The Old South

12 S 17th St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA


Posted 40 months ago

Develop the entire Shockhoe Bottom and Valley into a historical/entertainment attraction along the lines of Williamsburg. Virginia and Richmond in particular can lay claim to the most important center of the Civil War, and should capitalize on this distinction. The Shockhoe sector is the perfect location to do this because of it's proximity to downtown Richmond and perfect access to Interstate 95. Millions of people travel past Richmond on their way North to visit Washington D.C. as a historical attraction and South to the North Carolina beaches. People who come to Virginia to visit Williamsburg and Jamestown would make the convenient trip to visit this major historical attraction. This project would turn the entire Shockhoe area into a living history and educational center focusing on the periods surrounding the Civil War. The nature of this attraction would be a mix of educational and entertainment activities. Central to the project would be the foundation of a major historical research and resource facility housing libraries, a study/research institute, museums and lecture halls. The history and experience of African Americans in the South from before the Civil War and up to the present day would be a major area of study. This pivotal period in American history would be examined from all angles including social, economic, political, military, cultural. To broaden the appeal of this attraction there would be a portion of the area devoted to historical themed entertainment including music, theater, and dining. Specific areas would be designed as entertainment for children including rides, not unlike Disneyworld keyed to education. Areas would also be set off for actual battle reenactments as well as a large living history area allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves into the era. Spill over tours would take visitors in Richmond to visit key historical sites and museums. This project would make Richmond a destination for tourists with enough interest and variety that they would be able to spend several days, staying in hotels, using restaurants and other local attractions as well as shopping. 


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Project Owner

#3 Mico on August 09, 2011

Glad you like the idea carrie_helen and ryeclifton. I've been telling people about it for decades. The usual response I've had is "where do you get the funding?". I remember that at one point Disney really wanted to create a new attraction based on the history of America in Manassas, Virginia, but there were too many people against it. This idea is similar to what they wanted to do, so I think Disney might be a possible partner in something like this. They certainly know how to design, build and manage an attraction like this over the long term. Richmond has hotels and a convention center downtown, but nothing to entice convention goers to bring their event here. If this was done right it could be a reason to come to Richmond. I also think the James River could be utilized in some way as part of the attraction, not unlike what was done in San Antonio. Look at the success and popularity of the Ken Burns series on the Civil War, many people love history and if it was presented in an exciting and entertaining way I really believe the people would come. The entertainment part of it allows tourists to see it as a vacation possibility. To answer your question ryeclifton, I think funding is the main priority. If you can't show that there is a real source of funding to make something like this happen, no one will take it seriously. I suppose the most direct thing to do would be to contact someone like Disney to see if they would even be interested in entertaining such an idea.


#2 carrie_helen on August 09, 2011

This is an excellent idea. When I was teaching in Chesterfield County, I would often suggest doing field trips to Richmond, since my students were studying the Civil War and E.Poe but the other teachers and parents always opted for Washington, DC. Excuses ranged from too dangerous, not organized enough, no good programs, is there even anything there to see? There are a ton of SOL's Richmond can satisfy.


#1 ryeclifton on August 09, 2011

There are some interesting ideas in here. Let's prioritize the list. Where is the best place to start? What is the most important thing on this list to show forward momentum?