The amazing librarians at Carver Middle School in Chester, VA, helped me design this walking tour of Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill, and the equally amazing librarians at Liberty Middle School in Ashland, VA, helped me refine it!
Stroll the streets of Richmond, VA, and listen to audio recordings of me reading short passages from Brotherhood. Scan or click on each QR Code to listen. Here’s a printable version (PDF) of the walking tour.
Here’s a map of the stops, but don’t let its flatness fool you. The first four spots are in Shockoe Bottom, and the last three are in Church Hill; it’s hard to get from #4 to #5 without going back to Broad Street and driving up the hill.
1. Start at the Lumpkin’s Jail historical markers. From the train station on Main Street, turn right onto 15th Street, then right onto E. Franklin St., entering the station’s back parking lot. Turn left, drive to the northern edge of the parking lot, and you’ll find the historical markers in a grassy area on the left. There is a small wooden structure (a former slave house) and a sign for “Slave Trail Parking.” If the lot is full, feel free to linger while taking in the historical scene, then walk to the next stop (the Adam Craig House) while the driver moves the car or bus (street parking on Grace, 19th or 20th).
2. With Lumpkin’s Jail at your back, walk directly across the parking lot and under the railroad tracks. You’ll exit onto Grace Street at Ambler Street. Continue on Grace. Between 18th and 19th Streets, the Adam Craig House will be on your left (1812 E. Grace St.). This is the house where I imagined the character, Maggie, to have lived.
3. Continue east on Grace Street to 20th Street and turn right. Walk until 20th Street ends at the flood wall on Cary Street, and you’ll see the Libby Prison historical marker. The prison used to stretch a full block east from the corner of S. 20th Street and E. Cary Street.
4. With your back to the flood wall, turn left and walk west on Cary Street. Go to 17th Street and turn right. Go one block to 17th and Main Streets, where you’ll see the Farmer’s Market on the north side of Main. On your right corner will be the brick building where I imagined Granddaddy had lived and kept his shop, Weaver’s Fine Tailoring. Painted on the side of the building are the words, “TEAS, COFFEES and SUGARS are the best.”
DRIVE TO THE NEXT STOP: To return to your vehicle, continue up 17th Street two blocks to Grace Street. You’re now in between Lumpkin’s Jail (to your left) and the Adam Craig House (to your right). Once in your vehicle, go to Broad Street and turn right (east). Drive on Broad all the way to 28th Street (you’ll go past St. John’s Church), and turn right. 28th Street will end at Franklin Street; Libby Hill Park will be directly in front of you. You may park on the street there or near the monument at Libby Hill Terrace (where 29th Street ends).
5. The corner of 28th Street and E. Franklin Street is the location where I imagined the Perkinsons to have lived. An engineer’s map of Richmond in 1865 shows an alley behind this house; the view from the front is of Libby Hill Park.
6. To walk to St. John’s Church, take 28th Street for 2 blocks to E. Broad Street. Turn left, walk 3 blocks, and you’ll find the church stretching the entire block from 25th Street to 24th Street. The grounds include a Visitors Center and gift shop.
7. Finally, stroll back down 25th Street for 2 blocks until you reach Franklin Street. Turn left and continue back to Libby Hill Park and Libby Hill Terrace at the end of 29th Street, the overlook with a gorgeous view of the James River.
That’s it for the walking tour! I hope that this tour helps you picture Shad and Rachel and all of the characters depicted in Brotherhood.
If you have time to stay in Richmond for a couple more hours, you might want to visit the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar. Here is one more audio clip of me reading from Brotherhood. To get to Tredegar from Church Hill, drive west on Broad Street to Fifth Street, turn left, and stay on Fifth until it ends at Tredegar Street. The canal will be in front of you. Turn right and you’ll soon come to Tredegar on your right (the parking lot has plenty of space for buses).