The Park » About the James River Park System
Canal & Architecture
Named for one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Pumphouse is an impressive granite Victorian Gothic structure built in 1882-3, which once served as Richmond’s primary water pumping station. Although the building is not usually open to the public, there are occasional tours and there are dreams of rehabilitating the upper floor, once the site of society dances.
In addition this small area of the park system also includes a few trails that lead through the wooded portions to the three historic canals, two granite canal locks and an 18th-century canal archway constructed to commemorate a visit by George Washington. A small granite quarry lies to the right of the park’s entrance. The northernmost canal, the Power Feeder canal, fed the turbines for pumping water to Byrd Park. The middle canal was part of the Kanawha Canal System, which was constructed to go around Richmond’s rapids, and the lowest canal was the beginning of the James River Canal System, the first in the country.
Wooden bridges provide access over the canals. Please watch your children in this area due to all the hazards. Note, too, that you cannot access the river from here; CSX owns land between the park and the water.
Wheelchair accessible: outside only
Hours: Sunrise to sunset