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

Old Westham Bridge

Old Westham Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 25, 2009
1. Old Westham Bridge Marker
Inscription. The road ahead once led to a stone and steel bridge that connected the 20th century community of Southampton behind you with the colonial village of Westham on the north shore. Prior to its construction, the closest car link between Henrico and Chesterfield was over the old Ninth Street Bridge in downtown Richmond. This was over a dozen miles out of the way on bumpy dirt roads.

The bridge originally charged a fee. The toll collector lived in a cottage at the north end of the bridge - and he had a reputation for binge drinking. One day he got violently drunk and was last seen floating down the river! That was the end of the tolls.

The bridge was built with trolley tracks down the middle. Richmond had the first electric trolley system in the nation and it was expected that the route would reach here. It did not and the tracks were removed.

Observe the narrowness of the road. The bridge was designed to accommodate the two-way traffic of 1910 era cars. The wider cars of the 1930s and 1940s made passing on the bridge a hair-raising stunt!

In the 1800s, a ferry operated near this spot. In 1911 the sturdy but low Westham Bridge was built. By mid century it was considered obsolete because the approach roads at both ends went under water during floods.

In 1950 the Huguenot
Old Westham Bridge road trace. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 25, 2009
2. Old Westham Bridge road trace.
Bridge was built. (It is to your right but out of sight). It is higher and longer and not affected by floods. It is also at the end of its life span and will be replaced soon.

James River Park System Department of Parks Recreation and Community Facilities

Sign donated by the James River Park Fund
Erected by James River Park Fund.
Location. 37° 33.577′ N, 77° 32.793′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Southampton Road, on the right when traveling west on Riverside Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond VA 23235, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Richmond Defences (approx. 1.4 miles away); Granite and History (approx. 1˝ miles away); Three-Chopt Road (approx. 1˝ miles away); Wilton (approx. 1˝ miles away); Pony Pasture Rapids (approx. 1˝ miles away); a different marker also named Wilton (approx. 1.8 miles away); Ampthill (approx. 1.9 miles away); Windsor (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. On the right is a photo of the Old Westham Bridge. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society
Also see . . .
1. James River Park System. City of Richmond. Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities (Submitted on October 31, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Friends of James River Park. (Submitted on October 31, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. 20th CenturyBridges & ViaductsRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 31, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,174 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 31, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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