Adventure Time! A James River Treasure Hunt Solved


Let’s start of the week with a feel good story from CBS6 that we hope encourages more people to do stuff like this around town.

Meet John Bryan, a Richmond resident since 1981. The James River has held a special place in his heart ever since he stumbled upon this awe-inspiring natural gem shortly after relocating to the city.

Bryan’s love for the river led to a fun idea – a scavenger hunt along the banks of the James River. He decided to hide a cherished family heirloom, a valuable gold coin, amidst the riverbanks and provide clever clues to guide adventurous Richmonders on a quest for hidden treasures.

The treasure hunt began with the promise of discovering a prized gold coin, valued at around $500. Two friends, Gabe Thornton and Lucas Soulas, took on the adventure when they caught wind of the hidden treasure in December and they started following the trail of clues provided by John Bryan.

His clues were designed to ensure that treasure seekers wouldn’t have to dig, climb, or get wet. One of the clues hinted that the treasure was “close to heaven,” suggesting a lofty vantage point. With each clue, Thornton and Soulas explored uncharted territories along the river, which was Bryan’s original hope.

As they unraveled the clues, their search gradually homed in on a well-known Richmond landmark – Hollywood Cemetery. They combed the cemetery grounds in mid-December and it eventually paid off when they stumbled upon a discreetly concealed lockbox tucked away in a corner that held the 171-year-old gold coin.

Bryan, the mastermind behind this enthralling treasure hunt, couldn’t have been more delighted.

That isn’t all. John Bryan continues to give back to the community as ALL proceeds from his new book James River in Richmond: Your Guide to Embracing America’s Best Urban Waterway will be donated to local non-profit organizations, a sum totaling an impressive $30,000 so far.

ed. note: We want to mention he was a founding president of CultureWorks, which did a lot for local art and artists.

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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