C.H. to Richmond, day four, Petersburg to Richmond

Posted: April 5, 2016 in Virginia trips

US-301 extends from the bridge leaving from downtown Petersburg into Colonial Heights,  and then twenty-three miles to central Richmond.   It is one of the ugliest stretches of road in America, rivaling even Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans.   It is congested with various levels of strip malls, stretching from middle class in Colonial Heights to poverty and trailer parks on the south side of Richmond. In some cases developments have been abandoned, leaving the parking lot for posterity.

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I was grasping  for things to photograph.    Do these qualify as streamline moderne?

 

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Just when I thought things were hopeless, I ran into this building.  It is important enough that there is a Wikipedia page about it.  It was built about 1939 as a part of a tobacco processing plant.    They say it is now used as a warehouse for office furniture. Art Deco.

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US-301 crosses the James River as it turns into Belvidere Street, leading into Richmond’s Fan District, west of downtown.

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The Amtrak train back to Raleigh was to leave at 1:00 PM.    The Staples Mill Road Amtrak station is almost outside the city, on the north side.    I bicycled through central west Richmond heading north.

As a city, most of Richmond is a delight.   Bicycling through the Fan District, brick row houses go on for miles.

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Back home in Chapel Hill, I have a coffee table sized picture book by Alan Jacobs, with his list of the twenty finest urban streets in the world.   On his list is Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.   It is a beautiful street; huge statues of Confederate heroes are in traffic circles every few blocks.   The street and the statues were mostly built 1890-1900.   This is the statue of Robert. E. Lee.

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As a Southerner, I have to ask:  if this street was built now, would they still be honoring the leaders of a war that was fought mostly to keep black people enslaved?   A war that we lost?

At the far western end of Monument Avenue is the statue of tennis player Arthur Ashe, which was added to the street in 1996.

 

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I kept bicycling through the industrial parts of northwest Richmond.   I got near the train station early enough to look for a Subway, so I would have something to eat on the train.

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