Located in the geographic heart of Virginia, Lynchburg has settled into its role as a modern city without deserting its rich past. Lynchburg was founded as a colonial settlement in the late 1700s. Named after John Lynch, a young man who initiated a ferry system across the adjacent James River, it has enjoyed a relatively steady progression of economic prosperity and historical significance.
A modest 49 square miles in area with a lower-than-average cost of living, Lynchburg is called home by over 72,000 residents. Boasting a temperate, seasonal climate, Lynchburg offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including skiing, hiking, biking and golf. Its safe neighborhoods and strong educational system have made it a stable environment in which to work and live, while its historic sites continue to attract visitors.
Lynchburg's roots can still be seen today in much of the city's architecture. However, there is little doubt as to its progressive 21st-century leanings, thanks to a concerted effort on the parts of local government, residents and businesses to revitalize the community through conservation and reconstruction efforts. In 2006, Forbes Magazine rated Lynchburg the fifth best location in the state for business. In 2008, Lynchburg was named one of the top ranking U.S. "Digital Cities," earning first place in its population category.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The main districts and neighborhoods in Lynchburg include Diamond Hill, Federal Hill and Garland Hill.
- Diamond Hill historic district: Located between Church and Grace Streets, Diamond Hill used to be the most prestigious neighborhood in Lynchburg. It is Lynchburg's first historic district.
- Federal Hill: Federal Hill is an attractive and convenient residential area in Lynchburg.
- Garland Hill: The Garland Hill Historic District is a small residential neighborhood located on one of Lynchburg's seven hills.
Other major neighborhoods include College Hill, Daniel's Hill, Franklin Hill and White Rock Hill, Boonsboro, Rivermont, Timberlake, Fort Hill, Windsor Hill and Forest Hill.
The city of Lynchburg contains about 27,000 houses, about 60 per cent of them owner-occupied.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
As Lynchburg continues to expand its business and employment base, the focus is on health services, higher education, engineering and retail. Major employers include Centra Health, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Areva (engineering services), Lynchburg City Schools and Genworth Financial Inc.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Lynchburg Museum: Located in Lynchburg's Old Court House, this museum explores the city's more than 200-year history, with exhibits, artifacts, fine art, photographs and other memorabilia on display.
- Point of Honor: This one-time residence of Dr. George Cabell, Sr., currently operates as a museum. Dr. Cabell was the physician of patriot Patrick Henry and a good friend of the third American president, Thomas Jefferson.
- Poplar Forest: During the early 19th century, Thomas Jefferson designed and built "Poplar Forest," an octagonal-shaped retreat home. Jefferson used this tranquil locale to escape the demands for his attention resulting from his growing publicity.
- Anne Spencer House and Garden: African-American poet Anne Spencer's writing cottage (nicknamed "Edan Kraal") offers appointment-only admission to the restored house and open admission to the adjoining gardens.
- Appalachian Trail: The 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine and passes through the Lynchburg, Virginia, area. The Trail ranges from mild to moderate difficulty levels and can be traveled year-round.
- James River Float Company: The James River has played a significant role in the evolution of the city of Lynchburg. Consequently, the James River Float Company is dedicated to preserving and sharing the historical value of this body of water through tours and water sport rentals.
- Antique Rose Festival: Held in the Old City Cemetery in early spring, this celebration of antique roses includes a bake sale, rose tours and rose gardening demonstrations.
- The Battle of Lynchburg: This important Civil War engagement is reenacted annually at Berkley, Bedford County's antebellum estate.
- Virginia Garlic Festival: Each October, a two-day tribute to everything garlic is celebrated on the grounds of the Rebec Vineyards.
- Virginia 10-Miler: This popular footrace began in 1974 and continues to challenge recreational and professional athletes each year.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The city was originally called "Lynch's Ferry."
- Lynchburg has been deemed the "City of Seven Hills"; the "Pittsburgh of the South"; "A City Unto Itself"; and the "Salt Lake City of the South."
- Monacan Indians once lived in what is now Lynchburg. Their descendents still retain a settlement in nearby Amherst County.
- Lynchburg's first tobacco warehouse stood almost 200 years (1791-1978) before being demolished out of necessity.
- Before the American Civil War, Lynchburg touted itself as the second wealthiest city per capita. (The first wealthiest was the whaling town of New Bedford, Massachusetts.)
- During the American Civil War, Lynchburg operated as a hospital, transportation hub and supply source for Confederate soldiers. Although only one battle took place near the city limits, the region held significant power during the war.
- From April 6-10, 1865, Lynchburg operated as Virginia's capital.
- More than 3,000 Confederate soldiers are buried in Lynchburg's Old Confederate Cemetery.
- ChapStick was invented by Lynchburg resident Dr. Charles Brown Fleet in 1889.
- During Word War I, the Lynchburg Red Cross-organized canteen was whimsically nicknamed "Lunchburg" by the troops passing through the city.
- Lynchburg's first radio station, WLVA (now WLVA 590, a religious station), aired in 1930.