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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Richmond Dock / Chapel Island

 
 
Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
1. Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker
Inscription.
Richmond Dock

In 1816, the Virginia legislature chartered the Richmond Dock Company. It operated independently of the James River and Kanawha Canal until 1854, when the Tidewater Connection was constructed. The Tidewater Connection, a series of locks and basins from 17th Street to the Canal Basin, joined Richmond Dock to the Kanawha Canal. Much of the labor to build these waterways was provided by African Americans and immigrants, whose strength and toil moved the earth and hauled the stone. With the opening of the Tidewater Connection, the long-held vision of a canal link from the mountains to the sea became a reality. The canal flourished during the 1850s, but after the Civil War railroad cars proved more efficient than canal boats. The canal towpath was taken for the Richmond & Alleghany Railroad in 1880.

Chapel Island

Across the canal is Chapel Island, named for the early Episcopal chapel there, active prior to the 1741 founding of St. John’s Episcopal Church (north of here on Church Hill). For many years, when the island was lower in elevation, a good portion of it was often submerged and used as the Sandy Bar fishery. In the late 19th century, Mrs. Jane King’s Ice Co. warehouse and wharf were located at the upper end. The island’s most famous occupant was William R. Trigg’s shipyard,
Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
2. Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker
established at the turn of the 20th century. Trigg produced both naval and commercial vessels. In 1900, the United States Navy commissioned several torpedo boats and, a few years later, two destroyers, the USS Dale and USS Decatur, which served in the U.S. Navy’s Asiatic Fleet. Today, a substantial portion of Chapel Island is occupied by the Norfolk Southern Railroad yard and the city’s sewage retention basin, completed in 1979.
 
Erected 2011 by Virginia Capital Trail.
 
Location. 37° 31.673′ N, 77° 25.384′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker is on Dock Street 0.2 miles east of South 22nd Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond VA 23223, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tobacco Row (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk and Southern Bridge (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Water Quality in the James (about 600 feet away); Here Stood the Trigg Shipyard (about 600 feet away); 28th St Draw Bridge / Great Shiplock Canal (about 700 feet away); Welcome to Chapel Island
Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
3. Richmond Dock / Chapel Island Marker
(about 800 feet away); The Tidal James (approx. 0.2 miles away); Great Ship Lock (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker. Photo captions:

The launching of the USS Decatur, 1900 Valentine Richmond History Center

View of Richmond (detail)
Watercolor by J.L. Bouqueta de Woiseri, 1822. The view from Mayo’s Island shows a cluster of schooners in the just-completed Richmond Dock and the retaining wall that held in the water. Virginia Historical Society

The Trigg shipyard on Chapel Island and Richmond Dock
Lithograph by A. Hoen, Richmond, ca. 1900. The shipyard had its own basin and lock, which allowed vessels to be launched into the James River. There is still a remnant of one of the ship lock gates on the island. Richmond Dock could accommodate schooners and steamers, but the bridges that carried city streets over the canal allowed only low-rise canal boats to continue west to the James River and Kanawha Canal. Valentine Richmond History Center
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Two-masted schooner image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
4. Two-masted schooner
This was the most commonly seen cargo ship at Richmond Docks during the mid to late 1800s.
Torpedo boat image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 20, 2011
5. Torpedo boat
In 1900-1902, Trigg’s shipyard built three torpedo boats, the USS Shubrick, the USS Stockton and the USS Thornton. They were used to patrol the U.S. coast.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,615 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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