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Two NEW Special Gift Editions of The James River in Richmond are now available for purchase, featuring original hand-painted artwork by the author.


This book is a philanthropic project with all net proceeds going for good causes. Special thanks for major funding from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, as well to other financial supporters including Brooks Smith, Jayne and Bobby Ukrop, David Robinson, and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. (Additional gratitude in the “Special Thanks” section in the front pages of the book.)


The 2024 James River Treasure Hunt!

The author has hidden a treasure somewhere along the James River within Richmond’s city limits. Finding it requires no digging, no climbing, no boating, no swimming or wading, and no moving of objects. The treasure is smaller than a pawpaw fruit, lighter than an osprey feather, and played a compelling role in a movie that transformed an entire industry. Beginning March 1, 2024, a new video clue is revealed every 10 days or so on our Facebook page, James River Lovers. Each clue references a specific page in the book, The James River in Richmond – Your NEW Guide to Enjoying America’s Best Urban Waterway.

The 2023 James River Treasure, a gold U.S. half-dime from the 1800s, was found in December 2023 by Lucus Soulas (left) and Gabe Thornton.

"Thank you for sending us on this adventure,” was what they told me when they called to say they’d found the treasure. I hid it along the James River late last February when the book was released. I posted a new clue every 10 days or so: a total of 32 clues. The treasure was hidden behind a bush at Hollywood Cemetery’s mausoleum that overlooks the river. (The last phrase on the book’s page 125 identifies the location.)


Gabe and Lucas both grew up in the Richmond region. Gabe graduated from Wisconsin’s Northland College with a degree in Outdoor Education and is now an Environmental Educator for the James River Association. Lucas, a former JRA staff member, graduated from VCU with a degree in Religion and Environment. His LinkedIn page says, “Zen Monk, Writer, Poet, and Teacher.”


The history of the gold coin:


The Civil War’s “battle” of Elizabethtown, Kentucky took place on December 27, 1862. Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan traveled there with 3,900 men to destroy the L&N Railroad, the main artery for Union Troops moving south. He encountered Union Lt. Col. H. S. Smith with his 652 troops. Morgan’s troops surrounded the town and placed artillery on the cemetery hill. They destroyed the Elizabethtown garrison and the Federals surrendered. At some point during the War – perhaps during that engagement - an Elizabethtown resident hid a group of coins in a household chimney. The coins remained hidden until they were found by Mr. G. L. Hodges in 1920 when the house was demolished. Hodges gave at least one of the coins to his sister, Josie Fraser who passed it on to her son, Henry Earl Fraser and his wife, Edna Gower Fraser who eventually passed it on to her grandson: me! I’d saved it for a lot of years hoping to find an interesting use for it. 

Deep discount price of $16.50 (includes tax and shipping) for the following categories:


  • IF YOUR PHOTO IS IN THE BOOK (If the author photographed you and you signed a Release Form, you are included.) Use code INTHEBOOK


  • If you are ordering books for a NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION or GOVERNMENT ENTITY. Use code NONPROFITS

  • If you are ordering books for your COMPANY’S EMPLOYEES. (minimum 10) Use code FOREMPLOYEES

  • If you are ordering books for members of your BOOK CLUB, RECREATION ASSOCIATION, EXERCISE GROUP, CHURCH CLASS, ETC. (minimum 10) Use code FORCLUBS

  • If you are ordering books for students/families in YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL. (minimum 10) Use code STUDENTS&SCHOOLS

  • If you are ordering books for a PERSONAL EVENT or gathering: birthday party, vacation group, picnic group, family reunion, etc. (minimum 10) Use code FUN&EVENTS

Purchases & Discounts

Regular-priced books can be ordered by clicking the button below, or by sending a check for $26.50 each, made payable to Bryan Bunch LLC, to: Bryan Bunch LLC, P.O. Box 27471, Richmond, VA 23261. (Price includes $19.95 retail price, shipping, and taxes.) Please be sure to include your shipping information.


Contact the Author

Author John Bryan welcomes comments about typos and mistakes, important things that he should have included, suggestions for a next edition, and general feedback. He also welcomes comments about this website. Contact John by e-mail here, and/or by snail mail: John Bryan, Bryan Bunch LLC. P.O. Box 27471, Richmond, VA 23261



El libro presenta una sección especial en español, y 1,000 libros gratuitos están disponibles de forma gratuita para los residentes de habla hispana de la región de Richmond. Comuníquese con el autor a para obtener más información.

TRANSLATION: The book features a special Spanish language section, and 1,000 free books are available free for Spanish language residents of the Richmond region. Contact the author here for more information.

Reunión de quinceañeras en el puente T-Pott: aparece en el libro en la página 185.

TRANSLATION: Quinceanera gathering on the T-Pott Bridge – featured in the book on page 185.

Meet author John Bryan — named a "ParkStar" by Friends of James River Park

Where to Purchase Books in Greater Richmond

Book People – 10464 Ridgefield Parkway

Computerology – 1925 West Cary Street

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – 1800 Lakeside Avenue

Plan 9 Records –  3017 West Cary Street

Richmond Canal Boat Tours Kiosk – 139 Virginia Street

Trail Hut – 114 N. 2nd Street

AlterNatives – 3320 West Cary Street

Peak Experiences – 1375 Overbrook Road

Crossroads Art Center – 2016 Staples Mill Road

Whether you're a long-time Richmonder …

… or a first-time visitor, a fast-moving energizer or a slow-moving relaxer, a devotee of art and history or a lover of woods and waters, a wise-eyed 80-year-old or a wide-eyed 8-year-old – no matter what or who you are, this book is your guide to a cityload of fascinating experiences in, on, and along America’s best urban waterway: fast-water kayaking and calm-water swimming, lively walkways and secluded woodsways, provocative history and evocative art, granite-wall climbing and mountain-trail biking, wheel-friendly pathways and family-friendly festivals.

KEEP READING FOR: Treasure Clues, Strangers on the River, Book Events, Purchases and Discounts, Contact the Author. 

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