Lynchburg, Virginia facts for kids

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Lynchburg, Virginia
Independent city
City of Lynchburg
Downtown Lynchburg skyline
Downtown Lynchburg skyline
Official seal of Lynchburg, Virginia
Seal
Nickname(s): "The Hill City"; "City of Seven Hills"
Location within Virginia
Location within Virginia
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1786
Incorporated (town) 1805
Incorporated (city) 1852
Named for John Lynch
Area
 • Independent city 128 km2 (49.6 sq mi)
 • Land 127 km2 (49.1 sq mi)
 • Water 1 km2 (0.5 sq mi)
Elevation 192 m (630 ft)
Population (2015)
 • Independent city 79,812(US: 416th)
 • Density 594/km2 (1,539/sq mi)
 • Urban 116,636 (US: 271st)
 • Metro 257,835 (US: 184th)
 • Demonym Lynchburgian, Lynchburger
Time zone EST (UTC– 05:00)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC– 04:00)
ZIP code(s) 24501, 24502, 24503, 24504, 24551
Area code(s) 434
FIPS code 51-47672
GNIS feature ID 1479007
Major airport LYH
Website lynchburgva.gov
City Hall at Lynchburg, VA IMG 4111
Lynchburg City Hall

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568. The 2014 census estimates an increase to 79,047. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or the "Hill City". Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not captured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.

Lynchburg is the principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Lynchburg, near the geographic center of Virginia. It is the fifth largest MSA in Virginia with a population of 254,171 and hosts several institutions of higher education. Other nearby cities include Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Danville.

History

See also: Timeline of Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg, VA, historical marker IMG 4105
Lynchburg historical marker

Monacan people and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes had lived in the area since at least 1270, well before English settlers arrived in Virginia. They had driven the Virginia Algonquians eastward. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages (Saponi) in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did the Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam expedition in 1671. Siouans occupied the area until about 1702, when, weakened by illness, the Seneca people (who spoke an Iroquois-related language) and hunted along the Shenandoah valley to the West conquered them. Beginning in 1718, certain Iroquois ceded control to the Colony of Virginia, as later did others at the Treaty of Albany in 1721 and Treaty of Lancaster in 1744.

Founding and early growth

First settled in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch (1740-1820). While about 17 years old, he started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London, where his parents had settled. The "City of Seven Hills" quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch's Ferry.

In 1786, Virginia's General Assembly in 1786 recognized Lynchburg, the settlement by Lynch's Ferry on the James River. The James River Company had been incorporated the previous year (and President George Washington given stock, which he donated to charity) in order to "improve" the river down to Richmond, which was then growing and became the new Commonwealth's capitol. Shallow-draft James River bateau provided a relatively easy means of transportation through Lynchburg down to Richmond and eventually the Atlantic Ocean (although rocks, downed trees and flood debris were constant hazards, so their removal became expensive ongoing maintenance and led to construction of a canal and towpath). Lynchburg became a tobacco trading, then commercial, and much later an industrial center. By 1812, U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, who lived in Richmond, reported on the navigation difficulties and construction problems on the canal and towpath.

The General Assembly recognized the settlement's growth by incorporating Lynchburg as a town in 1805 and as a city in 1852. In between, Lynch built Lynchburg's first bridge across the James River, a toll structure which replaced his ferry in 1812. A toll turnpike to Salem, Virginia was begun in 1817. Lynch died in 1820 and was buried beside his mother in the graveyard of the South River Friends Meetinghouse, although Quakers soon abandoned the town because of their opposition to slaveholding. Presbyterians restored their meetinghouse as a church, and it is now a historic site.

To avoid the many visitors at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson in 1806 built a home near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. He often visited the town, noting, "Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state." In 1810, Jefferson wrote, "Lynchburg is perhaps the most rising place in the U.S.... It ranks now next to Richmond in importance...."

Early Lynchburg was not known for religiosity, although the Church of England supposedly built a log church in 1765. In 1804, evangelist Lorenzo Dow wrote: "...where I spoke in the open air in what I conceived to be the seat of Satan's Kingdom. Lynchburg was a deadly place for the worship of God'." That referred to the lack of churches, which was corrected the following year. Itinerant Methodist Francis Asbury visited the town; Methodists built its first church in 1805; and it hosted the last Virginia Methodist Conference that bishop Asbury attended (February 20, 1815).

On December 3, 1840, the James River and Kanawha Canal from Richmond reached Lynchburg. It extended as far as Buchanan, Virginia in 1851, but never reached a tributary of the Ohio River as planned. Lynchburg's population exceeded 6,000 by 1840, and a water works system was built. However, floods in 1842 and 1847 wrecked havoc with the canal and towpath. Although both were repaired, because Virginia's General Assembly continued to refuse to fund a railroad to replace it, civic boosters began selling subscriptions for the Lynchburg and Tennessee Railroad the next year.

By the 1850s, Lynchburg (along with New Bedford, Massachusetts) was among the richest towns per capita in the US. Tobacco (including the manufacture of plug tobacco in factories using rented slave labor), slave-trading, general commerce, and iron and steel powered the economy.

Railroads had become the wave of the future. Construction on the new Lynchburg and Tennessee railroad had begun in 1850 and a locomotive tested the track in 1852. However, a locomotive called the "Lynchburg" blew up in Forest, Virginia (near Poplar Forest) later that year, illustrating the new technology's dangers. Nonetheless, by the Civil War discussed below, three more railroads, including the South Side Railroad from Petersburg, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (connecting to both Richmond and Washington) and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad stopped in Lynchburg.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, Lynchburg served as a Confederate transportation hub and supply depot, as well as had 30 hospitals.

In June 1864, Union forces of General David Hunter approached within 1-mile (1.6 km) as they drove south from the Shenandoah Valley. Confederate troops under General John McCausland harassed them. Meanwhile, the city's defenders hastily erected breastworks on Amherst Heights. Defenders were led by General John C. Breckinridge, who was an invalid from wounds received at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Union General Philip Sheridan appeared headed for Lynchburg on June 10, as he crossed the Chickahominy River and cut the Virginia Central Railroad. However, Confederate cavalry under General Wade Hampton, including the 2nd Virginia Cavalry from Lynchburg under General Thomas T. Munford defeated his forces at the two-day Battle of Trevillian Station in Louisa County, and they withdrew. This permitted fast-marching troops under Confederate General Jubal Early to reach within four miles of Lynchburg on June 16 and tear up the tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to inhibit Union reinforcements, while Confederate reinforcements straggled in from Charlottesville.

On June 18, 1864, in the Battle of Lynchburg, Early's combined forces, though outnumbered, repelled Union General Hunter's troops. Lynchburg's defenders had taken pains to create a false impression that the Confederate forces within the city were much larger. For example, a train was continuously run up and down the tracks while drummers played and Lynchburg citizens cheered as if reinforcements were disembarking. Narcissa Owen, wife of the President of the Lynchburg and Tennessee Railroad, later wrote about her similar deception of Union spies.

From April 6 to 10, 1865, Lynchburg served as the capital of Virginia. Governor William Smith and the Commonwealth's executive and legislative branches escaped to Lynchburg as Richmond surrendered on April 3. Then, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, roughly 20-mile (32 km) east of Lynchburg, ending the Civil War. Lynchburg surrendered on April 12, to Union General Ranald S. Mackenzie. Ten days later, Confederate Brigadier General James Dearing, a native of nearby Campbell County and descendant of John Lynch wounded on April 6 at High Bridge during that Appomattox campaign, died. Mackenzie had visited his wounded friend and former West Point classmate, easing the transition of power.

Postwar recovery

The railroads which powered Lynchburg's economy were destroyed by the war's end, and its citizens deeply resented occupying forces under General J. L. Gregg. However, they worked with his affable successor General N.M. Curtis. Thomas J. Kirkpatrick became superintendent for the public education advocated by Jefferson and finally established under Virginia's Constitution of 1869, and built four new public schools. Previously, the only education for students from poor families was provided through St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Floods in 1870 and 1877 destroyed the city's bridges (which were rebuilt) and the James River and Kanahwa Canal. That was not rebuilt, but the towpath was used by the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad, a project conceived five decades earlier. In 1881 not only was that railroad completed to Lynchburg, so was another railroad along the Shenandoah Valley. Lynchburg now had a telegraph, about 15000 residents, and a streetcar system had begun. However, Lynchburg was becoming crowded despite city limits expanded in 1874. Many citizens did not want to become a junction of that valley line and what became the Norfolk and Western Railroad, so the junction was moved to Big Lick, which later developed into the City of Roanoke.

Lynchburg Virginia c1919 LOC cph 3c22241u
1919 panorama

In the latter 19th century, Lynchburg embraced manufacturing (the city being sometimes referred to as the "Pittsburgh of the South") and, per capita, again became one of the wealthiest in the United States. In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette rolling machine. Shortly thereafter Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer, introduced the first mass marketed over-the-counter enema. By the city's centennial in 1886, banking activity had increased sixfold over the 1860 level, which some attributed to slavery's demise. Moreover, the Lynchburg Cotton Mill and Craddock-Terry Shoe Co. (which would become the largest shoe manufacturer in the south) were founded in 1888. The Reusens hydroelectric dam began in 1903 and soon delivered more power.

In 1886, Virginia Baptists founded a training school, the Lynchburg Baptist Seminary, which began to offer a college-level program to its African American students in 1900. Now named the Virginia University of Lynchburg, it is now the city's oldest institution of higher learning. Not far outside town, Randolph-Macon Woman's College and Sweet Briar College were founded in 1893 and 1901, respectively. In 1903, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) founded Lynchburg Christian College (later Lynchburg College) in what had been the Westover Hotel resort, which went bankrupt in the Panic of 1901, and continues to educate students today as the University of Lynchburg. Lynchburg's first public library, Jones Memorial Library, opened in 1907.

World War I Memorial, Lynchburg, VA IMG 4108
World War I Memorial in downtown Lynchburg

During World War I, the city's factories worked, and the area also supplied troops. The city powered through the Roaring Twenties and survived the Great Depression. Its first radio station, WLVA began in 1930 and its airport opened in 1931. In 1938 the former fairgrounds became side by side baseball and football stadiums.

World War II and after

Lynchburg's factories again worked 24 hours daily during World War II. In 1955 both General Electric and Babcock & Wilcox built high technology factories in the area.

However, Lynchburg lost its battle for an interstate highway. In the late 1950s, interested citizens, including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., asked the federal government to change its long-planned route for the interstate highway now known as I-64 between Clifton Forge and Richmond. Since the 1940s, maps of the federal interstate highway system planned a northern route, missing the manufacturing centers at Lynchburg and Roanoke, but federal officials assured Virginia that the state would decide the route. Although initially favoring that northern route, Virginia's State Highway Commission eventually supported a southern route from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, which connected Lynchburg and Roanoke via US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then continued west following US-60 into West Virginia. However, in July 1961 Governor Lindsay Almond and US Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges announced that the route would not be changed. Thus Lynchburg became the only city with a population in excess of 50,000 (at the time) not served by an interstate.

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (now known as the Central Virginia Training School), is just outside Lynchburg in Madison Heights. For several decades throughout the mid-20th century, the state of Virginia authorized compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics. The operations were carried out at the institution, then an estimated 8,300 Virginians were sterilized and relocated to Lynchburg, which became a "dumping ground" of sorts for the feeble-minded, poor, blind, epileptic, and those otherwise seen as genetically "unfit" Carrie Buck, whose sterilization the United States Supreme Court authorized in Buck v. Bell, was classified as "feeble-minded" and sterilized while a patient at that institution.

Sterilizations were carried out for 35 years until 1972, when operations were finally halted. Later in the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Virginia on behalf of the sterilization victims. Victims received formal apologies and counseling if they chose, but the judiciary denied requests for reverse sterilization operations. In 1994, Buck's sterilization and litigation became a television drama, Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story. The Manic Street Preachers also address the issue in their song "Virginia State Epileptic Colony" on their 2009 album Journal For Plague Lovers.

Modern revitalization

In 1971, local pastor Jerry Falwell founded Lynchburg Baptist College, which since 1984 has been known as Liberty University, and is now the city's largest institution of higher education.

Lynchburg now has ten recognized historic districts, four of them in the downtown residential area. Since 1971, 40 buildings have also been individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Especially since 2002, downtown Lynchburg has experienced significant revitalization, with hundreds of new loft apartments created through adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills. Since 2000, downtown has attracted private investments of more than $110 million and business activity increased by 205% from 2004 to 2014. In 2014, 75 new apartments were added to downtown, with 155 further units under construction increasing the number of housing units downtown by 48% from 2010 to 2014.

In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian street zone opened. Notable projects underway in downtown by the end of 2015 include the $25 million Hilton Curio branded Virginian Hotel restoration project, $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Center of the Arts, and $4.6 million expansion of Amazement Square Children's Museum.

Geography and climate

Lynchburg is located at Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found. (37.403672, −79.170205).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5 km2), of which 49.2 square miles (127.4 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (1.0%) is water.

Lynchburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 35.1 °F (1.7 °C) in January to 75.3 °F (24.1 °C) in July. Nights tend to be significantly cooler than days throughout much of the year due in part to the moderate elevation. In a typical year, there are 26 days with a high temperature 90 °F (32 °C) or above, and 7.5 days with a high of 32 °F (0 °C) or below. Snowfall averages 12.9 inches (33 cm) per season but this amount varies highly with each winter; the snowiest winter is 1995–96 with 56.8 in (144 cm) of snow, but the following winter recorded only trace amounts, the least on record.

Temperature extremes range from 106 °F (41 °C), recorded on July 10, 1936, down to −11 °F (−24 °C), recorded on February 20, 2015. However, several decades may pass between 100 °F (38 °C) and 0 °F (−18 °C) readings, with the last such occurrences being July 8, 2012 and February 20, 2015, respectively. <section begin="weather box" />

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Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 4,630
1840 6,395 38.1%
1850 8,071 26.2%
1860 6,853 −15.1%
1870 6,825 −0.4%
1880 15,959 133.8%
1890 19,709 23.5%
1900 18,891 −4.2%
1910 29,494 56.1%
1920 30,070 2.0%
1930 40,661 35.2%
1940 44,541 9.5%
1950 47,727 7.2%
1960 54,790 14.8%
1970 54,083 −1.3%
1980 66,743 23.4%
1990 66,049 −1.0%
2000 65,269 −1.2%
2010 75,568 15.8%
Est. 2015 79,812 5.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2012

As of the 2010 census, there were 75,568 people, 25,477 households, and 31,992 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,321.5 people per square mile (510.2/km²). There were 27,640 housing units at an average density of 559.6 per square mile (216.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.0% White, 29.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 25,477 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.

The age distribution of the city had: 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,234, and the median income for a family was $40,844. Males had a median income of $31,390 versus $22,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,263. About 12.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Lynchburg ranks below the 2006 median annual household income for the U.S. as a whole, which was $48,200, according to the US Census Bureau.

The city's population was stable for 25+ years: in 2006, it was 67,720; in 2000, it was 65,269; in 1990, it was 66,049; in 1980, it was 66,743.

In 2009 almost 27% of Lynchburg children lived in poverty. The state average that year was 14 percent.

Transportation

Local transit

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) operates the local public transport bus service within the city. The GLTC additionally provides the shuttle bus service on the Liberty University campus.

The GLTC has selected a property directly across from Lynchburg-Kemper Street Station as its top choice of sites upon which to build the new transfer center for their network of public buses. They are interested in facilitating intermodal connections between GLTC buses and the intercity bus and rail services which operate from that location. The project is awaiting final government approval and funding, and is expected to be completed around 2013.

Amtrak's Kemper Street Station, Lynchburg, Virginia
Greyhound and Amtrak operate from Kemper Street Station

Intercity transit

Intercity passenger rail and bus services are based out of Kemper Street Station, a historic, three-story train station recently restored and converted by the city of Lynchburg to serve as an intermodal hub for the community. The station is located at 825 Kemper Street.

Bus

Greyhound Lines located their bus terminal in the main floor of Kemper Street Station following its 2002 restoration. Greyhound offers transport to other cities throughout Virginia, the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Amtrak Lynchburg-Kemper St. Station entrance
Outside Amtrak's lobby at Kemper Street Station

Rail

Amtrak's long distance Crescent and a Northeast Regional connect Lynchburg with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and intermediate points.

In October 2009, Lynchburg became the southern terminus for a Northeast Regional that previously had overnighted in Washington. The forecast ridership was 51,000 for the 180-mile extension's first year, but the actual count was triple that estimate, and the train paid for itself without any subsidy. By FY 2015, the Regional had 190,000 riders. The Lynchburg station alone served a total of 85,000 riders in 2015. It is located in the track level ground floor of Kemper Street Station.

Lynchburg has two major freight railroads. It is the crossroads of two Norfolk Southern lines. One is the former mainline of the Southern Railway, upon which Kemper Street Station is situated. NS has a classification yard located next to the shopping mall. Various yard jobs can be seen. Railfans who wish to visit the NS Lynchburg yard are advised to inquire with an NS official. CSX Transportation also has a line through the city and a small yard.

Air

Lynchburg Regional Airport is solely served by American Eagle to Charlotte. American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is the only current scheduled airline service provider, with seven daily arrivals and departures. In recent years air travel has increased with 157,517 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2012, representing 78% of the total aircraft load factor for that time period.

Highway

Primary roadways include U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 501, U.S. Route 221, running north-south, and U.S. Highway 460, running east-west. While not served by an interstate, parts of Route 29 have been upgraded to interstate standards and significant improvements have been made to Highway 460 in the immediate vicinity to Lynchburg and suburban areas.

Arts and culture

In a Forbes magazine survey, Lynchburg ranked 189 for cultural and leisure out of 200 cities surveyed.

  • Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra: Created in 1983, throughout the years a variety of music has been presented, from the classical to the patriotic to the popular.
  • Academy of Fine Arts: Are you looking for the center of creativity in Central Virginia – a place that sparks your imagination, where all ages can go to be entertained and educated in theatre, dance, music and the visual arts? Then come to the Academy of Fine Arts!
  • Renaissance Theatre: Our mission is to create opportunities for community involvement in the arts through live theatrical experiences, with productions from the classics to new works.
  • Lynchburg Art Club: The Club was formed in March 1895 and our mission is to promote and advance art in the Lynchburg community.
  • Opera on the James: opera performed by national and regional artists in a wide variety of venues since 2005 including classic grand operas, small scale lesser-known operas, contemporary works, family operas, concerts of diverse repertoire, lectures, school tours and free community outreach.

Attractions and entertainment

The following attractions are located within the Lynchburg MSA:

  • Amazement Square: Central Virginia's first multidisciplinary, hands-on children's museum.
  • Appomattox Courthouse: The site of the Battle of Appomattox Court House, where the surrender of the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee to Union commander Ulysses S. Grant took place on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the American Civil War.
  • Crabtree Falls: The longest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is located in Nelson County, Virginia. The trail leads hikers along a 1.7-mile hike with beautiful views of five cascades of Crabtree Falls. The land formerly in private ownership prior to the late 1970s is in the George Washington National Forest. Crabtree Falls sits near two undeveloped mountainous areas designated as Wilderness areas: The Priest & Three Ridges respectfully. Unfortunately since 1982, Thirty (30) people have fallen to their deaths due to navigating too far away from the trail. There are warning signs at the public trailhead because of this.
  • James River Heritage Trail: Composed of two smaller trails, the Blackwater Creek Bikeway and RiverWalk.
  • Lynchburg Museum: Through the doors of the Lynchburg Museum one can relive the city's past, rich with tales of Monacan tribes, early Quaker settlers, the reign of King Tobacco, the bloody struggle of the Civil War, the New South, and the drama of change in the 20th century.
  • Miller-Claytor House: Pre-19th century townhouse where Thomas Jefferson allegedly proved to the owner of the house's garden that tomatoes were not poisonous by eating one of the fruit. Home was dismantled in 1936 and rebuilt at its Riverside Park location, where the garden was also restored.
  • National D-Day Memorial: Located in Bedford, Virginia, it commemorates all those who served the United States during the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 during World War II.
  • Nature Zone: A division of Lynchburg Parks and Recreation.
  • Old City Cemetery Museums & Arboretum: The most visited historic site in the City of Lynchburg. Established in 1806, the Old City Cemetery is Lynchburg's only publicly owned burial ground and one of its oldest cemeteries. It is also home to the largest public collection of heirloom or "antique" roses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • The Old Court House: The Hill City's most famous historic landmark built in 1855. Fashioned as a Greek temple high above the James River, it is now the home of Central Virginia's best collection of memorabilia, fine furnishings, costumes and industrial history.
  • Peaks of Otter: Three mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the town of Bedford, Virginia and in prominent view throughout most of Lynchburg.
  • Point of Honor: The Federal-era mansion of Dr. George Cabell, Sr., friend and physician of the patriot Patrick Henry, and John S. Langhorne whose daughter Elizabeth Langhorne Lewis led the fight for women’s suffrage. His granddaughters include Mrs. Charles Dana Gibson, the original “Gibson Girl” and Nancy Langhorne, Lady Astor, the first woman elected to the British Parliament.
  • Poplar Forest: Thomas Jefferson's retreat home. Jefferson designed the octagonal house during his second term as president and sojourned here in his retirement to find rest and leisure and escape public life. Ongoing restoration and archaeology is taking place at the site. A future access road/parkway is planned between the property and the Wyndhurst community with an existing signalized intersection on Enterprise Drive.
  • River Ridge Mall: The city's shopping mall built and opened in approximately 1980 is now owned and operated as a partnership between CBL Properties and Liberty University.
  • Smith Mountain Lake: The largest lake entirely within Virginia, located in Bedford County, Virginia (part of the Lynchburg MSA), features about 20,000 surface acres and 500 miles of shoreline.
  • Nelson 151: The primary route through western Nelson County hosts several breweries, wineries, cideries, and a distillery. Craft beverage tourism is popular for people residing in Lynchburg as well as the Charlottesville areas. This is also a draw for those living in the larger metro areas of the state.

Sports and recreation

Riverwalk sign, Lynchburg, VA IMG 4101
Percival's Island section of James River walking trail in Lynchburg

Lynchburg is home to sporting events and organizations including:

  • 7 Hills Hash House Harriers: The local chapter of an international group of non-competitive running, social and drinking clubs.
  • Hiking areas include the Appalachian Trail, Apple Orchard Trail, Blackwater Creek Natural Area, Candlers Mountain to Camp Hydaway, Crabtree Falls, Flat Top, Holliday Lake, Mount Pleasant National Scenic Holliday Lake, Otter Creek Trail, and Sharp Candlers Mountain to Camp Hydaway
  • Liberty Flames: An NCAA Division I department of athletics competing in 20 sports. They are a member of the Big South Conference.
  • Lynchburg College: The Hornets are an NCAA Division III school competing in 13 sports, as a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
  • Lynchburg Hillcats: A Class High-A professional baseball team in the Carolina League. They are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians of the American League.
  • Riverside Runners (Lynchburg Road Runners Club) – The main stop for information on local races (either for charity or for fun), or races within a few hours of the surrounding area.
  • Blackwater Rugby Club: The local Men's Div. III rugby union football club, member of southern division of the Capitol Rugby Union.

Neighborhoods

The first neighborhoods of Lynchburg developed upon seven hills adjacent to the original ferry landing. These neighborhoods include:

  • College Hill
  • Daniel's Hill
  • Diamond Hill
  • Tinbridge Hill
  • Franklin Hill
  • Garland Hill
  • White Rock Hill

Other major neighborhoods include Boonsboro, Rivermont, Fairview Heights, Fort Hill, Forest Hill (Old Forest Rd. Area), Timberlake, Windsor Hills, Sandusky, Linkhorne, and Wyndhurst.

Sister cities

Images for kids


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