Virginia Geography and Famous Natives

Richmond Virginia

A prosperous capital bordering the James River in central Virginia, Richmond has been the capital of Virginia since 1780. This city has been the stage of many historical events, and its role as the capital of the Confederate States of America has left a permanent mark on American history.

Jefferson Davis lived in the Confederate White House while presiding over the rebel government, and it was in this mansion that Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Richmond is an essential see for any American patriot follower with its wealth of monuments, battlefields and civil war museums that recall the conflict of brother against brother, which are worth more American life than both world wars combined.

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Richmond’s position on the mid-Atlantic coast marks it as a gateway to the American South. The city is located in the center, leaning towards the east of the state, and near several vital American cities. About one hour drive north to the northern border of Virginia sits our US capital, Washington DC with Annapolis, Maryland nearby on the Chesapeake Bay. To the south the coastal cities of Virginia Beach, Newport News and Norfolk, followed by the dynamic city of Raleigh, North Carolina across the border.

With its sultry summers and mild winters, Richmond offers more than history to the vacation visitor. It features magnificent old estates, a renowned botanical garden, an excellent hands-on science and technology museum with a planetarium, and a beautiful art museum. For NASCAR lovers, Richmond is home to the Richmond International Channel.

  • It was at Richmond’s John’s Church that revolutionary Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me freedom or give me death!” speech.
  • Approximately 50% of all people living in the United States reside within a 500 mile radius surrounding Richmond, Virginia.
  • Along with patriot Patrick Henry, Richmond has also been the home of such notable Virginians as writers Edgar Allan Poe and Tom Wolff, tennis champion Arthur Ash, actor Warren Beatty, and NFL star and sportscaster Fran Tarkenton.

See below for great things to do in Richmond, Virginia:

  • Richmond International Canal
    Racing is very popular throughout the area, so welcome to the Richmond International Canal, a 3/4-mile D-shaped, tarmac track that hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. Also known as ” America ‘s Premier, Short Distance,” the channel is one of the few to host all of its events under the lights. Buy tickets in advance for this Virginia vacation highlight.
  • Confederate
    Museum The Confederate Museum is home to a wealth of collections that include civil and military Civil War artifacts relating to the Confederate States of America. The facility contains priceless manuscripts, photographs, antique uniforms, and many other Civil War exhibits for research and preservation.The museum’s main building acted as the former White House of the Confederacy during most of the war. Of strong historical significance, and also an attractive visual display, the museum’s collection of over 500 original battle flags carried by the Confederate Army.
  • The Byrd Theater
    Built in 1928 with all the luxury demanded of this opening era in film history, the Byrd Theater is one of the nation’s most lavish and well-preserved cinema gems.The theater is a State and National Historic Landmark and a stunning piece of architectural art with an opulent interior design containing Greek and Italian marble, eleven brilliant Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers and rich hand-sewn velvet drapes.Always a wonderful flashback to a more decadent time, the Byrd Theater offers films 365 days a year, including second-run films and classics. Just as in its early days, Byrd’s Saturday Nights features pre-exhibition work on the mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

Virginia Famous Natives

People listed are almost always native to the state. We do (on occasion) include those who have either lived within the state for most of their adult lives or have made significant contributions to the state in their personal endeavors.


  • Hunter “Plot” Adams activist, diplomat, author
  • Virginia author (VK). Andrews
  • Richard Arlen actor
  • Arthur Asch tennis player
  • William Henry Ashley fur trader, entrepreneur, politician
  • Stephen F. Austin leader of Texas independence from Mexico, called “Father of Texas”


  • Diedrich Bader actor, comedian
  • Pearl Bailey actress, singer
  • Russell Wayne Baker essayist, journalist, biographer
  • Phil Balsley singer
  • Keelin Barker Miss America
  • Warren Beatty actor
  • George Caleb Bingham artist
  • Blackstreet Music Group
  • Football player Dré Bly
  • Aaron Brooks footballer
  • Singer Ruth Brown
  • William Cabell Bruce historian, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Abraham Buford Revolutionary War official
  • Actress Joyce Bulifant
  • Actress Sandra Bullock
  • Plaxico Burress football player
  • Actress Hilarie Burton
  • Jeff Burton car racer
  • Ward Burton car racer
  • Curtis Bush world champion kickboxer
  • Charlie Byrd musician
  • Richard E. Byrd polar explorer, aviator
  • Author of William Byrd II, founder of Richmond, virgina


  • Branch James by Cabell
  • Singer Mabel Carter
  • June Carter Cash singer, songwriter
  • Written by Willa Cather
  • Spencer Christian television announcer
  • Revolutionary War commander George Rogers Clark
  • Roy Clarke musician, performer
  • William Clark explorer
  • Henry Clay statesman, public speaker
  • Clarence Clemons musician
  • Singer Patsy Cline
  • Colander LaTasha Olympic medalist
  • Stuart Copeland musician
  • Michael Copon actor
  • Joseph Cotten actor
  • William Cooper sculptor
  • Television host Katie Couric
  • Michael Cuddyer baseball player
  • Ronald Kerry footballer
  • Wardell Stephen “Della” Kerry basketball player, commentator


  • Virginius Dabney journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. politician
  • Tom Dolan Olympic medalist


  • Steve Earle singer, songwriter
  • Jubal Early lawyer, general Ally of the Civil War
  • Football player Kenny Isley
  • Perry Ellis fashion designer
  • Rob Estes actor
  • Sir Moses Ezekiel sculptor


  • Samuel Face inventor
  • John Fasenda announcer, sports announcer
  • Frankie Faison actor
  • Ella Fitzgerald singer, First Lady of Song
  • Five musical groups of the Keys
  • Directed by Gary Fleder
  • Douglas S. Freeman journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Stephen Furst actor


  • Patrick Henry politician, planter, post-colonial governor
  • Samuel “Sam” Houston politician, statesman, soldier, leader of the Texas Revolution
  • Allen Iverson basketball player
  • thomas jefferson us president, patriot, declaration of independence author
  • Actress Courtney Jains
  • Henry Jordan football player
  • Todd Eric Kelly footballer
  • Sean Quikendall football player


  • Henrietta Lax sourced cancer cells to create a cell line for medical research known as the HeLa cell line
  • Abner Lacock politician
  • Mary Landryu politician
  • Kara Lawson basketball player
  • Henry “Light Horse Harry” Revolutionary War leader Lee
  • Robert E. Lee General Federal Army
  • General cavalry of William’s ally Henry Fitzhugh Lee
  • Meriwether Lewis explorer


  • David McClean football player
  • Actress Shirley MacLaine
  • Poet Naomi Long Madgett
  • James Madison US President
  • Moses Malone baseball player
  • Aimee Mann musician, singer, songwriter
  • John Marshall statesman, lawyer
  • George Mason IV patriot, statesman
  • Astrophysicist Matthew Fontaine Maury, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, artist, educator
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick inventor’s grain reaper
  • Ephraim McDowall physician, “father of abdominal surgery”
  • William McGuffey educator, author of The McGuffey Readers
  • Lewis Mackenzie politician, railroad president
  • Mary T. Meagher Olympic medalist
  • James Monroe US President

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