Near Chester in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Changes Over Time
The intertwined history of the land and the water
— Dutch Gap Conservation Area: A Changing Story —
The story of Dutch Gap demonstrates the importance of the river throughout history revealing a partnership of man’s use of land and water. Today, the river’s commercial and recreational activities continue, providing a backdrop to Dutch Gap’s restoration, preservation and conservation efforts.
Powhatan Indians fish and carry furs, food and other trade items in dugout canoes.
Sir Thomas Dale and 300 settlers build the Citie of Henricus as Virginia’s frontier moves westward.
America’s first English hospital, Mt Malady, is established. John Rolfe introduces tobacco, which launches Virginia’s first successful economic venture.
America’s first college, The College of Henricus, is chartered.
Early settlers use shallops to navigate shallow waters to nearby settlements and plantations.
Colonists turn to batteaux, sloops and barges for water transportation.
Benedict Arnold and British troops capture Virginia’s navy along the southern tip of the Dutch
Packets carry cargo from Richmond to Baltimore, New York and Boston.
More than 2,600 boats and ships enter and depart from the Richmond docks.
Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Federal forces begin to dig a channel near the original 1611 Citie site to eliminate the large loop in the James that contains Confederate land batteries. Federal soldiers, under constant fire, labor 144 days on the channel.
Channel project is abandoned when a bulkhead explosion blasts earth back into the newly dug causeway.
U.S. Government completes dredging and opens the channel, turning the peninsula into an island with tidal and non-tidal marshlands.
The steamship Sylvester is the first commercial vessel to use the new channel.
Army Corp of Engineers extends the channel. This eliminates another loop in the river.
Sand and gravel is mined, creating a tidal lagoon.
Dutch Gap Conservation Area is created as a regional partnership providing historical, environmental and recreational activities to thousands of visitors each year.
Motorboats, jet skis and other recreational craft negotiate the narrow channels of the James with tugboats, barges and large ocean-going vessels hauling international cargo to and from the Port of Richmond.
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Parks & Recreational Areas • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1611.
Location. 37° 22.572′ N, 77° 21.576′ W. Marker is near Chester, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker can be reached from Henricus Park Road 1.3 miles east of Coxendale Road. The marker is located in Henricus Historical Park 300 yards north of the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester VA 23836, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Smith Explores the Chesapeake (a few steps from this marker); Henricus Historical Park (within shouting distance of this marker); The Church of Henricopolis (within shouting distance of this marker); Henricopolis (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lightkeeper’s House (within shouting distance of this marker); Dutch Gap Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bermuda Hundred Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); USCTs At Dutch Gap (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chester.
Also see . . .
1. Henricus Historical Park. (Submitted on February 15, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
2. Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. (Submitted on February 15, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
3. Dutch Gap Conservation Area. (Submitted on February 15, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 15, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 923 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on February 15, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 2. submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.