Brown's island was formed in 1789 with the beginnings of the Haxall
Canal. For many years, there were two islands, Brown's and
Johnson's Island with a spillway in between. Today, the islands
The island's first settler was Elijah Brown, for whom it was named.
He acquired the land in 1826. A later owner named Neilson tried
to rename the island as Neilson's Island, but it did not last.
In 1894, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway opened a coal power
plant on the island. In 1899, Dominion Virginia Power opened a
hydroelectric power plant on the island's east side, running off
the Haxall Canal. Virginia Power also opened a coal power plant
nearby in 1936.
company's plant did not last long, but reopend in 1916
as the Dixie Paper Mill
1950s and 60s, electricity production at the hydroelectic
plant decreased, and ended altogether in 1968. In 1969,
the coal plant was damaged and shut down by flooding from
Hurricane Camille. In 1970, the spillway between Johnson's
and Brown's Islands was closed and the islands merged.
Hurricane Agnes also flooded and closed the coal power
plant in 1972, and the plant was closed altogether in 1975.
In 1987, the island became part of the city's James River Park.
In 1993, Paul Di Pasquale's sculpture Headman was erected on
the island's East side. The Dominion Virginia Power coal plant
was renovated in 2005.
Beside being a music venue, the island is also home to pathways
and is a popular place for sightseeing. Visible from the island
is the Belle Isle, the Manchester Bridge, and the ruins of
the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge. The Rivanna Subdivision
Trestle crosses the island, making it a popular destination
for railfans, too.
extends south from the island into the James River, and
another extends north along the Brown's Island Dam.
provided from Wikipedia