During the 18th and 19th centuries, the town of Scottsville, Virginia prospered as a major trading point for goods traveling up and down the James River. In later years, travel on the river diminished and the town was plagued by flooding. Now protected by a levee, the town is enjoying a renaissance and is rediscovering its important role in helping to build the nation.

To celebrate its history and its relationship with the river, the town of Scottsville built the Canal Basin Square. Designed by Charlottesville Landscape Architect Nancy Takahashi, the interpretive park chronicles the inextricable connection of Scottsville to the James River. Exhibits span the period from the early river batteaux of the pre-colonial period to the days of packet boats and freighters on the Kanawha Canal.

Located on Scottsville’s Main Street, the landscape consists of three major elements. From the street, a long concrete walk extends toward the river. Along the walk, masonry pylons measure the landscape and provide places for interpretive signage, lighting, and seating. Perpendicular to the walk, boat replicas hover in troughs lined with river rock. The architectural components of the project, designed by VMDO, consist of an open air pavilion providing space for major exhibits and a stage for outdoor performance and a bathroom building providing necessary public facilities.

The first phase of the project focused on the major elements of the construction. The second phase of the project focused on interpretive history and educational exhibits. Exhibits include interpretive signage, landscaping, a working scale model canal lock, a mural, and the construction of three boat replicas (a batteau, a packet boat, and freighter).

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the town of Scottsville, Virginia prospered as a major trading point for goods traveling up and down the James River. In later years, travel on the river diminished and the town was plagued by flooding. Now protected by a levee, the town is enjoying a renaissance and is rediscovering its important role in helping to build the nation.

To celebrate its history and its relationship with the river, the town of Scottsville built the Canal Basin Square. Designed by Charlottesville Landscape Architect Nancy Takahashi, the interpretive park chronicles the inextricable connection of Scottsville to the James River. Exhibits span the period from the early river batteaux of the pre-colonial period to the days of packet boats and freighters on the Kanawha Canal.

Located on Scottsville’s Main Street, the landscape consists of three major elements. From the street, a long concrete walk extends toward the river. Along the walk, masonry pylons measure the landscape and provide places for interpretive signage, lighting, and seating. Perpendicular to the walk, boat replicas hover in troughs lined with river rock. The architectural components of the project, designed by VMDO, consist of an open air pavilion providing space for major exhibits and a stage for outdoor performance and a bathroom building providing necessary public facilities.

The first phase of the project focused on the major elements of the construction. The second phase of the project focused on interpretive history and educational exhibits. Exhibits include interpretive signage, landscaping, a working scale model canal lock, a mural, and the construction of three boat replicas (a batteau, a packet boat, and freighter).

To celebrate its history and its relationship with the river, the town of Scottsville built the Canal Basin Square.
The architectural components of the project, designed by VMDO, consist of an open air pavilion providing space for major exhibits.
Along the walk, masonry pylons measure the landscape and provide places for interpretive signage, lighting, and seating.
A stage for outdoor performance located on Scottsville’s Main Street

Client: Town of Scottsville

Location: Scottsville, VA

Discipline: Community Spaces

Completion: 2002

Size: 27,500 SF