Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Bridges - The James River

Getting ready to cross the James River in Buchanan....nothing fancy, just a good old practical kind of bridge see more bridges from all over the world, visit good ol Louis La Vache

About the James:

The James River is a 410 mile river that runs through Virginia. It is the 12th longest river in the United States that runs entirely in one state.

History of the James:

The Native Americans who populated the area east of the fall line in the late 16th and early 17th centuries called the James River the Powhatan River, named for the chief of the Powhatan Confederacy which extended over most of the Tidewater region of Virginia. The English colonists named it "James" after King James I of England, as they also constructed the first permanent English settlement in the Americas in 1607 at Jamestown along the banks of the James River about 35 miles (56 km) upstream from the Chesapeake Bay.

The navigable portion of the river was the major highway of the Colony of Virginia during its first 15 years, facilitating supply ships delivering supplies and more people from England. However, for the first five years, despite many hopes of gold and riches, these ships sent little of monetary value back to the sponsors. In 1612, businessman John Rolfe successfully cultivated a non-native strain of tobacco which proved popular in England. Soon, the river became the primary means of exporting the large hogsheads of this cash crop from an ever-growing number of plantations with wharfs along its banks. This development made the proprietary efforts of the Virginia Company of London successful financially, spurring even more development, investments and immigration. Below the falls at Richmond, many James River plantations had their own wharfs, and additional ports and/or early railheads were located at Warwick, Bermuda Hundred, City Point, Claremont, Scotland, and Smithfield, and, during the 17th century, the capital of the Colony at Jamestown.

Navigation of the James River played an important role in early Virginia commerce and the settlement of the interior, although growth of the colony was primarily in the Tidewater regions during the first 75 years. The upper reaches of the river above the head of navigation at the fall line were explored by fur trading parties sent by Abraham Wood during the late 17th century.

Although ocean-going ships could not navigate past present-day Richmond, portage of products and navigation with smaller craft to transport crops other than tobacco was feasible. Produce from the Piedmont and Great Valley regions traveled down the river to seaports at Richmond and Manchester through such port towns as Lynchburg, Scottsville, Columbia and Buchanan.


  1. You and I are doing the same thing this morring. Since it is STILL rainy and chilly, I guess I will be playing on the computer again today. Sorry I have neglected you these last few weeks, but the PSE9 classes about took it all out of me. I had to struggle just to keep up with my daily posts. Thanks for sticking with me...appreciate it. We need to get together soon...maybe tea in downtown Roanoke. Would love to see how the market building is coming along. I am off for break next week and cannot wait.I need it badly. Like your post this is one of those bridges we see all the time in these parts. Hope you have at least a restful Sunday if not a pretty and sunny one.

  2. oh that's ok genie, i know i get busy too and don't get a chance to visit any blogs....the sun is supposed to come out soon and warm up...looking forward to it! we don't get spring break till the end of the month, enjoy yours!

    yes, we shall get together one of these days...there's a great little tea tavern near me that i've not been to yet, a friend of mine works there and it's just one of those places i've been meaning to stop by and just haven't yet i think you would like it!

  3. Loved reading that bit of history, very interesting. And I like long stretches of deserted road leading to bridges! Happy Sunday!

  4. i love long stretches of empty road too! it was a nice peaceful drive yesterday morning for me...i was picking my daughter up from her friend's house and enjoyed my little trip through the country!

  5. I like to drive on roads like this where bridges sneak up on you. I always look for a place to pull off to see what's around the bridge, but no room here :-(

  6. oh i know woody, there's not a lot of room to pull off here either, drives me crazy! everytime i see something i want to take a picture of, there's just no place to stop...sometimes i can just stop in the middle of the road and roll my window down, but then sometimes i have to just be happy with a shot through the windshield, like this lol

  7. Nothing wrong with a nice practical bridge. We need them!! :)

  8. I'm like Woody (and you) when I am travelling on back roads and see a bridge. You just know that there is something interesting beyond if only you could get exploring.

  9. Cool and unusual vantage point for a bridge! Thanks for the info too.

  10. I enjoyed the history concerning the James River. :)


Hi! I'm so happy you've stopped by and always enjoy your comments :)