The Fulton neighborhood is another old Richmond neighborhood steeped in history with a deep sense of community and lots of forward momentum. It took its name from James Alexander Fulton. Mr. Fulton and his wife, Eliza Mayo — a relative of other important figures in Richmond history, Major William Mayo and his son, Colonel John Mayo — maintained a large estate on what is now known as Powhatan Park. Situated in a river valley of roughly 350 acres in the East End, it sits just north of the river with Rockett’s Landing to the South and Church Hill to the Northeast.
The first pieces of the Fulton neighborhood really started coming together not long after the Civil War when simple, one story homes were built and it became one of the first suburbs of Richmond. The City eventually annexed the neighborhood from Henrico County in 1905 as growth continued. Several styles of homes were built over the first half of the twentieth century include bungalows, cape cods, four-squares and ranches. As restaurants, stores, churches, a school, a doctor’s office and streetcar service were added, Fulton became a thriving community all its own.
By the 1960s, Fulton had taken a turn for the worse as many of the community’s structures fell into disrepair, infrastructure deteriorated and crime spun out of control. City and community leaders began to argue over revitalization ideas until 1970 when City Council voted to approve a plan by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) that utilized millions of dollars in federal aid. RRHA offered relocation packages to residents and tore down a huge portion of the neighborhood. A major flood caused by remnants of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, wiped out most of what was left. Some of the land along the river was re-allocated to industrial applications while a few single family homes and some public housing were built closer to Fulton Hill up until the early 1990s.
Today, like many older neighborhoods in Richmond, Fulton is the subject of renewed interest by builders, developers and home buyers. The development of Rockett’s Landing with higher-end riverfront townhomes, condominiums, restaurants and office spaces has contributed significantly. Given its close proximity to Downtown and large swaths of under-utilized land (not to mention all the river frontage adds to the equation), businesses and developers are making major investments in the area. One such recent investment was by Stone Brewing when they chose to bring their East Coast operations and a “destination” bistro to Fulton. Many new apartments, condominiums and single family homes construction projects as well as other new business endeavors have been announced since.
With so many natural draws and available potential, Fulton’s future looks bright. Here are a few things to check out in the area right now:
The Boathouse Restaurant – If happy hour is your thing, the patio overlooking the river and downtown skyline is worth a try.
Conch Republic Rockett’s Landing – Stop in for some seafood with a side dish of river and city views.
Triple Crossing Beer – Kick back with a tasty craft brew and a slice of gourmet pizza. Pups are welcome if you’re OK with your beer on the patio.
Stone Brewing – Take a tour of the brewery and learn about the craft brewing process.
Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe – Grab a coffee and a spot to eat before heading out for a walk along the river.
Richmond BMX – Check out Richmond’s very own public BMX racing track.
Virginia Capital Trail – Bike. Walk. Run. Make a day of it. The trail starts in the Bottom and ends in Williamsburg.
Gillies Creek Disc Golf Course – The name says it all…