Unauthorized demolition of historic wall angers neighbors

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Right now, an investigation is underway into the demolition of a historic wall near the canal.

Neighbor say it came tumbling down earlier this week.  Now city leaders are trying to figure out who did it.

Hidden behind a grove of trees, thousands of bricks are what remain of a historic wall that goes back centuries.

"It was built with slave labor and this is an important part of our history.  We're seeing our history disappear before our eyes," said Charles Pool, a member of the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association.

According to the city, this demolition was not planned.

"We're asking for a criminal investigation now to find out who tore down this wall," said Pool.  He said he saw the whole thing happen

"This is where they brought the bulldozer," he said. "They had to open the chain link fence.  They had a construction crew with hard hats and reflective vests."

But where that bulldozer came from is something the city is trying to figure out.

Pool says the only construction in the area is a crew, he says, is working on the 2nd Street connection project.  The road will eventually connect Tredegar Street to 2nd Street.

A representative from Dominion Resources, the company in charge of the 2nd Street connection project, said they had nothing to do with the wall.

A city employee said there are only permits for that construction area, but none near where the wall went down.

The city's Planning and Preservation Department said the wall once separated the Tredegar Iron Works from the James River and Kanawha Canal towpath. It was at least eight feet tall.

In an email to the neighborhood association, the department says it believes 150 feet of wall was demolished on city property.

"It's certainly sad to me, it shows disrespect for our history. It shows disrespect for our culture," said Pool.

Until whoever did this comes forward, Pool promises people in living on Oregon Hill will watch this part of the canal closely.

The City's preservation department tells us multiple agencies are working on figuring out what happened.

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