We both retired in June of 2014, but that doesn’t mean we’re done working! Debbie still does a little consulting, and that necessitated a trip to Richmond for a meeting. Normally, it’s an hour and a half from Chesapeake, and a trip Debbie has made many times. This time, however, we were in Abingdon, which is five hours away. So we both decided to make the drive and even spend the night.
The day of the Debbie’s, meeting, I decided to revisit the Civil War in Richmond. The best place to do that is at the Tredegar Iron Works.
It has an interesting take on how the Civil War affected the people of Richmond. Having grown up in Virginia, I am well aware of the many battlefields scattered throughout the state. But this museum personalizes the war a bit more.
The first floor orients you to where the factory is in relation to the city. On the second floor, you can watch a very interesting video telling how the war was fought around the Confederacy’s capital.
Also on that floor are a couple of halls that tell different stories. I especially liked the one about how the war affected the Richmonders still in the city. I hadn’t realized that within Richmond, there were federal, state (it was still the capital of Virginia) and local interests, often at odds with each other.
The third floor tells oral stories of various people and what life was like in the city. All very interesting and unique.
Outside is interesting, too. You can see a lot of machinery still on the grounds and get a clear understanding of what they did. Tredegar was around from before the war until the early 20th century, so there are lots of stories to tell.
But, as they say, wait…there’s more. The iron works is across the street from a terrific park that runs alongside the James River. There’s plenty to look at as you walk along. You can also rent bikes or kayaks.
If you have the time, I would suggest a walk to Belle’s Island. It was home to a notorious prisoner of war camp during the Civil War, and then served as an industrial site for years afterward.
So if you’re in Richmond and want a different take on some Civil War history, Tredegar is a great place to check out.