The Carillon neighborhood is yet another Richmond historic district. In fact, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. Located on the northern side of the James River between Byrd Park, Powhite Parkway and the Downtown Expressway, the neighborhood is easily accessible from several popular City neighborhoods, retail and dining destinations, and many outdoor recreational activities.
Like several other areas of Richmond, the land that now makes up the Carillon neighborhood was originally owned by William Byrd II until his passing in 1744. The land changed hands several times over the next (roughly) 150 years and was used for mostly agricultural purposes until the City created Byrd Park and built the reservoir in 1884. The addition of streetcar lines shortly thereafter helped bring residential development to the area.
The neighborhood takes its name from the most visible structure in the area — the World War I Memorial Carillon located on the western edge of Byrd Park. Standing at 240’ tall with fifty-three bronze bells, the historic Georgian Revival bell tower can be seen and heard from several points in the City. It was dedicated in 1932 (after years of planning and delays) as a memorial to the more than 3500 Virginians that gave their lives during World War I.
Though there are a few examples of 19th century architecture, most structures in the neighborhood were built during the first half of the 20th century or later. Many modestly sized homes in various architectural styles — Colonial Revival, Italianate, Ranch, Tudor Revival and Minimal Traditional — were constructed utilizing brick, stone, stucco, terra cotta and wood. Today, many homes have retained the charm of their original designs but have added square footage and/or porches over the years.
Given its proximity to Byrd Park, Maymont and the river, there are a myriad of activities and events to choose from. Byrd Park offers 200+ acres of park land, walking / running / biking trails, pedal boating at Fountain Lake, and more. Regular concerts are held at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater during the summer months… not to mention the very popular annual Fourth of July concert and fireworks show. Maymont’s formal gardens, arboretum, nature center and zoo are also just around the corner.
Things to do:
Arts in the Park – One of the top art shows in the country happens every May. Get it on your calendar.
Maymont – Historic mansion tours, formal gardens, events, zoo, nature center and more. You could spend a whole day here and not see it all.
Dogwood Dell – The summer concert series (June – August) has a little something for everyone.
Pumphouse Park – A beautiful old Victorian Gothic pumphouse that’s worth a visit for the architecture alone but there are also trails and occasional events.