What would you think about your favorite restaurant if you knew that it was once the location of a notorious prison or that where you park your car every day was once a bustling slave market? Would you tread a bit more lightly if you knew that your favorite city park was once the site an enormous hospital where thousands of soldiers perished? How about if your office building was the spot where Virginia politicians decided to dissolve their ties with the United States?
In March 2009 I innocently responded to a voicemail from Brad Kutner, a producer at Richmond’s independent radio station, WRIR (97.3 FM). Brad was interested in doing a weekly radio program focusing on the Civil War and looking to partner with a local historical organization. Jennifer Guild, the VHS’s media relations specialist, and I met with Brad at the WRIR studios, and over a cup of coffee the three of us created the concept for Reconstructing Richmond.
Each ninety-second episode of Reconstructing Richmond uncovers the “hidden” history of Richmond at war and encourages listeners to consider how an event that occurred 150 years ago still influences them, and the city, today.
To date we’ve produced nearly seventy-five episodes and new programs air on WRIR 97.3 LPFM on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:55 am. If you don’t get WRIR on your radio don’t despair. Podcasts and transcripts of selected programs are available at the VHS website along with a map identifying the subject of each episode. There are ten episodes available online now, and more will be added in the future.
We hope you enjoy the program and if you have a good idea for a future Reconstructing Richmond episode let us know by leaving your feedback.