Along the banks of the James River, Browns Island serves as a beautiful spot to observe a stretch of urban waterway. It was formed as a byproduct of the Haxall Canal and named after Elijah Brown, the island's first settler, who acquired the land in 1826. During the Civil War, ammunition and military supplies were made on the island by the Confederate States Laboratory. From the late 1800s to the 1970s, a paper mill and several power plants were located here. Today, Browns Island connects to the Canal Walk and hosts a variety of festivals, concerts, and art displays. Though it is primarily used as a music venue, the island is also home to various nature walks and is a popular place for sightseeing. Visible from the island are Belle Isle, the Manchester Bridge, and the ruins of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge. Visitors can head over to Browns Island via an extended walkway south through the James River, or north along the Browns Island Dam.
It’s a favorite walking, running, and biking area for locals and visitors alike, along with plenty of historical exhibits and public art to explore. Discover the April 1865 exhibit, the War Memorial, and the American Civil War Center. Keep a look out for eagles, blue heron, osprey, and more. Heading east, you will find over 75 restaurants in the Shockoe area along with some unique shopping. During the summer months, rent mountain bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards. Browns Island is also home to Virginia’s busiest and largest festival, the Richmond Folk Festival, which draws over 400,000 people each year. With so much to see that is so rich with history, visitors won’t hesitate to find the perfect picture to snap.
Cover photo courtesy of Flickr.