Chesterfield Parks and Rec has indicated that plans are in place for Chesterfield to purchase the original Point of Rocks site, especially significant during the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War, for use as a special purpose park. Special purpose parks preserve and interpret unique historical, cultural and environmental resources.
A current contract includes a $10,000 non-refundable deposit that would be applied to the purchase price. The 30-acre property was appraised at $724,000 which could result in up to $362,000 in funding by the county towards the purchase of the site. The purchase contract would be contingent upon awarding of a grant of the same amount. In the meantime Parks and Rec is asking the Planning Commission to determine that the special purpose park is in Substantial Accord with the Comprehensive Plan.
According to the request, “The property is unique and rich with historical, cultural and environmental resources. The Point of Rocks area takes its name from a nearby sixty (60) foot high sandstone cliff projecting into the Port Walthall Channel of the Appomattox River. The proposed park would provide access via trails to the Appomattox River and the unique rock outcroppings.
“In addition to the environmental resources, the property has unique historical significance. First records of land transfers of the subject property were prior to 1642.The Point of Rocks House was built in the 1830’s. According to historical accounts, General Benjamin F. Butler established his headquarters at Point of Rocks after the Strachan family, fleeing to safety, abandoned it during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign of the Civil War. Due to its elevation, General Butler erected his famous observation tower between the house and the river.
“A field hospital was built nearby the still standing Strachan house. The house became the surgeons’ quarters. During the siege of Petersburg, Red Cross founder Clara Barton served at Point of Rocks as superintendent of nurses under Butler’s command. Numerous other historical events occurred on and around this property. Therefore, the Parks and Recreation Department plans to use this site as the central place to tell the story of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.
“This park project, known as the Point of Rocks Historic House and Grounds, is planned to be developed with trails, a parking area, restrooms and other historical interpretations. The historic house and structures will be renovated and twentieth century structures will be removed.”
The Planning Commission reviewed the request on June 19 in the public meeting room located at the Chesterfield County Government Complex.