LOCATION: Canal Walk, near the corner of the 12th and Byrd Streets.
DEDICATION: June 10, 1907.
DESCRIPTION: The bronze cross, which is mounted on a pyramidal base of mortar and river stones and initially erected on Gamble’s Hill to commemorate the arrival of Captain Christopher Newport, John Smith and party May 24, 1607. The City moved the Cross in 1983 when its site was acquired by industry. The cross was erected by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.
A bronze reproduction of the wooden cross raised by Newport when English explorers first sailed up the James River as far as “The Falls” is located just uphill from Pipeline Rapids. It’s believed Newport and his small band of men, which included Captain John Smith, planted the cross on May 24, 1607. Research by the Valentine Richmond History Center indicates the original site was near the 14th Street Bridge.
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The Cross is next to the Riverside on the James condominiums at the midpoint for the Canal Walk and will be a witness to the development of a key area of downtown Richmond’s progression. There are viable living spaces, restaurants and retail options on the Canal, but the crown jewel may be the development of the former Reynolds Metals building, right across the alleyway from Christopher Newport’s cross.
I’ll be rooting for it — I love the Canal Walk. It combines my favorite things about downtown: The river, history, sight-seeing, outdoors, walking, adventures…and one day I hope we will be able to paddle in the canal from this point. My family will often take walks along the Canal and picnic wherever the sun is peaking through the tall buildings. There is so much to see, with the Canal, Brown’s Island, Pipeline Rapids, trains, white water paddlers, Great Blue Herons, etc.