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.
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:
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:
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:
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