Connecticut the Indian – Richmond, Virginia - Atlas Obscura
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Richmond, Virginia

Connecticut the Indian

The iconic statue was moved to a new spot overlooking the James river after several years as a mascot for the local baseball team.  

The residents of Richmond, Virginia have someone watching them all the time: a 10-foot-tall, 2,400-pound someone.

Connecticut, a statue of an American Indian, stares down at the James River from a rooftop downtown in Richmond. The sculpture is the work of Richmond artist Paul Di Pasquale, who created the statue as a tribute to the area’s natives in the early 1980s.

The rooftop in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood is the statue’s third home. Fabricated for the roof of a liquor store at 2600 Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., a family dispute blocked the installation. Di Pasquale sought a new home and Frances and Sydney Lewis became interested. The Lewises, who founded Best Products Company in Richmond in 1957, were collectors of contemporary art and commissioned nine tongue-in-cheek catalog showrooms from James Wines’ “Sculpture in the Environment” (SITE).

Best Products leased the sculpture from Di Pasquale with the intention of installing it at a showroom in Fairfax County, Virginia. However, local officials ruled that the statue was a sign and in violation of rooftop signage codes. The company did get the figure installed at its Bethesda, Maryland showroom in September 1983 but eight months later, the Montgomery County government refused to grant further permits. Connecticut was put in storage.

The Richmond Braves were next to lease the statue, placing it on top of a concession stand at The Diamond, the Triple-A baseball team’s new stadium, built in 1985.For nearly 25 years, Connecticut kept watch over the Diamond as the mascot of the Braves. But in 2010, the Braves moved out of Richmond and Connecticut needed a new home. After interest from schools and other institutions, the sculpture was moved to the Lucky Strike power plant, an old tobacco factory complex that was being converted into loft apartments and offices. He remains there today, where he does, in fact, look over a tidal river: the James.

Know Before You Go

The sculpture is best seen from a Great Shiplock Park, found on the eastern edge of Richmond’s downtown area. Head east out of the downtown area on either Broad Street or Main Street and then turn right on N 21st Street. Turn left onto Dock street and head down until you see the entrance into Great Shiplock Park on the right, under the train trestle. You’ll see Connecticut as you drive down Dock Street. While you're there, take in the views of the Kanawha Canal, James River, and CSX train trestle, all prominent features in the area.