The city of Danville, Virginia, sits on the banks of the Dan River in an area known as Southside Virginia near the North Carolina border. Danville rests at the crossroads of north-south corridor Route 29 and Route 58, which extends east from Tennessee along the southern Virginia state line almost to the Atlantic Ocean. For centuries, this strategic location has served the city well as a bustling hub of commerce, particularly for tobacco and textiles. Much of that way of life is long gone, however.
The city covers nearly 44 square miles and has a population around 44,500. Danville is also called the "City of Churches" because it has more places of worship per square mile than any other city in Virginia.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Danville's population was more than 48,000 at the 2000 U.S. Census but has declined to fewer than 45,000, primarily due to lost manufacturing jobs. With the closing of Dan River Industries, once one of the world's largest textile mills, the city's unemployment rate spiked. During World War II, Dan River Industries employed around 14,000 people. By the early 21st century, that figure had dropped to about 1,600. The mill has since closed and filed twice for bankruptcy.
The city was once a famous center for tobacco storage and auctioning, and later, for textile production, although that industry fell into sharp decline with an increasing reliance on outsourced labor in third-world countries.
Major employers in Danville include the following:
- Arista Tubes and Supply Resources (custom packaging manufacturer)
- City of Danville
- Danville Public Schools
- Danville Regional Medical Center
- Corning (glass products manufacturer)
- Goodyear (tire manufacturer)
- Nestle (food products manufacturer)
- Wal-Mart (discount retail store)
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Neighborhoods and districts of Danville accommodate around 23,000 houses, out of which more than 20,600 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, more than 12,000 are owner-occupied while renters occupy around 8,600 houses.
Some of the city's notable areas include:
- Millionaire's Row is the most impressive area in Danville, showcasing many fine homes built in the 1800s and early 1900s by descendants of American planters.
- The part of Main St. that experienced heavy growth during the Tobacco boom has been designated as a historic district and is called Penn's Bottom.
- The Tobacco Warehouse Historic District, Downtown Danville Historic District, Old West End Historic District and North Main Historic District are going through a period of revitalization.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Danville was once known as "The World's Best Tobacco Market," a reputation it held for more than 200 years as the largest market for leaf tobacco. During the Civil War, Danville's tobacco warehouses were converted into prisons for Union soldiers. Some 5,000 troops were incarcerated in those makeshift prisons during the war. Today, tourists can visit the Sutherlin Mansion, now home to the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History. The property was the home of Confederate Major William T. Sutherlin and was the location of the last capitol building of the Confederacy after Union forces occupied Richmond.
- Since 1948, the Little Theatre of Danville has staged community plays, including audience-participation murder mysteries.
- The Danville Symphony Orchestra performs concerts of classics about every other month.
- The North Theatre on Main Street is a restored movie palace that screens classic films and presents theatrical productions. The theater opened in 1947 and was closed in 1976, when the screen went dark for nearly 30 years. The property served as an auction house and flower shop, as well as the home of several churches, until a community group in 2003 set out to restore the historic site.
- In addition to high school and collegiate athletics at Averett University, the city is home to the Danville Braves, an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves major league team.
Averett University, a private university, has been enrolling students for 150 years. The Cougars, the university's Division III football and basketball teams, attract local fans and alumni to campus. The city is also home to Danville Community College, which offers continuing education, professional training and associate's degrees.
Radio and television stations include:
- WDVA 1250 (Gospel)
- WBTM 1330 (News/Talk)
- WHEE 1370 (Americana/Roots)
- WFIC 1530 (Country)
- WYNC 1540 (Gospel)
- WSBV 1560 (Gospel)
- WYTI 1570 (Americana/Roots)
- WILA 1580 (Gospel)
- WSOE 89.3 (College Radio)
- WFFC 89.9 (Public Radio)
- WPIM 90.5 (Christian Contemporary)
- WOKD 91.1 (Christian Contemporary)
- WMQX 93 (Oldies)
- WGBT 94.5 (Top 40)
- WHLF 95.3 (Adult Contemporary)
- WKRX 96.7 (Country)
- WZBB 99.9 (Country)
- WJMH 102.1 (Hip Hop)
- WAKG 103.3 (Country)
- WKDE 105.5 (Country)
- WMNA 106.3 (Talk)
- WKVE 106.7 (Christian Contemporary)
- W18BG (Tri-State Christian TV)
- WXLV 45