Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
This holiday the Richmond Times-Dispatch is partnering with An Achievable Dream who will sponsor 3,750 free 3-month digital subscriptions for new subscribers.
Go Now
Terms and Conditions apply.
top story breaking

Plan to rename Robert E. Lee Bridge is withdrawn

  • 0
20200617_MET_LEE_02

An effort to rename the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge has stalled after objections to the name “Belvidere.”

Originally called the James River Bridge when constructed in 1933, it was renamed for the Confederate general a year later and remained that way when the crossing was rebuilt in 1985.

It’ll be back to square one for Richmond Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch’s hopes of renaming the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge.

Lynch had hoped to recharge a stalled effort with a proposal to call the span the Belvidere Bridge, after the street that meets its northern side.

“That’s what a lot of people call it anyway,” she said.

And when she learned that “belvidere” can be translated as “beautiful view,” she thought she had a winner, after her resolution from two years ago to launch a community process to find a new name came to naught during the pandemic.

Henrico County police arrest 8 in online prostitution sting

But she’s heard — not directly and not from anyone in her district, which reaches both ends of the bridge linking Oregon Hill with South Richmond — that the Belvidere name is stirring controversy.

It was the name of the mansion that the planter William Byrd III built above the falls of the James River in 1758, with wealth he’d amassed — and eventually gambled away — from the work of the hundreds of slaves on 179,000 acres he inherited.

Lynch has also heard it was the name of a Quaker-run school for the children of freed slaves.

20200617_MET_LEE_01

Richmond has had a Robert E. Lee Bridge since the 1930s. The name remained when the bridge was rebuilt in 1985.

“Richmond’s history is complicated,” she said.

She said that by withdrawing her renaming proposal, her old resolution calling for a community process to decide on a new name remains in force.

With no fuss, Lee Bridge renaming approved, goes now to Richmond's city council

Lynch introduced it before the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked nationwide calls to rethink Confederate monuments and street names.

“It’s probably the most prominent feature named after Robert E. Lee,” she said.

Planning Commission approves landscaping plan for Monument Avenue circle

Originally called the James River Bridge when constructed in 1933, it was renamed for the Confederate general a year later and remained that way when the crossing was rebuilt in 1985.

Lynch said she’s hoping that the community renaming process she wanted to launch now takes life.

“I just want the signs down.”

dress@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6948

Twitter: @daveress1

0 Comments

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News