Virginia War Memorial

Richmond Travel Blog

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Having missed the turn towards the Visitor Center for the battlefield, I passed the white stone war memorial.  After turning around, I pulled into the parking lot for the memorial.   A little bit lower than the actual memorial, the walk up the steps gave me a chance to admire the tall structure.  Originally built in 1955 to honor the dead from WWII and the Korean War, the long rectangular shrine gained additions to honor both Vietnam (1981) and the Persian Gulf Conflict (1996).  The shrine is open on the short ends, a stone wall on the right, glass walls on the left.  The names of the deceased are engraved on the two solid walls.  The sheer number of names is a bit mindboggling.  I have been to the Vietnam War Memorial in DC with its many names; here on one wall are thousands of names from WWII alone.

  The names were listed in a geographical order which I liked; that made the names more real, gave them a place to be attached to. 

At the far end of the shrine, just under the roof stands Memory, a white marble sculpture.  She looks down, silent.  My first glimpse of the statue had been on my drive past.  Up close she is imposing but not intimidating.  At the base of the 23-ft tall sculpture are an eternal flame Torch of Liberty and a fresh rose bud.

Also on site is a small museum with a few displays of uniforms from each of the wars remembered.  Another display contains models of various warplanes from WWII.  A bed of memorial roses lines the walkway by the museum.

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train engine

Originally a small mill, the Tredegar Iron Works grew and helped the city of Richmond become the center of iron manufacturing in the southern US.  The capacity to produce contributed to Richmond's choice as the capital of the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out.

The Tredegar Iron Works is the main Visitor Center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park and also the American Civil War Museum.  You can park right next to the center for $3 or as I did, go a little farther down the block and hope for an open spot at the parking for Belle Isle.  An elevated track runs right past this parking lot and a train was creeping slowly by when I arrived.

I wandered around the courtyard area first.

  While some of the ironworks have been restored to their design around the time of the Civil War, other walls still have a crumbling appearance.  Large black machinery reminds visitors of the bustling noise and activity that once filled the air here.

Up the black stairwell, I then headed into the Visitor Center which is in the former Pattern building.  The three levels though all dealing with the Civil War are still distinct not only in the aspect of the war addressed but also in look--each level architecturally represents a different period in the building's life.  The lowest level displays military artifacts of the war--a small boat, cannonballs, and staffs from different regiments.  The middle level--recommended to view first--contained the ranger station, gift shop, and a variety of photos and maps.  The maps were useful to help visualize the battles in the area since they spanned multiple days and locations.  The top level named Voices of Richmond took a look at the war from two fronts: military and home.

Back outside, I walked around the upper level of the site, past the sculpture commemorating Lincoln's visit to the city after its surrender, past the smaller brick building that once housed the general store, past some modern art up on the hill.  My final stop was by a large piece of wheeled equipment.  I believe it was used to help press metal but I can't remember for sure.

train engine
train engine
the shrine
the shrine
view through the glass walls
view through the glass walls
statue Memory
statue Memory
eternal flame
eternal flame
chimney
chimney
To bind up the nations wounds
To bind up the nation's wounds
skeleton of worker housing
skeleton of worker housing
the obligatory picture of me, take…
the obligatory picture of me, tak…
Richmond
photo by: tj1777