I’ve reached stop number three of my summer adventures: Richmond, VA.
Yesterday I spent the day exploring Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. [Tangent: whose idea was it to put the capital of the Confederacy so close to the border of the Union? That just seems like poor planning in my mind.] After living near Boston–the birthplace of the American Revolution–for so many years, it was fun to see the way this city remembers its spot in society. Because, really, the Civil War was the “War of Northern Aggression.” I think that kids would enjoy studying the Civil War much more if they lived a in a city where it had actually happened.
The day began with a canal cruise, where I received an overview of the canal system as well as a summary of key historic features of Richmond. After trying to walk along the canal (which was blocked off for an event) I visited the Tredegar Iron Works, the site where much of the ammunition of the Civil War was manufactured. The architecture of the old buildings was very cool, although it would have been nice to see more of a recreation of the process of creating the ammunition–there’s only so much that artifact displays can do (although I did snag transcripts of a primary source document for my future classroom). It was ironic that two years ago I visited the Saugus Iron Works–a very different type of iron manufacturing plant–in Massachusetts.
The day concluded with a visit to the Byrd Theater–a movie theater that used to play silent movies and still has the organ set up that would accompany it. For fifteen minutes before the movie began, the organ came up and played. The whole theater itself was decorated more as if it was preparing for a play, but as the curtain lifted, you could see a movie screen set up behind it. Not the theater for an IMAX 3D experience, but well worth $2 and a couple of hours.