John W. Keith, Jr., and Charles J. Schaefer were friends who investigated the ownership of many islands in the river and parcels along the river in the 1960’s, hoping to make the river more accessible to the public. After much research and legal work, Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Keith eventually became the owners of several islands in and parcels along the river within the city limits.
In 1972, they donated the land to the city of Richmond so it could become the first piece of the James River Park System, which has grown to more than 500 acres. The conservation easement that was passed last year could not have been put in place without the foresight and generosity of these two men.
There is a granite and bronze marker honoring them at the bottom of the 42nd Street tower in the James River Park System’s Main Section.