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Richmond, Virginia, USA - 1854 - Richmond
Richmond, a city, port of entry, capital of Virginia, and seat of justice of Henrico county, is situated on the left or X. E. bank of James river, at the lower falls, and at the head of tide-water, about 100 miles in a straight line S. by W. from Washington. The distance by railroad is 130 miles from Washington; 168 from Baltimore, and 22 N. from Petersburg. Lat. of the capitol, 37° 32' 17" N., Ion. 77° 27' 28" W. It is the largest town in Virginia, and one of the most beautiful in the Union. The situation of the city and the scenery of the environs are much admired, combining, in a high degree, the elements of grandeur, beauty, and variety. The river, winding among verdant hills which rise with graceful swells and undulations, is interrupted by numerous islands and granite rocks, among which it tumbles and foams for a distance of several miles. The city is built on several hills, the most considerable of which are Shockoe and Richmond hills, separated from each other by Shockoe creek. It is laid out with general regularity in rectangular blocks. About 12 parallel streets, nearly 3 miles in length, extend N. W. and S. E. and were originally distinguished by the letters of the alphabet, A street being next the river : other names, however, are now generally used. The principal thoroughfare of business and fashion is Main, or E street. Those which intersect it are named from the ordinal numbers, First, Second, Third, &c. The capitol and other public buildings are situated on Shockoe hill ; the top of which is an elevated plain in the western part of the city. This is the fashionable quarter, and is considered the most desirable for private residences. The capitol, from its size and elevated position, is the most conspicuous object in Richmond. It stands in the centre of a public square, of about 8 acres, is adorned with a portico of Ionic columns, and contains a marble statue of Washington, by Houdon, taken from life, and considered a perfect likeness. The City Hall is an elegant and costly building in the Doric style, at an angle of Capitol square. A short distance from the capitol is the governor's residence. The penitentiary, which stands near the river in the western suburbs of the city, has a front 300 feet in length, and is 110 feet deep. The number of prisoners in September, 1853, was 270. The city contains also a court house, a jail, an armory 320 feet long by 280 wide, 2 market houses, a theatre, an orphan asylum, and a Masonic hall...
Richmond possesses an immense water- power derived from the falls of James river, which, from the commencement of the rapids, a few miles above the city, descends about 100 feet to the tide level. Few places in the state, or in the whole country, possess greater natural advantages for productive industry, which has recently attracted much attention. The principal articles produced here are flour, tobacco, cotton and woollen goods, paper, machinery, and iron ware. The brand of the City Flour Mills has acquired, perhaps, more celebrity than any other in the country. The Gallego and Haxall Mills are 5 or 6 stories high, 94 feet long, and about 80 feet wide. Richmond contains about 40 tobacco factories, some of which arc very extensive, and several rolling mills and cotton factories. This city was founded by an act of Assembly in May, 1742, and be came the capital of the state in 1779-80, at which period it was an insignificant place, having scarcely any thing to interest except the grandeur of its scenery. In 1787 it contained about 300 houses. Population in 1800, 5737; in 1810, 9785; in 1820, 12,067: in 1830, 16,060: in 1840, 20,153; in 1850, 27,570, of which 17,043 were free, and 9927, slaves.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
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