Congratulations, you otter-ly amazing human – you found one of our beautiful bronze otter sculptures! This sculpture is part of the Otter-ly Amazing Fredericksburg Project supported by Fredericksburg, VA Main Street, and the City of Fredericksburg.

Did you know that the Rappahannock River is home to the river otter? These furry river dwellers are a crucial indicator of an aquatic ecosystem’s health, and their presence is a sign of good water quality. Thanks to the cleanup efforts from local environmental organizations like Friends of the Rappahannock, otters have started returning to our river!

This otter proudly serves as a symbol of the health and vitality of our city.

Learn more about the river otter and this project at fredericksburgotters.com.

Our donors named their otters in honor of family members, important people, pets, or with a name that represents their values or beliefs. We hope you will enjoy the stories that weave a community together and give you a glimpse of the special people who call Fredericksburg home.

This river otter was proudly donated by:
Mary Katherine Greenlaw

This river otter is named:

My mother, Mary Louise Garnett Goodwin, nicknamed “Lukey,” was a native of Fredericksburg, as were her parents.  Her maternal grandfather, Rufus Bainbridge Merchant, was a native of Dumfries who met his wife to be when here for the Battle of Fredericksburg; he came back after the war, married her, and started The Daily Star newspaper in 1869 (today the “Star” component of The Free Lance-Star.)  Lukey grew up in a house on Amelia Street across from the Baptist Church and spent all her life living in downtown Fredericksburg.

Lukey attended the Virginia State Teacher’s College (today the University of Mary Washington) and remained committed to education throughout her life.  She taught at the Fredericksburg High School (today the Maury Condominiums) and later served on the Fredericksburg School Board for 13 years.  In 1948, she and another woman were the first two female candidates to run for City Council, although Lukey was not elected.

The Wallace Library (now the School Board Building) was very important in my life growing up in Fredericksburg.  Directly below the library on George Street was a music store run by Dovie Reynolds, who became a mentor to me.  At that time, you could listen to music before purchasing 33 LP records.  I was interested in classical music and Dovie taught me life lessons through music.  Between the library and the music store, I absorbed a great deal of knowledge on this corner in Fredericksburg.

The Rappahannock River was very important to children growing up in Fredericksburg; we would gather on its banks to play.  I love that the otters are a sign of a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.

After Lukey died, the area Council of Garden Clubs planted a tree on Arbor Day to honor her.  Coincidentally, the tree was planted in the pocket park in front of the Wallace Library, on the corner that had such an impact on my upbringing in Fredericksburg.  So, I am thrilled to add an Otter-ly Amazing sculpture named after her in the same location!

While Fredericksburg is steeped with incredible history and many important people walked its streets over the years, it is also the everyday people who lived and worked here who make Fredericksburg what it is today.  History lives in Fredericksburg, giving our community a strong sense of place.  We literally live and breathe history.  As I walk by the Wallace Library, I remember Lukey; her spirit still lives on.

By Mary Katherine Greenlaw