If you’ve spent any amount of time in Richmond, you may have met Harry Kollatz, Jr. You’ve likely seen him, walking the streets of our fair City in his ever-present fedora, peering curiously at the doorways and facades as he passes each building. You’ve likely read his work in Richmond Magazine, where he’s built an admirable chronicle of the arts, leisure, and history of Richmond.
If you have a question about anything Richmond, ask Harry. If he doesn’t know, he knows someone who does.
We bring up Harry because he recently shared an old photo on Facebook. He had travelled to Savannah, Georgia and stopped at Tybee Island. He was with his friend Tyler.
That friend was Thomas Tyler Potterfield.
Potterfield was an architectural historian by trade, and lent his significant knowledge to Richmond as a senior planner in the Department of Planning and Development Review. His passion, though, was preservation and making historical Richmond accessible to everyone. One of his dreams was seeing the completion of the Brown’s Island Dam Walk, which would be the first bridge crossing the James River in our City dedicated entirely to bicycle and foot traffic.
Our now-beloved Tyler Potterfield Bridge is named in his honor.
We saw Harry’s picture on Facebook the same day we got a lovely note from Jenny Young. Jenny is a Park supporter, and said, “I hope that the donation that I just gave in memory of my dad because his birthday is tomorrow will help…Dad would be so happy to see the countless number of River lovers that enjoy the Pony Pasture and his trail.”
Yes, the R.B. Young Riverside Trail is named after her father, Dr. Reuben B. Young.
We also got a note from Andrew Peacock. He’s the Treasurer for the Falls of the James Group – Sierra Club. They had recently given our dear friend Nathan Burrell their Green Giant Award, and at his request, donated $100 to support the James River Park.
Tyler Potterfield died before seeing his namesake bridge. And goodness knows how many thousands have enjoyed the trail named for Jenny Young’s father. We’ll be forever grateful for the hours Nathan Burrell worked to continue the legacy created by Ralph White as the Director of our James River Park System.
They say that when you visit a park, you should leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories.
It may be a vision, or a donation, or some time spent volunteering – but what will you do to create your memory in the James River Park?