Bryan Park, located in Richmond, Virginia, is a public park with a rich history. The entrance to the park is located in the 4300 block of Hermitage Road, near the intersection of I-95. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the site of Gabriel’s Rebellion, a planned slavery insurrection.
The park is open daily without charge and offers a range of recreational opportunities, including hiking and biking trails, a disc golf course, bird walks hosted by the Audubon Society on the first Sunday of each month, and various festivals and events. The Market Emporium, a farmer’s market, is held in the park on Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. from May to November.
To learn more about the park’s history, you can purchase “An Illustrated History of Bryan Park” from the Friends of Bryan Park, a non-profit organization that supports the park and offers various park activities.
The park is named after Joseph Bryan, the founder and publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, and was given to the city in 1910 by Belle Stewart Bryan and her family. The park also features an azalea garden with over 75 beds and 50 varieties of azalea plants. The garden was started in 1952 by Robert E. Harvey, a former Recreation and Parks Superintendent.
Before becoming a park, the property was part of the Westbrook Estate of the Young Family in the late 1700s. During the Civil War, the area became Richmond’s Outer Defense Line, with Confederate camps and batteries situated nearby. Following the war, the area was farmed until it was purchased by Joseph Bryan’s widow, Belle Stewart Bryan, who donated it to the city as a memorial to her husband.
The Richmond City Council spent several years transforming the property into a park with formal entrances, picnic areas, and recreational facilities. The park has several notable features, including a network of hiking and biking trails, Young’s Pond and Princeton Creek, Shelter 1, and the Joseph Bryan Park Azalea Garden.