by John DeMajo


The Richmond riverfront at Rockett's Landing
Old dock area has been replaced with modern boat launch, restaurant and condominiums.
The former Richmond-Henrico Street Railway electric generating plant is now an upscale restaurant and catering business.
Smoke Stack at rear of the "Boathouse" which was formerly a street railway power plant

Rocketts Landing is an important historical landmark that dates back to Captain Christopher Newport's exploration of the James River. His ship, the Godspeed first landed here in 1607.

In 1730, Robert Rocketts began operating a ferry service on the site. The area soon developed into a bustling riverfront port town of its own. At one time, it held the distinction of bneing the busiest inland port in America.

When the Civil War erupted, Rocketts Landing became vital to the defense of the city of Richmond. The area was vulnerable to naval attack. On both sides of the river, the Confederate Navy Yard was created, and it became home to the ironclad warships and torpedo vessels known as the James River Squadron. On April 2, 1865, the Navy Yard and its ships succumbed to the great fire that destroyed the Confederate Capital. Two days later, Abraham Lincoln came ashore at Rocketts Landing to tour the city, which was still smoldering in the distance.

By the 1920s, most of the port's traffic was carried away by the growing network of railroads and interstates, and the once busy port became merely a relic of Richmond's past. Rocketts Landing transitioned into an industrial district until it was demolished in the 1970s. Today, Rocketts Landing has been revived as an area of upscale condominiums, restaurants and meeting places.