AKA, Penitentiary Pond
In the area bounded by Second Street, Gamble’s Hill, & Tredegar Iron Works
Built, before 1800
Filled, after 1880
Witness the transformation of a landscape.
Harvie’s Pond — born of George Washington’s vision of a waterway to the west — was a small turning basin with a wharf, nestled in the wedge-shaped valley between Oregon and Gamble’s hills.
The pond was an important geographic feature, appearing on several maps of the city between 1809 and 1868. Sometimes it was named, many times it was not, and when named, the only commonality was difference. Witness the descriptions given:
As is widely known, the canal was the brainchild of George Washington, and through his influence the canal was chartered in 1785. The initial survey of the canal established the idea of the Richmond Level extending from the foot of 9th Street to a point 3 miles upriver where the river could be navigated by bateau. The Lower Arch (above the present Pump House at Byrd Park) provided access to the canal proper from the river. The Lower Level was completed around the Falls in 1795 with depth of 3 feet and surface width of twenty five feet. The eastern limit of the Lower Level, the Great Turning Basin between 7th and 12th Street, opened in 1800. Construction of the canal also created Harvie’s Pond east of the present location of the Brown’s Island Way. (JRKC)
- Pond – Young Map of Richmond (1809)
- Harvie’s Pond – Bates Map of the City of Richmond (1835)
- Basin – Ellyson Map of the City of Richmond (1858)
- Penitentiary Pond – Pleasants Map of the Lower level of the Lower Section of the James River and Kanawha Canal (1868)
- Basin – Beers. Illustrated Atlas of the City of Richmond (1877)
The basin was carved from land originally owned by Lewis E. Harvie, so better to go with the name of the owner, rather than than let the (then) state prison claim eminent domain over naming rights.
In the years following, Harvie’s Pond was modified as the canal received improvements. An 1823-1825 reconstruction changed the existing width of the canal and towpath. The 1838 reconstruction introduced changes in depth and width, and added an eight-foot granite retaining wall.
Skip forward a few years. Virginia joins the Confederacy, the South loses the war, and a large portion of Richmond burns to the ground. As the city rebuilds, it finds the future in railways, rather than waterways.
The Baist Atlas shows the dramatic transformation of the James River and Kanawha Canal during this period. Harvie’s Pond has been filled in to form a rail yard. A line extends down the north bank of the canal to feed the new rail yard and beyond to the Great Basin rail yard. The Richmond and Alleghany Station is situated in the Tredegar Green Area. On the south bank the wider towpath is the route for Richmond and Alleghany trains to enter the Tredegar Works. [JRKC]
But even the railroads were not insulated from change.
In 1936 the construction of the first Lee Bridge and the Second Street viaduct resulted in the demolition of a large portion of the Oregon Hill neighborhood on the north bank of the canal. The construction of the Virginia War Memorial further removed the residential neighborhood on the north bank of the canal. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad removed its operations from the area and the City of Richmond and Newmarket Corporation acquired sections of the canal in the Tredegar Green Area. Following acquisition, nearly all of the railroad infrastructure was removed from the area. The demolition of the Second Street Viaduct in 1992 resulted in the present structure of Second Street and considerable filling and regrading on the north bank of the canal. [JRKC]
As usual, it’s hard to find RVA ground unplowed by the redoubtable Harry Kollatz of Richmond Magazine. Tyler Potterfield also wrote a fascinating short history on the canal in support of changes to the Tredegar Green area for the proposed new amphitheatre in 2013.
- [JRKC] James River and Kanawha Canal: Timeline and Visual Documentation. Potterfield, T. Tyler. August 2013.
- (LOC) — Beers Illustrated Atlas of the City of Richmond, 1877.
- [TMB] The Mystery Basin, Richmond Magazine. Harry Kollatz. September 29, 2011.
- (VCU) — Baist Map of Richmond, 1889.
Bills advance to expand in-state tuition regardless of citizenship status
The state Senate and the House have advanced bills to make students living in the U.S. without documentation eligible for in-state tuition.
The state Senate and the House have advanced bills to make students living in the U.S. without documentation eligible for in-state tuition.
SB 935, introduced by Democratic Sens. Jennifer Boysko and Ghazala Hashmi, would require a student to provide proof of filed taxes to be eligible for in-state tuition. A student also must have attended high school in Virginia for at least two years, been homeschooled in the state or have passed a high school equivalency exam prior to enrolling in a college. The bill reported out of the House appropriations committee Wednesday and heads to the floor for a vote.
Submitting income tax returns would be a challenge for students straight out of high school who have not worked or filed taxes before, according to Jorge Figueredo, executive director of Edu-Futuro, a nonprofit that seeks to empower immigrant youth and their families.
HB 1547, introduced by Del. Alfonso Lopez, applies the same provisions as SB 935, except the requirement to file proof of filed taxes. The bill is currently in the Senate Health and Education committee.
Immigrant rights advocates have openly supported these two bills. Figueredo said he is “thrilled” to see the bill advance.
“This is something that makes a lot of sense. It’s something where we don’t want to have a group of people to get to a point that they cannot reach their highest potential,” Figueredo said.
Attorney General Mark Herring announced in 2014 that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students would be eligible for in-state tuition. He said Maryland saw an increase in graduation rates after allowing students without documentation to access in-state tuition rates. Maryland officials believe this led less students to drop out of high school because they saw realistic options for continuing education, according to Herring.
There is uncertainty about the future of the DACA program. A study by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis stated that uncertainty creates a risk for students enrolled in Virginia colleges and universities, who fear they could lose DACA status and access to in-state tuition rates. The institute, which studies issues affecting low-to-moderate income residents, recommended that lawmakers could mitigate the potential impact of that loss by expanding in-state tuition access to Virginia residents regardless of immigration status. The institute said that by doing so the state would also provide more affordable access to colleges for residents whose immigration status does not otherwise fall into the categories currently required for in-state tuition.
Figueredo said that allowing these students to apply for in-state tuition would create more opportunities for undocumented students to become professionals, something that would benefit all of Virginia.
High school graduates in Virginia earn about $35,000 on average compared to people with a bachelor’s degree who earn about $65,000 a year, according to The Commonwealth Institute.
“A person that has a higher level of education in comparison to a person that has only a high school diploma, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars that are not captured in the form of taxes, so that’s a direct benefit right there,” Figueredo said.
Katherine Amaya is a freshman at Northern Virginia Community College. Her family emigrated from El Salvador when she was 8 years old. Amaya said she pays out-of-state tuition rates as an undocumented student, about $6,000 per semester, compared to classmates who pay about $2,000 for in-state tuition per semester.
Amaya said she was on the honor roll throughout high school and her first semester in college. She said she was able to apply for scholarships for undocumented students but it was a competitive process. She was awarded a few scholarships and said she was able to use that money for her first semester of college but is afraid she won’t get as much help in the future.
Amaya said she had many friends in high school that were also having a hard time paying for college or university because they were also undocumented and did not qualify for in-state tuition.
“A lot of them, they couldn’t even afford going to community college, so they just dropped out and started working,” Amaya said. “It’s sad, you know, that they don’t have the money or the help to keep going to school.”
Bill banning handheld cellphone use while driving clears House, Senate
The state Senate voted Tuesday in favor of a bill that would prohibit holding a personal communications device while driving a motor vehicle.
By Andrew Ringle
The state Senate voted Tuesday in favor of a bill that would prohibit holding a phone while driving a motor vehicle on Virginia roadways and which implements a penalty for the traffic violation.
House Bill 874 will head to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, who has voiced support for prohibiting the use of handheld cellphones while driving. The measure, sponsored by Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, would go into effect at the start of 2021.
“I’m happy that HB874 passed 29-9 in the Senate,” Bourne said in an email. “HB874 will make our roadways safer for all Virginians by prohibiting drivers from holding a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle.”
The House of Delegates approved the bill Feb. 5 with a 72-24 vote after incorporating four bills with similar proposals. Violations of the measures in HB 874 would result in a fine of $125 for the first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses. If a violation occurs in a highway work zone, there would be a mandatory fee of $250.
Bourne said the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, of which he is a member, supports making Virginia roadways safer without risking “disparate application of law.”
“We were happy to work with Drive Smart Virginia to improve the legislation to ensure that the new law is applied fairly and equitably,” Bourne said.
Hands-free driving garners bicameral and bipartisan support, according to Brantley Tyndall, director of outreach for Bike Walk RVA. He said the defeat of previous bills with similar measures in past years was deflating, but that Bourne’s latest proposal reworked the language to make it successful.
“Bike Walk RVA is happy to see leadership from our area, namely chief patron Delegate Jeff Bourne, choosing to lead this issue on the House side with his bill HB 874,” Tyndall said in an email.
Tyndall called Bourne’s bill a “commonsense safety measure” and said he was glad to see support for the bill from old and new leadership in the General Assembly.
“We can all feel a part of saving dozens or hundreds of lives over the next few years, including the one out of every six traffic fatalities that is a person walking or biking,” Tyndall said.
Current law prohibits reading or typing messages on a personal communications device while driving. However, holding such a device is legal, except while driving in a work zone.
The bill would not apply to emergency vehicle drivers, such as police officers and firefighters, nor employees of the Department of Transportation while performing official duties. It would also exempt drivers who are parked legally or at a full stop.
Last fall, Richmond City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to ban using mobile devices while driving. With a signature from Northam, HB 874 would make the same policy statewide law.
Senate Bill 932 proposed adding school zones to the list of areas where holding a phone while driving is prohibited, which is more limited than HB 874’s proposal. SB 932 failed to advance from a House subcommittee on Monday.
Richmond Police Chief Will Smith said during a press conference in January that his department supports HB 874 and that anyone with children shouldn’t be surprised by the proposal.
“One of the very first things that we all talk about with our kids is, ‘make sure that you leave your phone out of your hand and don’t text, don’t call until you get to your destination,’” Smith said. “Yet we, as an adult society, tend not to obey our own advice.”
The world is coming to Richmond for the Menuhin Competition – the “Olympics of Violin” – this May
The world is coming to Richmond from May 14-24, 2020 for the Menuhin Competition, the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. This Competition, called the “Olympics of the Violin,” is held every two years in different cities around the world.
The world is coming to Richmond from May 14-24, 2020 for the Menuhin Competition, the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. This Competition, called the “Olympics of the Violin,” is held every two years in different cities around the world. Richmond is set to be the host city in 2020—only the second time that the Competition has been held in the U.S.
The Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 will showcase the exceptional talents of 44 competitors: 22 Juniors ages 15 and under, and 22 Seniors from ages 15-21. A record 321 candidates from 32 countries and five continents applied by the Oct. 31 deadline, and the 44 global competitors were announced in January. One of the competitors is from Virginia, Kayleigh Kim.
For 11 days in May, Richmond will be transformed into a celebratory festival of music with competitions, performances, master classes and concerts in several music genres throughout the region. Co-hosts are the Richmond Symphony, the City of Richmond, the University of Richmond, VCU and VPM.
The first round events at Camp Concert Hall at the University of Richmond are free to the public, but a ticket is required for admission and can be requested here. Semi-final rounds will be held at the W.E. Singleton Center at VCU, and final rounds will be held at the Dominion Energy Center downtown.
For more information about the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020, including dates, times, venues and tickets for all of the events, visit the website.