Introduction to Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg is an independent city (meaning a city not belonging to a county) located in central Virginia, near the cities of Roanoke, Danville, and Charlottesville. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is situated approximately 180 miles southwest of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Principal highways in the city include U.S. Route 29, 221, 460, and 501.
Incorporated as a town in 1805 and as a city in 1852, Lynchburg got its name from its founder, John Lynch, who was granted a charter in 1786 by the Virginia General Assembly for a town on 45 acres of his own land. The 19th century saw prosperity for Lynchburg, a center of manufacturing and commerce whose principal industry was tobacco. The onset of the 20th century brought a change in Lynchburg's economic base from tobacco to manufacturing. A large number of factories opened, many of which remained cornerstones of the economy for many years, allowing the city to grow and diversify. Colleges, libraries, and housing developments slowly populated the town over the years, to the point where today's Lynchburg is a vibrant community with a strong industrial base and is a regional center for retail and commerce.
Known as the "City of Seven Hills" (College Hill, Garland Hill, Daniel's Hill, Federal Hill, Diamond Hill, White Rock Hill, and Franklin Hill), Lynchburg was frequented often by Thomas Jefferson, who maintained a nearby residence (Poplar Forest). The city is home to several colleges and universities, including Liberty University, established in the 1980s as Liberty Baptist College by televangelist and Lynchburg resident Jerry Falwell.
Lynchburg Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
Lynchburg's rich history and unspoiled beauty make it a natural setting for a wealth of historical landmarks, cultural events, and recreational activities. Some of the more prominent are as follows:
- Academy of Fine Arts: Houses both an active studio theatre and an historic theatre undergoing renovation
- Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children's Museum: Four spacious floors of interactive exhibitions, workshops and educational programs
- Anne Spencer House and Garden: Honoring the internationally acclaimed poet who was the only black woman and the only Virginian included in the Norton Anthology of Modern American and British Poetry
- Daura Gallery Museum: More than 1,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints
- Legacy Museum of African-American History: Explores all aspects of local African American history and culture
- Liberty University Theater: Located on Liberty University's main campus
- Lynchburg Museum/Old Court House
- Maier Museum of Art
- Miller Claytor House
- Old City Cemetery
- Sandusky Historic Site & Civil War Museum
- South River Meeting House
- The James River Heritage Trail
Although Virginia does not have a major league sports team, the city of Lynchburg is rich in baseball history. Minor League professional baseball has existed here since 1894, when the Lynchburg Hill Climbers brought baseball to the city. The team, which played in the Virginia League until the league disappeared in 1943, underwent some name changes during that time, becoming the Shoemakers, then the Grays, then the Senators. The team moved to the Piedmont League in 1943 and remained there until 1955 as the Lynchburg Cardinals. After a few more league changes and name changes, the team settled down in 1995 as the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League, where they remain to this day. The Hillcats are a class High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.