Former pleasure garden island sold to Enrichmond Foundation

Interesting bit of history about an island many of us never give a second thought.

Update #1 — January 12, 2015; 10:33 AM

Plans for the island will be released at a later date but the following was in a press release issued on Friday.

We are honored to be a part of a dedicated group of local foundations who have facilitated the purchase of this valuable asset of the James River,” John Sydnor, Executive Director of the group, said in the release.

“Enrichmond was created 25 years ago to protect another river asset, Belle Isle. It is with great appreciation and enthusiasm that we move into our next 25 years with another act of commitment to the James River and our City’s people, parks, and public spaces.”

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Original — November 10, 2014

Sperry Van Ness/ Motleys has announced that Vauxhall Island is up for sale under a closed bid process. It also list this island as an income producer due to the billboard built on the property.

From the Richmond Riverfront Plan we get learn a bit of the history of the spot.

Vauxhall Island is named for Vauxhall Gardens, the great pleasure garden of eighteenth century London. Richmond’s Vauxhall pleasure grounds operated on the island in the nineteenth century. Patrons could access the island on a footbridge from Mayo’s Bridge and enjoy barbeque, a barroom, a shuffleboard court, fishing, and other amusements.

The phrase pleasure grounds/garden caught my eye and after a few quick minutes I’ve come to learn that pleasure gardens were most popular in the 18th century and served as recreation areas. Theses gardens would include much more than just gardens. Depending on the garden you could find bandstands, rides, and in some cases even zoos.

Currently Vauxhall Island is only accessible by an abandoned rail line or over water. It is prone to flooding and often serves as a campsite for some of the local homeless community.

Image: Google Maps

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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