New Mayo Bridge needs to enhance downtown Richmond
The historic Mayo Bridge is in need of repairs and is undergoing a study that began in April. How important is an attractive and functional Mayo Bridge to you? Learn more about how important it has been to Richmond. From James River Park signage at 14th Street Takeout: Bridges Through Time The Mayo Bridge ahead […]
The historic Mayo Bridge is in need of repairs and is undergoing a study that began in April. How important is an attractive and functional Mayo Bridge to you? Learn more about how important it has been to Richmond.
From James River Park signage at 14th Street Takeout:
Bridges Through Time
The Mayo Bridge ahead of you is one of Richmond’s most famous landmarks. It connects Richmond to the once independent City of Manchester and stands at the end of the rapids in the footprint of the original span built my John Mayo in 1788.
1700s-1800s: The first bridge was one lane wide, made of wood and stood just a couple of feet above the water. It wobbled so badly during high water conditions that wagons sometimes fell off — after they paid the 5 cent toll. (This also happened when fishermen tied giant sturgeon to the bridge supports while waiting for buyers).
The bridge was destroyed at least seven times by floods and burned in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.
1900s: The graceful concrete and steel structure you see today was built in 1911 soon after Manchester became part of the City of Richmond. Its broad arches and obelisk-shaped lightposts show that it was modeled after a bridge over the Seine River in Paris, France – “Pont Neuf.”
There is no longer a toll and it has never washed out, even during the flood of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, when the bridge was totally submerged. Observe the lamposts; they were all that was visible then.
2000s: In the springtime, look for fishermen crowded along the bridge railing. Shar, herring and rockfish swim up from the Chesapeake Bay to breed farther up the river. They gather in this area before running up the rapids. White perch spawn in the small area directly under the bridge itself.
Sign funded by the Friends of the James River Park System
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