Who owns the Pump House?
The building is owned by the City of Richmond.
When can I tour the building?
We typically hold tours once per month from March through November. They usually occur on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, and last about 30 minutes. Tours are always announced on our Facebook page and via our website and mailing list.
What is your ultimate goal for the building?
We hope to see the Pump House restored to its former glory so that it can once again serve as a gathering place for the people of Richmond and surrounding areas. A revitalized Pump House could serve as an event venue, outdoor classroom, or interpretive center/museum, or some combination thereof. You may wish to check out the Timmons/3North plan that was commissioned by the City, which presents one possible vision for the building.
What's taking so long? Why hasn't the building been restored yet?
In short, the answer is simple: money. A full restoration/renovation would likely exceed $10 million, possibly more. But that doesn't mean that we aren't making progress. In the past few years, we've had several of the windows repaired, and we're about to start on some more. A collapsing brick archway and the doors beneath it were fixed as well. Additional repairs have been made to the roof. Also, it should be noted that some of our projects are located in areas of the building, like the attic, that aren't really visible to an outside observer.
Can I have my wedding/dog's birthday party/bar mitzvah/etc. at the Pump House?
In its current condition, the building isn't really suitable for these types of events. There are no restroom facilities, running water, or temperature control/HVAC, and the building is not accessible to those with mobility issues. In addition, the City of Richmond places a maximum limit of 20 people in the building (wearing hardhats) at any given time.
Is the building haunted?
As best we can tell, no, and we spend a lot of time there! We are aware of stories floating around on the internet stating otherwise, but we have been unable to find any evidence of such in our research, and have never experienced it directly ourselves.
Can I perform a paranormal investigation of the building?
Possibly. Because this requires that someone from either Friends of Pump House or James River Parks System be present at all times, there is a cost involved and not all requests can be accommodated. Please contact us directly to discuss your needs.
What is my donation used for?
All donations are used to fulfill our mission of preserving, protecting, and restoring this historic treasure. Much of our expenses result from buying building materials, tools, etc. that we use in our work, and paying contractors for their services. Then there are other expenses like office supplies, printing, website hosting, etc. We appreciate your contributions, and we take the trust you place in us very seriously.
When do you work on the Pump House, and what are the work days like?
Our work days are usually held on the Saturday after our monthly board meetings, and last from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are asked to sign a waiver if they haven't previously done so. Each volunteer is given a hard hat to wear for the morning, which must be kept on at all times. A member of our Arm & Hammer team will have a list of projects to be completed that day, and you can generally choose which one you want to help with. Projects range from cleaning/removing debris to making repairs or constructing new items that we need. There is often a lot of dust and dirt involved, so dress appropriately!
Who can attend your board meetings and when are they held?
Anyone can attend our monthly meetings, which are typically held on the second Wednesday of the month in the evening. Sign up for our mailing list to be notified of the meeting times and locations.
I don't have any useful skills. How can I help out?
If you can use a broom or hold a hammer, you can help. But if getting dirty really isn't your thing, there are other ways to contribute your time and talents. For example, you could assist with grant writing or fundraising, or give tours. Some people like to do research at the library, so there's that option as well. Or you can donate money. There are many ways to help out - just ask!
How much will it cost to completely restore the building?
Estimates vary, but probably at least $10 million.
Can I photograph the inside of the building?
Photography is allowed (and encouraged) on tours and during other events. In fact, we usually hold at least one event each year where photographers have some time to explore the building and take all the pictures they like.
Why is the canal so low? Who controls it?
The level of the canal is controlled by the City of Richmond's Department of Public Utilities. Occasionally, repairs must be made that necessitate draining the canal to a very low level.
Is Friends of Pump House a 501(c)3 organization?
We currently operate under a financial sponsorship agreement with the Enrichmond Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 organization. They collect donations and disburse funds on our behalf.