The strange and secret freshwater spring of Richmond

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 20:26:07-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- When was the last time you had a drink of spring water in RVA?

Did you know this used to be a town of grand springs, ones that were used by citizens and merchants who wanted the freshest, most pure and tasty water?

Now we're down to just a couple.

Wayside Spring in the Forest Hills neighborhood is certainly the most picturesque. (4900 block of New Kent Road).

Go down the 47 steps and you'll find an Eden-like retreat in the heart of South Richmond.

Is the water safe?


But occasional contamination and fears of it led to the demise of nearly all the rest of the Richmond area's springs. City water has also improved dramatically in recent generations, reducing the foot traffic to these once-busy springs.

So it has gone at Chimborazo Park's statuesque spring, along with the ones at Byrd Park, Fonticello Park (now Carter Jones Park) and Henrico County's Spring Park and the one by Masonic Lane and 9 Mile Road.

But there is one super spring surviving in the heart of the city's Carytown district.

It's inside our fabulous and famous Byrd Theatre.

Yes, that's right - inside! Deep down in the basement of this 1928 Renaissance Revival movie palace.

Twisting steps and claustrophobic corridors will take you down to the vast, concrete-encased "spring room" - roughly 25 feet by 25 feet and maybe 20 feet deep - which traps the water from a spring that otherwise would threaten the building. Pumps keep the levels manageable as the crystal clear, drinkable water seeps into this uncanny room in the very bowels of one of Richmond's grandest landmarks.

Make sure to check out the video!

Not many people have seen it or even know it exists.

Any other cool springs out there?



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