The Buffalo Trail That Would Become Carytown
It is said that long before Carytown was a premier shopping destination, and even before the first English settlers came to Virginia, the route that would become Carytown was frequented by bison. Yes, upon the very grounds that 200+ restaurants, boutiques, and business operate on today, a trail existed that bison used during their annual migration. Over time, people began to discover the path that conveniently followed the James River – first, Native Americans traveling west, and later, early Richmonders working in the coal trade.
In 1804, the Virginia General Assembly decided that a well-maintained, formal route between Richmond and the coal mines was needed to boost the industry. The instructions given were simply to build a road “from the end of Main Street in the City of Richmond by the most convenient route to Goochland County Court House.” It was decided that the best thing to do was to make improvements to the existing trail, rather than build a road from scratch.
And so, Westham Plank Road was born. To help pay for the road, a toll was collected from anyone using it. Today, you can visit the toll taker’s residence, but it’ll look a bit different – the building now houses Carytown Burgers & Fries! Perhaps someday they’ll serve a buffalo burger, and everything will have come full circle.
What does this have to do with Carytown? Well Westham Plank Road was renamed Cary St. in 1927 – and you can read our post on the renaming here.
Want to learn more about Carytown’s History? Join our Carytown Food & History Tour! It’ll be the most delicious history lesson you’ll ever have!
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