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Richmond’s founding myths

10/12/2013 11:28 AM by

Founding Mythologies at Urban Scale Richmond looks at Richmond’s self-understanding and the city’s “long paid lip-service to the ancient importance of a founding myth”, from Powhatan to Christopher Newport:

In the case of Powhatan, his ambiguous legacy lives on in the many place names that honor him as the aboriginal king who aided but was displaced by newly arrived colonists. The Mayo family, descendants of the city’s original surveyor, had lived for generations at a house called by them Powhatan’s Seat, on the hill east of Richmond that probably was the location of the local village of the Powhatan’s own tribe. The family carefully preserved at their house a talisman in the form of a stone said to have formed part of Powhatan’s house, sited in the native village at the falls which had been purchased by Captain John Smith and named by him “Nonesuch.” This stone, formerly located along the river, was moved to the crest of Chimborazo Hill, overlooking the river, when it was displaced by the city’s gasworks about 1911.


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