LOCATION: Brown’s Island near the foot of the bridge over the Haxall Canal at the of 7th Street.
ARTIST: Paul DiPasquale.
DEDICATION: Nov. 25, 1993 (bronze statue).
DESCRIPTION: The 9 1/2 foot tall bronze sculpture commemorates the contributions of the black boatman on the James River. His two arms are holding an oar and his head looks to his side over his shoulder. The boat is made of cypress and oak and his hands are attached to a wooden oar.
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Brown’s Island is one of the most essential outdoor party places in downtown Richmond, and Headman is there to welcome visitors to at the bottom of the staircase as they cross the long footbridge to enter the island.
The vistas from Brown’s Island of the downtown skyline, the James River, CSX train viaduct and the many other man-made structures makes this a great place to unwind.
Big events like the Richmond Folk Festival & Friday Cheers. All the summer food & music festivals, adventure games, car shows — down to the daily lunchtime walkers — all of it. Since the first time I noticed the boatman, I always take a few moments to see how he’s doing.
The original fiberglass version of ‘Headman’ was stolen away in 1989 to Hanover County, shot full of holes and vandalized. The current bronze statue was dedicated in 1993 and has held down the fort at Brown’s Island ever since. I think the city does a great job of making wonderful little places like this for people to see the diverse history of this old town.