tidewater region and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Significant bodies of water in the region include the James River, the Appomattox River, and the Chickahominy Rivermarker.

The Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 43rd largest in the United States, includes the independent cities of Richmond, Colonial Heightsmarker, Hopewellmarker, and Petersburgmarker, as well as the counties of Charles Citymarker, Chesterfieldmarker, Dinwiddiemarker, Goochlandmarker, Hanovermarker, Henricomarker, New Kentmarker, Powhatanmarker, and Prince Georgemarker. As of July 1, 2005, the total population of the Richmond—Petersburg MSA is 1,194,008.


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 located slightly farther west, on the slopes of Shockoe Hill. Nearby neighborhoods include Shockoe Bottommarker, 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 Churchmarker, 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 Universitymarker, 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 Fanmarker, is home to Monument Avenue, an outstanding collection of Victorian architecture, and many students. West of the Boulevard is the Museum District, the location of the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Artsmarker. South of the Downtown Expressway are Byrd Parkmarker, Maymontmarker, Hollywood Cemeterymarker, the predominantly black working class Randolph neighborhood, and white working class Oregon Hillmarker. Cary Street between Interstate 195 and the Boulevard is a popular commercial area called Carytown.

Further to the west is the affluent, suburban West Endmarker. The West End also includes middle to lower income neighborhoods, such as Farmington and the areas surrounding the Regency Mall. The University of Richmondmarker and the Country Club of Virginia can be found here.

The portion of the city south of the James River is known as the Southside. Neighborhoods in the city's Southside area range from affluent and middle class suburban neighborhoods like Westover Hills, Southampton, Stratford Hills, Oxford, Huguenot Hills, Hobby Hill, and Woodland Heights to the impoverished Manchestermarker 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 Countymarker before being annexed by Richmond, most notably in 1970.

The other side of the city, the Northside, 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. Prominent Northside neighborhoods include Ginter Park, Bellevue, Barton Heights, Highland Park, Azalea, and Chamberlayne.


Richmond has a humid subtropical climate with moderate seasonal changes. Spring arrives in March with mild days and cool nights, and by late May, the temperature warms up considerably to herald warm summer days. Summer temperatures can be hot, often topping with high humidity. On average, the city receives 83 nights below freezing, and July is the warmest month of the year, with the maximum average precipitation. Days stay warm to mild until October, and Autumn is marked by the return of cooler nights. Winter is usually mild in Richmond, with the coldest days featuring lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s and highs in the mid to upper 40s. The highest temperature ever recorded was in 1918, and the lowest temperature ever recorded was in 1940. On average, the coldest month of the year is January. Snowfall is usually light averaging per season.


As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 41.6% of Richmond's population; of which 39.5% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 52.3% of Richmond's population; of which 52.1% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indian made up 0.4% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 1.6% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 1.7% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.4% of the city's population; of which 2.1% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4.2% of Richmond's population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 197,790 people, 84,549 households, and 43,627 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,292.6 people per square mile (1,271.3/km²). There were 92,282 housing units at an average density of 1,536.2/sq mi (593.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 38.30% White, 57.19% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.49% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.57% 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 population was spread out with 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.


The following tables show Richmond’s crime rate in 6 crimes that Morgan Quitno uses for their calculation for "America's most dangerous cities" ranking, in comparison to the national average. The statistics provided are not for the actual amount of crimes committed, but how many crimes committed Per Capita. All crime rankings provided by Morgan Quitno are based upon the FBImarker Uniform Crime Reports (UCRs).
Crime Richmond Virginia (2006) National Average
Murder 38.8 7.0
Rape 38.8 33.1
Robbery 504.3 205.8
Assault 460.9 336.5
Burglary 1167.0 813.2
Automobile Theft 744.5 501.5

During the crime wave of the late 80's into the early 90's the city had experienced a spike in overall crime, in particular the city’s murder rate. The city had experienced 93 murders for the year of 1985, with a murder rate of 41.9 killings committed per 100,000 residents. Within a 10 year period, the city saw a major increase in total homicides. In 1990 the city experienced 114 murders, given a murder rate of 56.1 killings per 100,000 residents. There were 120 murders for the year of 1995, that year the murder rate was the highest at 59.1 killings per 100,000 residents, such a rate given is one of the absolute highest in the United Statesmarker.

Morgan Quitno Press 11th Annual America’s Safest and Most Dangerous Cities Awards, ranked Richmond as the 9th most dangerous out of 354 cities for 2004. Richmond was ranked overall as the 5th most dangerous city, and the 12th most dangerous metropolitan area in the United Statesmarker for the year of 2005. The following year of 2006, Richmond had seen a decline in crime, ranking as the 15th most dangerous city in the United Statesmarker. By 2008, Richmond's position on the highest-crime list had fallen all the way to 49th.

However, the FBImarker discourages the use of its crime statistics for the direct comparison of cities as Morgan Quitno does in its "Most Dangerous Cities" rankings. This is due to the many factors that influence crime in a particular study area such as population density and the degree of urbanization, modes of transportation of highway system, economic conditions, and citizens' attitudes toward crime. According to the FBImarker, a city to city comparison of crime rates is not meaningful, because recording practices vary from city to city, citizens report different percentages of crimes from one city to the next, and the actual number of people physically present in a city is unknown.

Richmond’s major crime, all violent and property crimes was down 17 percent for the year of 2007, the lowest in more than a quarter century. 2008 statistics show the murder rate for the city remains six and a half times the national average, and seven times the average for the state of Virginia. All other 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.


Historic development as a commercial center

Richmond's strategic location on the James River, built on undulating hills at the rocky fall line separating the piedmont and tidewater regions of Virginiamarker provided a natural site for the development of commerce.

The first European explorers came in 1607, from the Virginia Company of Londonmarker. They discovered a fragrant weed grown by the natives, and tobacco became a lucrative commodity in the area. The trading post developed into a village, and by 1733 a town was laid out by William Byrd II and William Mayo. Its early buildings were clustered around the Farmers' Market, existing today at 17th Street.

Early trade grew rapidly, primarily in the agriculture sector, but also in the slave trade. Slaves were imported to Richmond's Manchester docks from Africa, and were bought and sold at the same market.

To facilitate the transfer of cargo from the flat-bottomed bateaux above the fall line to the ocean-faring ships below, George Washington helped design the James River and Kanawha Canal in the 1700s to bypass Richmond's rapids. The canal was later superseded by rail in the 1800s, and the railroads were laid on the original canal towpaths. In the 1900s highways were constructed in the air over the same area.

Throughout these three centuries and three modes of transportation, 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.

Industries that defined Richmond

Richmond emerged from the smoldering rubble of the Civil War as an economic powerhouse, with iron front buildings and massive brick factories. Innovations of this era included the world's first cigarette-rolling machine, invented by James Albert Bonsack of Roanokemarker in 1880/81, and the world's first successful electric street car system.

Freed slaves and their descendants created a thriving African-American business community, led by such influential people as Maggie L. Walker (first woman to charter a bank in the U.S.) and John Mitchell, Jr. The city's historic Jackson Ward became known as the "Wall Street of Black America."

Law and finance have long been driving forces in the economy. The city is home to both the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuitmarker, 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, CapitalOne, 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, McGuireWoods, Williams Mullen, and LeClairRyan. Troutman Sanders, another leading global law firm, also has a significant office in the City of Richmond as does Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, a personal injury law firm founded in 1910. In a 2006 report, Richmond was cited as having minimal evidence of becoming a Global city.

Since the 1960s Richmond has been a prominent hub for advertising agencies and advertising related businesses, including The Martin Agency. As a result of local advertising agency support, VCUmarker's graduate advertising school (VCU BrandCenter) is consistently ranked the #1 advertising graduate program in the country.

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 seven Fortune 500 companies, including electric utility Dominion Resources; CarMax; Performance Food Group; Owens & Minor; Genworth Financial, the former insurance arm of GE; the recently relocated MeadWestvaco, a leading global producer of packaging, coated and specialty papers, consumer and office products; and specialty chemicals and Altria Group.

Richmond has the most Fortune 500 headquarters of any city in Virginia and only six metro areas in the country have more Fortune 500 company headquarters than the Richmond area. Four Fortune 1000 companies also have their headquarters located in the area.

Other Fortune 500 companies, while not headquartered in the area, do have a major presence here. These include SunTrust Banks Incorporated (based in Atlantamarker), Capital One Financial Corporation (officially based in McLean, Virginiamarker, but founded in Richmond with its operations center and most employees in the Richmond area), the medical and pharmaceutical giant, McKesson (based in San Franciscomarker). Universal Corporation, also in the tobacco industry, has its corporate headquarters here as well. Capital One and Altria company's Philip Morris USA are two of the largest private Richmond-area employers. In 2008, Altria moved its corporate HQ from New York City to Richmond, adding another Fortune 500 corporation to Richmond's list. DuPont maintains a production facility known as the Spruance Plant.

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 Universitymarker, the park currently has more than 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 is the home of the Ukrop's Super Market, a regional, family-owned chain of supermarkets known for its customer service and innovation. Ukrop's is a high-profile sponsor of community events, such as the Monument Avenue 10K, Easter on Parade, and the Ukrop's Christmas Parade.

Cavalier Telephone, a telephone, internet, and digital television provider formed in Richmond in 1998, also has its headquarters in the city.

Recent economic developments

In recent years, Richmond has been attempting to revive its downtown. Recent downtown initiatives include the Canal Walk, a new Greater Richmond Convention Center, and expansion on both VCUmarker campuses. Despite numerous controversies related to excessive employee salaries and wasteful spending of public tax money, a new performing arts center, Richmond CenterStage, opened on 12 Sept 2009. The complex will include 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. As planned by the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation (VAPAF), the publicly-funded arts center project now known as CenterStage has been mired in controversy, poor planning and questionable spending of money raised from a special citywide meals tax hike.

The center is set to receive $25 million in 'City of the Future' funds from Mayor Doug Wilder even though the current planners of CenterStage have yet to disclose annual administrative and operating expenses or initiate an artists endowment. There are also few representatives from the area's performing arts community in key positions of authority within the project, leading critics to speculate that CenterStage is more of a real estate deal designed to prop up a failing convention center expansion than a worthwhile arts venture. The city has entertained multiple proposals for a new baseball stadium for the AAA Class Richmond Braves in recent years, but none has yet advanced beyond initial planning. In January, 2008, the Braves announced that in 2009 they will be leaving Richmond for Gwinnett County, GA due to Richmond's continued inaction on an improved ballpark.

In February, 2006, MeadWestvaco announced that they would move from Stamford, Connecticutmarker, to Richmond in 2008. The company is building an 8-10 story office building downtown, near the Federal Reserve building.

Arts and culture

Museums and art galleries

Richmond has a significant art community, and the Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker School of the Arts is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. In addition to many art venues associated with the university, there are also several attractions nearby, including the Library of Virginia, the Valentine Richmond History Center, the Virginia Historical Society, the Virginia Museum of Fine Artsmarker, the Richmond Symphony, and the Richmond Ballet. The Byrd Theatremarker in Carytown is a classical movie theater from the 1920s era that still features second-run movies on a regular basis, and is popular among the college student population, particularly because of its low ticket price of $1.99.

The Science Museum of Virginiamarker, is also located on Broad Street near the Fan district. It is housed in the neoclassical Union Station, designed by Beaux-Arts-trained John Russell Pope in 1919. Adjacent to the Science Museum is the Richmond Children's Museum, a fun-filled museum with many hands-on activities.

As the former Capital of the Confederate States of America, Richmond is home to many museums and battlefields of the American Civil War. The Museum of the Confederacymarker, located near the Virginia State Capitolmarker and the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker, is in Court End along with the Davis Mansion, also known as the White House of the Confederacy; both today feature a wide variety of objects and material from the era. Near the riverfront is the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, the Civil War Battlefields National Park Visitors Center, and the Virginia War Memorial. There is a former slave trail along the river that leads to Ancarrow's Boat Ramp and Historic Site. The National Park Service's Richmond Civil War Visitor Center, in the Tredegar Iron Worksmarker, has three floors of exhibits and artifacts, films, a bookstore, picnic areas and more.

Other historical points of interest include St. John's Churchmarker, the site of Patrick Henry's famous, "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, and the Edgar Allan Poe Museummarker, 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 Cemeterymarker is also the burial grounds of two U.S. Presidents as well as many other civil war officers and soldiers. The home of former Confederate General Robert E. Lee still stands on Franklin Street in downtown Richmond.

The city is also home to many monuments, most notably several along Monument Avenue in the Fan Districtmarker. Other monuments of interest in the city include the A.P. Hill monument, the Bill "Bojangles" Robinson monument, the Christopher Columbus monument, and the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Dedicated in 1956, the Virginia War Memorial is also located on Belvedere near the riverfront, 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. Located near Byrd Park is the famous World War I Memorial Carillon, a 56 bell carillon tower.

Performing arts

  • Barksdale Theatre is Central Virginia’s first nonprofit professional performing arts organization, founded in 1953 at the historic Hanover Tavern by Tom Carlin, Stewart Falconer, David and Priscilla (“Pete” and “Perky”) Kilgore, Muriel McAuley and Pat Sharp. When they began serving meals to lure Richmond residents out to Hanover, they created the nation’s first dinner theater. Barksdale also broke the back of the Jim Crow laws, becoming the first performing arts organization in Virginia to open its doors to an integrated audience. By 1960, four of the original cofounders had moved on. For the next 35 years, Barksdale was managed by Pete and Nancy Kilgore and Muriel McAuley. Today, Barksdale is recognized as Central Virginia’s leading professional theater, with two home locations: Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern and Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn. In 1990, the Tavern was sold to the Hanover Tavern Foundation. In 1993, the founders retired, and John Glenn was named Artistic Director. In 1996, to accommodate a full restoration, Barksdale left the Tavern for new facilities at Willow Lawn. In 1997, John Glenn left to pursue other opportunities, and Randy Strawderman was hired to replace him. In 2001, leadership was transferred to Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway, Artistic Director and Managing Director, respectively. After a ten-year separation, Barksdale returned theatrical programming to Hanover Tavern in January 2006, initiating a four-play Country Playhouse Season designed to complement its five-play Signature Season at Willow Lawn.[6]
  • Theatre IV is the Children’s Theatre of Virginia, and was founded in 1975 by Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway who continue to hold the positions of Artistic and Manager directors. Theatre IV is one of the largest theaters in Virginia and the second largest children’s theater in the nation, touring regularly throughout 32 states plus the District of Columbia. In 1986, Theatre IV purchased the historic Empire Theatre in downtown Richmond and began a Family Playhouse series of mainstage (non-touring) productions. In 2001, Theatre IV assumed management of Barksdale Theatre. The two nonprofit companies maintain independent missions, boards, budgets, audits and assets, while sharing a common professional staff.
  • Richmond Ballet - Founded in 1957.
  • Richmond Symphony
  • Virginia Opera - The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, founded in 1974. Presents eight mainstage performances every year at the Landmark Theater.
  • Richmond Department of Recreation and Parks presents an annual Festival of the Arts at Dogwood Dellmarker in Byrd Parkmarker.
  • S.P.A.R.C. - 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.
  • Richmond CenterStage, a new performing arts center planned to open in Downtown Richmond in 2009. The complex will include a renovation of the 1,700-seat Carpenter Theatre and construction of a new multipurpose hall, community playhouse, and arts education center in the location of the old Thalhimers department store.
  • Classic Amphitheatre at Strawberry Hillmarker, the former summer concert venue located at Richmond International Racewaymarker.
  • Metro Space Gallery, a new, cutting edge art gallery, featuring a variety of works from around the world. Located in the newly developing Historic Arts District in downtown Richmond, across the street from Theatre IV.
  • Quirk Gallery, Located in the Midtown section of Richmond, Quirk features exhibitions of innovative work by both established and emerging artists. Quirk opened in September 2005 and has since been listed by the New York Times as a notable gallery and eclectic retail spot.
  • Gallery 5, Gallery5 is a community oriented, socially motivated art gallery and performing arts center located in Richmond’s Historic Jackson Ward. The gallery opened its doors on April 15, 2005 in an effort to save the life of a National Historic Landmark known as Steamer Company No. 5. Built in 1849, Steamer Company No. 5, is Virginia's oldest fire station and Richmond's oldest police station and jailhouse. This landmark has survived threats of demolition by the City of Richmond for over 3 decades. Without the dedication of volunteers over the past 35 years, an important piece of our city’s history would have been lost. Gallery5 has transformed this esteemed relic into a vibrant maelstrom of sight and sound, hosting more visitors in the first few months of operation than during the entire 25 years of the former museum. On Richmond’s "First Friday Art Walk", Gallery5 regularly attracts some of the largest, most diverse and enthusiastic crowds and has even been noted for holding the most highly-attended art events in Richmond’s history. Gallery5 has received both national and international attention for its past exhibitions and has paved the way for positive change in its community through numerous campaigns, educational workshops, public art collectives and non-profit and grassroots focused programs. Gallery5 is currently operated by volunteers and is powered by a director that holds a relentless passion to preserve history. The founding executive director comes from a lineage of over 100 years of firefighting chiefs once stationed in this building. Brass poles and fire bells, horse and hand-drawn apparatus, jail cells and one of Richmond’s oldest gallows are all hauntingly juxtaposed against a contemporary atmosphere. Breaking the conventions of a typical gallery space, Gallery5 offers a venue for all forms of visual and performing artists to convene, advancing the landmark’s extraordinary history well into the 21st century.


Richmond is home to many architecturally diverse areas. Neighborhoods such as the Fan, Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, Carytown, Oregon Hill and Westover Hills contain buildings in various styles including Colonial, Italianate, Classical revival, Second Empire, Roman Revival, Greek revival, Romanesque, Gothic, Egyptian revival, Modernism, and Post Modernism. Richmond's Monument Avenue contains many examples of classical architecture and is consistently ranked as one of the best streets in America. Several notable architects have designed buildings in Richmond. The Virginia State Capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau in 1785. John Russell Pope designed two buildings in the city, the Branch House and Union Station (also called Broad Street Station). The Branch House is a mansion on Monument Avenue designed in the Gothic style which now serves as the Virginia Center for Architecture building. Union Station, designed in the classical style, is no longer a functioning station but is now home to the Science Museum of Virginia. 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. Robert Mills designed the Monumental Church on Broad Street. Minoru Yamasaki, most famous for his World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, designed the Federal Reserve Building, a sky scraper in downtown Richmond.


Richmond does not have any major league professional sports teams. However, three minor league teams call the city home.

The Richmond Kickers, a United Soccer Leagues Second Division soccer team, began their 17th season in 2009 and play at University of Richmond Stadium. The Richmond Lions, a USA Rugby Division 2 rugby union team, play at Dorey Park in Varina, a Richmond suburb.

The city also is home to the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University's collegiate athletic teams, which compete at the Division I level, and Virginia Union University, which competes in Division II.

The Richmond Coliseummarker, a 13,000 plus seat multi-purpose arena in downtown Richmond, is the home of a large number of sporting events, concerts, festivals, and trade shows. It was also home to the Richmond Renegades of the Southern Professional Hockey League before the team folded following the 2008-09 season, as well as numerous other ice hockey teams before that, and will be the home of the Richmond Raiders of the American Indoor Football Association in 2010. The Colonial Athletic Association has hosted its annual men's basketball tournament at the Coliseum since 1990. The Coliseum has played host as a NCAA men's basketball tournament site and in 1994 played host to the women's basketball Final Four. In December 2006, WWE's Armageddon Live Pay-Per-View was held at the Coliseum.

The Diamondmarker, a 12,134 seat ballpark on Boulevard, is home to the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the Class AA Eastern League (an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) and the VCU Rams college baseball team playing in the NCAA Division I Colonial Athletic Association. Previously, The Diamond was home to the International League's Richmond Braves from its opening until the Braves' relocation to Lawrenceville, Georgiamarker, where they are now called the Gwinnett Braves. There have been talks that a new baseball stadium is going to be built next to Main Street Station on the James River in Shockoe Bottom.

The Stuart C.marker Siegel Centermarker, on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker in downtown Richmond, is the 7,500 plus seat home multi-purpose arena of the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams. The area also plays host to concerts and local and state high school basketball games and tournaments as well as several high school graduations in the surrounding area.

The Robins Centermarker, a 9,071-seat multi-purpose arena, is home to the University of Richmond Spiders basketball. The Richmond Spiders won the Division 1-AA National Championship in football in 2008, defeating the University of Montana 24-7 for the school's first Division I championship in any sport. The team will play its final season at University of Richmond Stadium in 2009 before moving into a new stadium on campus in 2010.

The Arthur Ashe Athletic Centermarker, a 6,000 seat multi-purpose arena named for tennis great and Richmond resident Arthur Ashe, is home to various local sporting events and concerts. In spring of 2010, it will be the temporary home to the Richmond Revolution of the Indoor Football League (not to be confused with the aforementioned Raiders) until the SportsQuestmarker arena in nearby Chesterfieldmarker is completed for the 2011 season.

Auto racing is also very popular in the area, and the Richmond International Racewaymarker also hosts two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup races, IndyCar's "Suntrust Indy Challenge," as well as other community and sporting events.

Southside Speedwaymarker also sits just southwest of Richmond in Chesterfield County, and is a .33 mile oval short-track that 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 current NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin. Richmond was considered as one of the possible resting places for the future NASCAR Hall of Fame, but it was ultimately awarded to Charlotte, North Carolinamarker.

Colonial Downsmarker is a horse racing track in New Kent, Virginia adjacent to Interstate 64, approximately east of Richmond's city limits. The track plays host to the Virginia Derby each July.

Richmond has played host to the Xterra (off-road triathlon) East Championship since 2000. Mountain bikers and Triathletes alike revel in the incredible trail system of the James River Park. Each June the best off-road Triathletes in the world converge on Richmond for the Xterra East Regional Championship bringing with them the Xterra Triathlon festival, including family events, athletic competitions, and a twilight concert.

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 , now known as Monroe Park. Today, Monroe Park sits adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker campus and is one of more than 40 parks comprising a total of more than .

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 mountain bike trail system in James River and Forest Hill parks is considered by professional riders to be one of the best urban trail systems in the country. 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 Islemarker 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 are Byrd Parkmarker and Maymontmarker, located near the fan district of Richmond. 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, buddah 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-hectare) Victorian estate with a museum, formal gardens, native wildlife exhibits, nature center, carriage collection, and children's farm. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardenmarker is located adjacent to the city in Henrico County.

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.

Several theme parks are also located near the city, including Kings Dominionmarker to the north, and Busch Gardens to the east, near Williamsburgmarker. UK-based Diggerlandmarker will soon begin construction of a construction-themed park planned to open in 2007.

Media and popular culture

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the local daily newspaper in Richmond, with a Sunday circulation of 215,000, owned by Media General. Famous comedy news caster Stephen Colbert worked as a fact checker in the late 1980s where he helped expose the largest mail fraud scam in the state of Virginiamarker. Style Weekly is a standard weekly publication covering popular culture, arts, and entertainment, owned by Landmark Communications. City Edition is a weekly news magazine distributed throughout Richmond that focuses on city government and civic life in the city. Richmond Magazine is a monthly magazine. RVA Magazine is the city's only independent art music and culture publication, also a monthly. The Richmond Free Press and the Voice cover the news from an African-American perspective. Spanish-language publications in the city include the newspaper, Centro.

The Richmond metro area is served by many local television and radio stations. The Richmond-Petersburg designated market area (DMA) is the 61st largest in the U.S. with 517,800 homes (0.46% of the total U.S.). The major network television affiliates are WTVR-TVmarker 6 (CBS), WRIC-TVmarker 8 (ABC), WWBTmarker 12 (NBC), WRLH-TVmarker 35 (Fox), and WUPVmarker 65 (CW). Public Broadcasting Service stations include WCVE-TVmarker 23 and WCVWmarker 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.

Many films and television shows have been filmed, in whole or in part, in Richmond, including Finnegan Begin Again, Hannibal, The Jackal, Hearts in Atlantis, The Contender, Shadow Conspiracy, Evan Almighty, and Iron Jawed Angels. Locations featured in the 1990s television cartoon, "Doug," are named after or inspired by areas in Richmond and nearby counties as creator Jim Jenkins was born and raised in Richmond.

Richmond's elite society has also been portrayed in various popular culture references, such as in 1920s novels by Ellen Glasgow and James Branch Cabell, or the 1990s television sitcom A Different World, which featured the character Whitley Gilbert, an obnoxious and wealthy African American debutante.

Richmond has been home to many musicians, most notably GWAR, Lamb of God, Avail, Chris Brown and Carbon Leaf.


Richmond has several historic churches. Because of its early English colonial history from the early 1600s to 1776, Richmond has a number of prominent Anglican/Episcopal churches including Monumental Churchmarker, St. Paul's Episcopal Churchmarker and St. John's Episcopal Churchmarker. 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.

Due to the influx of German immigrants in the 1840s, Saint Johns German Evangelical churchmarker 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 two other Orthodox churches in the immediate Metropolitan area.

The first Jewish congregation in Richmond was Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom. Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalom was the sixth congregation in the United States and was the westernmost in the United States at the time of its foundation. 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 three Orthodox Synagogues, Congregation Kol Emes, Keneseth Beth Israel, and Chabad of the Virginias. There is an Orthodox Yeshivah K-12 school system known as Rudlin Torah academy. 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.

There are several seminaries in Richmond. Three of these have banded together to become the Richmond Theological Consortium. This consortium consists of a theology school at Virginia Union University, a Presbyterian seminary called Union PSCE , and a Baptist seminary known as Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. The McCollough Theological Seminary of the United House of Prayer For All People is located in the Church Hill section of the City.

Three bishops sit in Richmond, 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; and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which encompasses all of central and southern Virginia and its eastern shore. The Presbytery of the James—Presbyterian Church (USA) – also is based in the Richmond area.

There are five masjids in the Greater Richmond area, accommodating the Muslim population. They are Islamic Center of Virginia (ICVA) in the south side, Islamic Society of Greater Richmond (ISGR) in the west end, Masjidullah in the north side, Masjid Bilal near downtown, and Masjid Ar-Rahman in the east end.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was penned in Richmond by Thomas Jefferson.


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 two-year term. Beginning with the November 2008 election Council terms will be 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 (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 councils existing election process — an at large voting system — was racially biased. The verdict required the city to rebuild its council into 9 distinct wards. Within the year the city council switched from majority white to majority black (a reflection of 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 to an at-large, popularly elected Mayor. In a landslide election, incumbent mayor Rudy McCollum was defeated by L. Douglas Wilder, who previously served Virginiamarker as the first elected African American governor in the United States since Reconstruction. The current mayor of Richmond is Dwight Clinton Jones. The Mayor is not a part of the Richmond City Council.

As of March 2009, the Richmond City Council consists of: Kathy C. Graziano, 4th District, President of Council; Ellen F. Robertson, 6th District, Vice-President of Council; Bruce Tyler, 1st District; Charles Samuels, 2nd District; Chris A. Hilbert, 3rd District; E. Martin (Marty) Jewell, 5th District; Betty Squire, 7th District; Reva M. Trammell, 8th District; and Douglas Conner Jr., 9th 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.

Private schools

Colleges and universities

The Richmond area has many major institutions of higher education, including Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker (public), University of Richmondmarker (private), Virginia Union University (private), and the Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education (private). Several community colleges are found in the metro area, including J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and John Tyler Community College (Chesterfield Countymarker). In addition, there are several Technical Colleges in Richmond including ITT Technical Institute, ECPI College of Technology and Beta Tech.

Virginia State University is located about south of Richmond, in the suburb of Ettrickmarker, just outside of Petersburgmarker. Randolph-Macon Collegemarker is located about north of Richmond, in the incorporated town of Ashlandmarker.



Richmond's downtown Main Street Station in 1971.

The Greater Richmond area is served by the Richmond International Airportmarker , located in nearby Sandstonmarker, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Richmond and within an hour drive of historic Williamsburg, Virginiamarker. Richmond International is now served by nine airlines with over 200 daily flights provide 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.

Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines. Local transit and paratransit bus service in Richmond, Henricomarker, and Chesterfieldmarker 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. Recent statistics in the Richmond Times-Dispatch have shown that the vast majority of GRTC riders ride the bus because they do not own a car and have no other choice.

Richmond also has two railroad stations served by Amtrak. Each station receives regular service from north of Richmond from Washington, DCmarker, Philadelphiamarker, and New Yorkmarker. The suburban Staples Mill Road Stationmarker is located on a major north-south freight line and receives all service to and from all points south including, Raleighmarker, Durhammarker, Savannahmarker, Newport Newsmarker, Williamsburgmarker and Floridamarker. The historic and recently renovated Main Street Stationmarker near downtown Richmond only receives trains bound for Newport Newsmarker and Williamsburgmarker at this time, due to its track layout. As a result, the Staples Mill Road station receives more service overall.

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. Other major highways passing through Richmond include U.S. Routes 1, 33, 60, 250, 301 and 360.


Electricity in the Richmond Metro area is provided by Dominion Virginia Power. The company, based in Richmond, is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, serving retail energy customers in nine states. Electricity is provided in the Richmond area primarily by the North Anna Nuclear Generating Stationmarker and Surry Nuclear Generating Stationmarker, as well as a coal-fired station in Chester, Virginiamarker. These three plants provide a total of 4,453 megawatts of power. Several other natural gas plants provide extra power during times of peak demand. These include a facility in Chestermarker, in Surrymarker, and two plants in Richmond (Gravel Neck and Darbytown).

Water is provided by the city's Department of Public Utilities, and is one of the largest water producers in Virginiamarker, with a modern plant that can treat up to 132 million gallons of water a day from the James River.

Wastewater: The treatment plant and distribution system of water mains, pumping stations and storage facilities provide water to approximately 62,000 customers in the city. The facility also provides water to the surrounding area through wholesale contracts with Henricomarker, Chesterfieldmarker, and Hanovermarker counties. Overall, this results in a facility that provides water for approximately 500,000 people. 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 of sanitary sewer, pumping stations, of intercepting sewer lines, and the Shockoe Retention Basin, a 44-million-gallon stormwater reservoir used during heavy rains.

Sister cities

Richmond has six sister cities, as designated by the Sister Cities International, Inc.:

See also


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