On June 4, a group of about 20 diverse women gathered at the lovely Byrd Park home of Amy Melnick-Scharf for a historical walk around Byrd Park.
It was led by Beth O’Leary, a resident of the area who is a local historian, researcher, editor, lecturer, and curatorial consultant. O’Leary is also a published author with a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Virginia.
Her knowledge and love of the area were evident to the hikers of the park, sometimes referred to as Richmond’s “Central Park,” which at about 275 acres is the city’s largest.
The park began during the Reconstruction era in 1874; when the city acquired land for it. During Reconstruction, Richmond made significant improvements to its municipal facilities including expanding its park system and the creation of a major municipal park around the city’s new reservoir.
Even many native Richmonders participating in the walk were unaware of the park and Carillion area’s rich history. After the hike, walkers were treated to refreshments in Amy’s beautiful backyard.