—Falling Creek Ironworks Park —
The site of Virginia's ﬁrst wayside park was established in 1934. It was developed to serve as a picnic area by the Virginia State Highway Department and the Chesterﬁeld Garden Club in 1933-1934. A State Historical Marker located in the park was erected by the Virginia State Library in 1930 to recognize the ﬁrst Iron Furnace in America.
Old Stone Bridge History
The bridge was built by William Carter of Richmond at a cost of $2,043. Local lore states that the bridge may have been partially constructed from stone salvaged from the original ironworks site. It is the only remaining evidence of one of Virginia's earliest privately owned and operated toll roads. The bridge over Falling Creek, completed in 1828, is documented as the oldest in the county. It is the only pre-20th-century bridge still standing in Chesterﬁeld County. It is an unique historic artifact, originally constructed to link communities and aid in the transportation of goods.
The Manchester and Petersburg Turnpike was chartered in 1816 to connect the cities of Richmond and Petersburg. The double-arched stone bridge was described as follows: The bridge over Falling Creek is considered in this part of the world to be a structure of some elegance. It consists of two twenty feet arches, springing from a pedestal
of four feet, is twenty-four feet wide outside the parapets, and is founded on a solid mass of rock.
The double-arched span is constructed on granite ashlar and rubble stone. The bridge stands as a focal point of the Falling Creek Wayside Park.
The stone bridge has been a recognizable cultural and historic landmark within the county for more than a century. It spanned Falling Creek as part of the Manchester and Petersburg Turnpike, now part of Historic Route 1. Falling Creek Bridge is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places.
Although the stone arches of the bridge remain, the bridge was signiﬁcantly damaged by ﬂood waters from Tropical Storm Gaston in August 2004. Raging ﬂood waters and damage caused by trees and debris from upstream destroyed a large part of the old stone bridge. The Falling Creek Ironworks Foundation is committed to rebuilding and preserving this old bridge.
Damage to the bridge caused by Tropical Storm Gaston, 2004
Bridge before Tropical Storm Gaston
Old stone bridge, present day