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Capitol Square Richmond Virginia

Updated on October 23, 2012

The Capitol Building

This is the Capitol Building built in 1788
This is the Capitol Building built in 1788 | Source

Capitol Square Richmond Virginia

A markerCapitol Square Richmond Virginia -
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Capitol Square Richmond Virginia

A Wonderful Square of Green

If you every get to Richmond then Capital Square is a must see place, which has monuments and buildings that reflect the history and importance of Richmond's place in America's history.

Capitol Square is a wonderful square of green surrounded on all sides by large imposing buildings.

It is easy to access this historic square from the I-95 there are plenty of car parks in easy walking distance from the square.

There is also some on street parking available almost at the entrance of the Square at a very reasonable rate.

We parked on E. Grace Street and it only cost a couple of dollars for two hours to park.

Unfortunately, the on street parking is limited to a maximum of two hours and traffic wardens check regularly to ensure that cars do not over stay.

Capitol Square Richmond Virginia

This square of green is home to the Capitol Building built in 1778, the Governor’s Mansion built in 1813 and the Bell Tower built in 1824.

Right in the centre of Capitol Square is the State Capitol Building built in 1788 and it has been in constant use making the building the home of the oldest legislature to be in continuous operation in the whole of the Western Hemisphere.

Thomas Jefferson designed this impressive looking building and this design is the basis of many of the landmark building in operation throughout the United States today.

I think Jefferson was influence by many of the fine buildings he saw during his time in Europe.

The day we were there a film crew was dismantling its equipment after filming a piece for the Steven Spielberg film about the life of Abraham Lincoln.

The Capitol building had been dressed to look like the North Portico of the DC White House during the Civil War. We missed the action by just a day or two.

The Capitol Building

The film crew packing away the last of their stuff after filming.
The film crew packing away the last of their stuff after filming. | Source

The Executive Mansion aka The Governor's Mansion

Alexander Parris is the architect of the Executive Mansion which was built 1811 the confederates used this building during the the Civil War as Confederacy offices.

This square is not only an integral part of Virginian and confederate history but also that of the birth of that great nation America.

The Executive Mansion aka The Governor's Mansion

The Executive Mansion aka The Governor's Mansion
The Executive Mansion aka The Governor's Mansion | Source

Capitol Area Site Plan

Capitol Area Site Plan

A Capitol Area Site Plan is situated at the entrance to the Square.

It is useful to spend a few moments looking at the plan as it helps you plan the most interesting way to see the Square.

This plan names all the buildings of interest on the Square and of those surrounding the Square.

The Statues - George Washington

One of the most impressive features of Capitol Square are its amazing bronze statues. Although sculptured by different artist one-thing remains constant and that is the quality of the statues, which in each case is outstanding.

The most impressive and the oldest statue on the Square is that of the American Revolutionary War Ggeneral George Washington in his uniform mounted on his horse.

When measured from top to bottom including the base this statue stands a staggering sixty feet high and the statue of Washington on his horse being twenty feet of that.

George Washington went on to become the first ever American President though back then of course, there were only thirteen States. These thirteen States were formally the thirteen colonies of Great Britain.

This statue was commissioned to honour not only the man but also to honour the important part that Virginia played in the process of gaining independence from the British during the war of Independence.

The American sculptor Thomas Crawford sculpted this statue and it was cast in Germany.

It was in the shadow of this statue that the swearing in of the second President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis in 1862 took place.

The image of this statue forms the centrepiece of The Great Seal of the Confederacy States of America.

Round the base of this statue are six of Virginia’s leaders during the fight for independence and the area of their contributions.

These men are

  • Andrew Lewis, Colonial Times;
  • Patrick Henry, Revolution;
  • George Mason, Bill of Rights;
  • Thomas Jefferson, Independence;
  • Thomas Nelson, Finance;
  • John Marshall, Justice.

The cornerstone of this sculpture was laid on Washington's Birthday, February 22nd, 1850; the unveiling of it took place on February 22nd, 1858.

There is a tomb inside the base of this statue that was built to hold the remains of Washington but that plan was never carried out.

George Washinton

Six Allegorical Figures

At the base of the Washington statue are the six allegorical figures, the last of which was put into place in 1868.

At the base of this statue are the six allegorical figures, the last of which was put into place in 1868.

These six allegorical figures are six bronze female figures representing the important facts and sentiments of the Revolutionary war.

  • Revolution
  • Colonial Times
  • Justice
  • Finance
  • Independence
  • The Bill of Rights.

Each of the figures is also associated with a famous battle.

Allegorical Figures

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Another of these excellent statues is that of General Thomas Jackson who was born in Clarksburg, Virginia on January 21st 1824.

John Henry Foley the Irish sculptor designed the Jackson statue which was unveiled on October 26th 1875.

It is unusual to hear Jacksons name without it being coupled with the name Stonewall.

I wondered what the reason behind the name Stonewall and why it had been given to Jackson.

It seems that during the Battle of First Manassas General Bernard Bee in an effort to encourage and rally his men is reputed to have exhorted

"Look! There's Jackson standing like a stonewall! Rally behind the Virginians!"

A less popular and flattering explanation is that General Bee was complaining to his men that Jackson was standing there like a Stonewall instead of coming to his aid in the battle.

We will never know which of these is the true origin of a name that stuck with the General right to this day because, General Bee was killed soon after making this remark.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial

This is the newest monument on Capitol Square being unveiled on July 21st 2008.

This memorial has four sides containing 18 statues.

Stanley Bleifeld the sculptor of this memorial calls this monument a “Living Memorial”

On two of the sides carved in the granite block behind the statues are quotes.

  • "It seemed like reaching for the moon." Barbara Rose Johns
  • "The legal system can force open doors and sometimes even knock down walls, but it cannot build bridges. That job belongs to you and me." – Thurgood Marshall

This memorial cost $2.8 million, which was raised by private donations.

Barbara Johns was the one who called the school strike in 1951 to protest about the appalling condition of their run down school.

The lawsuit that came about afterwards led to the Supreme Court banning segregated public schools.


Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe

There is a seated statue of the writer Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe was an author, poet, editor and literary critic.

Poe was born in BostonMassachusetts on January 19th in the year 1809.

His father abandoned the family in1810 and a year later his mother died from consumption.

He has a place in this Square because he came to live in Richmond after his mother died.

Poe went to live with John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant in RichmondVirginia.

I remember his tales such as The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, The tell Tale Heart were a staple of the Hammer Horror films in the 1960s.

The horror movies based on Poe’s tales were some of the best produced at that time; well they scared me that's for sure.

Poe grew up in Richmond and he was to return to Richmond later in his life to edit The Southern Literary Messenger.

A Beautiful Green Oasis

The Square is a beautiful green oasis, which is remarkably quite.

The Square has been laid out to give the visitor and the residents of Richmond and place to sit and watch the world go by in lovely surroundings.

Situated throughout the square are mature trees, flowering bushes and flower beds.

There are lots of park benches situated throughout the Square which makes it a wonderful place just to sit and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you.

When you sit on one of the many park benches you will not be on your own long as the local wildlife will soon be around to see you.

Some of the Mature Trees

I just love the bottom of this tree trunk the tree was huge.
I just love the bottom of this tree trunk the tree was huge. | Source
Young man reading his text messages on his phone watched by a curious squirrel
Young man reading his text messages on his phone watched by a curious squirrel | Source
It looked like the squirrel was asking if the text was for him
It looked like the squirrel was asking if the text was for him | Source


The Square is home to quite a few squirrels that seem to go about their business very un-perturbed by the presence of the many visitors in the park.

The squirrels are quite bold and I think they look to the visitors as another potential source of food.

If you sit quietly on one of the benches near where they are, they will often approach you.



The December Blooms

Not much is in bloom in late December so there was not much to see in the way of flowers but the gardeners were hard at work making sure that there was the odd splash of colour around.

Those few flowers that were in bloom were a testament to the skill of these gardeners, I think they were getting the Capitol Square ready for some big event on New Years Day.

Below are a selection of photographs of some of those December flowers that I took that day.

The December Blooms

Aren't they a pretty colour?
Aren't they a pretty colour? | Source
A lone rose on this bush
A lone rose on this bush | Source
A Geranium
A Geranium | Source
A Geranium
A Geranium | Source
I think this is a Pansy
I think this is a Pansy | Source
A Rose
A Rose | Source
A Rose
A Rose | Source
A Rose
A Rose | Source

Zero Milestone

Situated in the Square is this marker which is the zero milestone.

It is from the location of this marker that the distances from Richmond on the Highways of Virginia are measured.

Zero Milestone


I hope that you have enjoyed your virtual visit to Capitol Square in Richmond Virginia.

Please leave a comment when you drop by so that I can say thank you for your visit.


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    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Thank you so much Sheila for your lovely comments I am so pleased that you have enjoyed the Hub.

      Thank you also for voting up and hitting buttons both much appreciated :D maggs

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Wonderful hub. You have such a great amount of interesting information and your pictures are wonderful! I HAVE to get to Richmond and see these wonderful places! I love this hub, voted up and awesome. Have a wonderful day!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      You are most welcome Mhatter I am so pleased that you like it thank you so much for leaving a comment I really appreciate it :D

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this beautiful and picturesque tour

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I think that I have walked on the beach in Naples, it was on my first or second visit to the States in the early 90's.

      It was a very nice beach if my memory serves me right and I can see why you love it there.

      You and I are alike in that respect being a nature lover those are the things that catch my eye too :D

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      I loved the photos of the buildings and statues, too - I didn't mean to forget about those - I am just so into nature that the flowers and squirrels caught my eye. lol. Yes, the U.S. is experiencing unusual weather as is the rest of the world. Last year was the mild winter up north and I do remember the year before that it was frigid. So, you never know what you are going to get weather wise in the winter. That is why I like Naples, FL - sunshine and warm everyday - much like Spain!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I am so pleased that you enjoyed the photos in this hub Suzette, there were not many flowers about in the park at this time so that is why I did macros of the few that were there.

      I was in Virginia at around the same time two years previous to this and we had 18 inches of snow fall during one night.

      When I visited Washington on that visit the Reflecting Pool was frozen solid and I have to say that I have never experienced such bitter cold before.

      It seems like this part of America can have quite changeable weather freezing one day and Tee-shirt weather the next.

      Thank you so much for commenting I really appreciate it regards maggs :D

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Oh, your photos are stunning! I like especially the photos of the squirrels and the flowers. It is somewhat warm in VA in the winter and hence the flowers are able to bloom then. How gorgeous! You have written about and photographed the best of America. I have seen these buildings when I was a child, but I haven't been back to Richmond since then. You make Richmond look absolutely fabulous! And for a Brit, you gave us quite a history lesson! Thank you and sharing!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Wow Tammy what a wonderful comment to start off my day with, thank you so much for your kind words, you have really made my day :D maggs

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost 5 years ago from Oregon

      This is one of the best Hubs I have read for a long time. Wonderful photos too.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Thanks Sue, did it bring back memories of when you were there?

    • profile image

      susan ryan 5 years ago

      really enjoyed the hub thanks.. and as always good info and amazing photos... thanks for your hard work and sharing...


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