Lynchburg, Virginia

Lynchburg, in the geographical center of Virginia, is located in the Piedmont, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Piedmont is characterized by rolling green countryside and defined by a low, long chain of mountains known as the Blue Ridge. Part of the Allegheny and Appalachian chain of mountains, the Blue Ridge are older, more worn and smaller that the younger dramatic mountains of the western US.

Lynchburg is situated on the James River and takes its name from John Lynch, a Quaker who operated an early ferry. The James River, originally called the Powhatan after that same Indian tribe, flows east from Lynchburg toward the Capitol at Richmond and then on into the Chesapeake Bay.

Known as the city of seven hills, Lynchburg was a prosperous mid-nineteenth century Virginia City, due largely to the tobacco industry. Many historic neighborhoods remain. During the Civil War Lynchburg was a transportation, supply, and hospital center with thirty-two hospitals housed in city buildings.

Points of Interest in the City of Lynchburg

* Top tourist spots

* Lynchburg Regional Convention and Visitors' Bureau

Self-guiding, walking, and driving tours of Lynchburg's historic areas are available from the visitors' bureau.

* Point of Honor c 1815

Built by Patrick Henry's physician, Dr. George Cabell, Sr., this restored 19th century Federal-style mansion serves as a major landmark in Lynchburg. The name Point of Honor possibly derives from its prominent location as a favored dueling site. It is a lovely example of Piedmont Virginia Federal Architecture. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission. Museum Shop.

* Monument Terrace

  • Free
  • 901 Church Street, Downtown Lynchburg
  • Pictured on the left margin at the top of this page

Commemorates all wars from the Civil War to Vietnam. At the base of Church Street stands the Doughboy statue by noted sculptor Charles Keck, and markers line the 129 steps up to Court Street at the top. Currently being restored.

* Lynchburg Museum at Old Courthouse

The center of the Lynchburg Museum System houses several exhibits documenting the city's history through successive periods, transitioning from tobacco trading center to modern industrial city. Thanks to restorative efforts, the Husting's Courtroom, located in downtown Lynchburg, is once again in it's original 1855 condition. Exhibits include artifacts from the native Monacan tribes who inhabited the banks of the James River, Quaker relics and Civil War memorabilia. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Day.

* Old City Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery and Arboretum

  • Free - Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Cemetery Center 11-3 and by appointment.
  • Fourth and Taylor Streets
  • (434) 847-1465

This 200-year-old Virginia historic landmark with a 26-acre garden cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places. Included are 4 small museums and a confederate cemetery. Many of Lynchburg's earliest dwellers as well as 2,200 confederate soldiers from 14 different states are buried in this cemetery off Fifth Street. A monument dedicated to the 99 soldiers who died of small pox during the Civil War stands at the entrance to the Confederate Section of the cemetery.

The Pest House Medical Museum depicts conditions in Lynchburg's House of Pestilence during the Civil War. Interior tours of Pest House are by appointment only.

The Cemetery Center, which houses the offices of the Southern Memorial Association and the Old City Cemetery, features antique mourning items, a small gift shop and restrooms. The Center is closed on Sundays during the winter (usually November through mid-March).

Amazement Square - The Rightmire Children's Museum

  • Open 10- 5 Tues-Sat, 1-5 Sun
  • Closed major holidays
  • 27 Ninth Street (near the James River)
  • (434) 845-1888

Central Virginia's first hands-on children's museum. Four floors of fun and interactive exhibits- global and regional topics, the arts and humanities, history, culture, science, health and technology. Admission - $5.50, under 2 free.

The Legacy Museum of African American History

  • Open 12-4 Thur-Sat 2-4 Sun
  • Admission $2.00, seniors and children over 6 $1.00
  • 403 Monroe Street

The museum locates, collects preserves, and houses historical artifacts relating to significant contributions of the African-American community in Lynchburg. The galleries feature rotating exhibits of the history of African-Americans in Southwest Virginia. Guided and self-guiding tours are available. Food is available.

Anne Spencer House and Garden

An internationally acclaimed poet and part of the Harlem Renaissance, Anne Spencer is the only Virginian included in the Norton Anthology of British and American Poetry.

Lynchburg Community Market

The market has been operating year-round since 1783 and features food stalls, craft shows, music competitions, special events, and every Friday and Saturday morning showcases the farmer's market. Closed on Sunday.

Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting and presenting the visual and performing arts, while creating opportunities for arts education. These functions will be centered in the Academy of Fine Arts complex, anchored by the historic Academy of Music Theatre.

Riverside Park

  • Open Dawn to Dusk

Located off Rivermont Avenue, the park is home to two major pieces of history. Built in 1791, the Miller-Claytor House has been standing in the park since its restoration and move. One of the first houses built in Lynchburg, it stands as one of the oldest buildings in the city. The Miller-Claytor House is rumored to be where Thomas Jefferson ate a tomato to prove it was non-poisonous. Not open to the public. The keel of the packet boat Marshall is also located in Riverside Park.The Marshall is long remembered for carrying Stonewall Jackson's remains to Lexington for burial in 1863 .

* Maier Museum of Art

  • Open Tues-Sun 1-5
  • At Randolph Macon Woman's College
  • 1 Quinlan Street (off Rivermont Avenue)
  • (434) 947-8136

A fine collection of 19 th and 20 th century American art, which the college began collecting in 1920. The collection includes works by American artist George Bellow, Georgia O'Keefe, Robert Henri and includes a full-length portrait of Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptress and patroness of South Carolina's Brookgreen Gardens. The building was originally built to protect and house works evacuated from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. during World War II.

Fort Early

  • Dawn to Dusk
  • Memorial and Fort Avenues
  • (434) 847-1811

Built as a series of forts in 1863, this is one of the earthworks that anchored the outer defense line during the Civil War. Interpretive maps and displays are located on the grounds. Free.

Historic Sandusky

1808 Federal-style house that Union General Hunter used as headquarters after arriving in Lynchburg on June 17, 1864. A Civil War Trails driving tour tape or CD of Lynchburg sites is available for purchase at Ivy Creek Farm B&B as well as other places in town. The house is undergoing restoration.

Quaker South River Meeting House

  • Daily 8:30-3:30
  • Fort Avenue
  • (434) 239-2548

Restored and now part of the Quaker Memorial Church, the meeting house stands as Lynchburg's first house of worship.

Lynchburg Historic District

  • Guided Tours available
  • (434) 846-1868

Downtown Lynchburg is home to several historic neighborhoods. Historic District maps with walking/driving tours also of Bedford, Appomattox and Sweet Briar College.

The Freeman House

Located on Main Street, the Freeman House is the birthplace of Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Southall Freeman.

Daura Gallery

  • Open Academic Year
  • 9am to 2pm Mon-Fri, Sun 1 to 5pm
  • Summer hours by appointment.
  • Lynchburg College
  • 1501 Lakeside Drive
  • (434) 544-8343

The art gallery at Lynchburg College was established in 1974 and dedicated in 1990 as the Daura Gallery in memory of Pierre and Louise Blair Daura. Since then, the Gallery has expanded its facilities and collection through the generosity of their daughter, Martha Randolph Daura. The collection now includes more than 1,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture by the Catalan-American artist Pierre Daura, in addition to many works by other American and Virginia artists. Admission is free.

Lynchburg Fine Arts Center

  • (434)846-3804
  • For Kids' Stuff Tickets: (434) 846-8451

The Center provides a variety of exceptional performances in music, dance and theatre throughout the year. The Fine Arts Center also provides two galleries free to the public which showcase various exhibits throughout the year.

Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony performs seven engaging concerts during the year for audiences.

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