Quoit Club | Byrd Park Pump House
The Byrd Park Pump House is a wonderfully executed late 19th-century example of the Gothic Revival style, applied to a municipal industrial building, which served as the Richmond city waterworks from 1883 until 1924. Colonel Wilfred Emory Cutshaw, Richmond’s City Engineer from 1874 until 1907, designed the building as a social venue as well as a waterworks. It is made of local granite and has Gothic features such as pointed arches, lancet windows and steep gables. He included an open-air dance hall on the second floor above the equipment room. During the late 19th century, well-dressed Richmonders could board a flat-bottomed boat at 7th Street and take a leisurely ride up the canal to the pump house and its festive ballroom overlooking the woods and water below.
The building closed in 1924, and had its machinery sold off for scrap metal before the outbreak of World War II. The city slated the pump house for demolition in the 1950s but sold it to First Presbyterian Church for one dollar instead. The city has regained ownership and is currently looking to rehabilitate the building for use as offices and a headquarters and interpretive center for the James River Park System.