Monday, November 26, 2012

Byrd Park: A Jewel in the Middle of the City

These days, we might not think of a new reservoir as an opportunity to build a large municipal park, but that is just what happened here in Richmond! As Doug Childers notes in today's Richmond Times Dispatch, in the 1870's, when city planners decided to supplement Richmond's reservoir near Hollywood Cemetery with one at the southern end of the present day Boulevard, parks came naturally to mind. New York City's Central Park, which has a reservoir at its center, was the crown jewel in a landscape architecture movement that spurred public parks on a national scale.

Richmond's interest in having a large public park in the style of Central Park dates back to the years immediately following the Civil War. So when Richmond's plans for a new municipal waterworks facility were announced in 1873, the city decided to fuse the two projects. The resulting park became one of the city's largest public works projects of the 19th Century. The 60-acre park was initially called "New Reservoir Park" and was renamed William Byrd Park in 1907. Over time, the park grew into an immensely popular 200-acre retreat with three lakes. Today's Byrd Park is a short walk from Maury Place at Monument.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument