Lynchburg, Virginia
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Lynchburg, Virginia

Lynchburg, Virginia
City of Lynchburg
Downtown Lynchburg in 2009
Downtown Lynchburg in 2009
Official seal of Lynchburg, Virginia
Coat of arms of Lynchburg, Virginia
Coat of arms
"The Hill City"; "City of Seven Hills"
Location within the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location within the Commonwealth of Virginia
Lynchburg is located in the United States
Location within the contiguous United States of America
Coordinates: 37°24?13?N 79°10?12?W / 37.40361°N 79.17000°W / 37.40361; -79.17000Coordinates: 37°24?13?N 79°10?12?W / 37.40361°N 79.17000°W / 37.40361; -79.17000
Country United States
State Virginia
Incorporated (town)1805
Incorporated (city)1852
Named forJohn Lynch
 o TypeCouncil-Manager
 o MayorMaryJane Dolan[1]
 o Vice MayorBeau Wright[2]
 o CouncilLynchburg City Council
 o Independent city49.53 sq mi (128.27 km2)
 o Land48.97 sq mi (126.84 km2)
 o Water0.55 sq mi (1.43 km2)
630 ft (192 m)
 o Independent city75,568
 o Estimate 
 o Density1,677.79/sq mi (647.80/km2)
 o Urban
116,636 (US: 271st)
 o Metro
260,320 (US: 184th)
 o Demonym
Lynchburgian Lynchburger
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 o Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
24501, 24502, 24503, 24504, 24505, 24551
Area code(s)434
FIPS code51-47672
GNIS feature ID1479007[5]
Major airportLYH
Downtown Lynchburg from Daniel's Hill at Point of Honor
Lynchburg City Hall

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568, estimated to have risen to 82,168 as of 2019.[6] Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or the "Hill City".[7] In the 1860s, Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not recaptured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.[8]

Lynchburg lies at the center of a wider metropolitan area close to the geographic center of Virginia. It is the fifth-largest MSA in Virginia, with a population of 260,320.[9] It is the site of several institutions of higher education, including Virginia University of Lynchburg, Randolph College, University of Lynchburg, Central Virginia Community College and Liberty University. Nearby cities include Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Danville.


Monacan Indian Nation and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes had lived in the area since at least 1270, driving the Virginia Algonquians eastward to the coastal areas. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages (Saponi) in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did the Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam expedition in 1671.

Siouan peoples occupied this area until about 1702; they had become weakened because of high mortality from infectious diseases. The Seneca people, who were part of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy based in New York, defeated them. The Seneca had ranged south while seeking new hunting grounds through the Shenandoah Valley to the West. At the Treaty of Albany in 1718, the Iroquois Five Nations ceded control of their land east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Lynchburg, to the Colony of Virginia; they confirmed this in 1721.

Founding and early growth

First settled by Anglo-Americans in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch. When about 17 years old, he started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London, where his parents had settled. The "City of Seven Hills" quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch's Ferry.

In 1786, Virginia's General Assembly recognized Lynchburg, the settlement by Lynch's Ferry on the James River. The James River Company had been incorporated the previous year (and President George Washington was given stock, which he donated to charity) in order to "improve" the river down to Richmond, which was growing and was named as the new Commonwealth's capital. Shallow-draft James River bateau provided a relatively easy means of transportation through Lynchburg down to Richmond and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. Rocks, downed trees, and flood debris were constant hazards, so their removal became expensive ongoing maintenance. Lynchburg became a tobacco trading, then commercial, and much later an industrial center.

Eventually the state built a canal and towpath along the river to make transportation by the waterway easier, and especially to provide a water route around the falls at Richmond, which prevented through navigation by boat. By 1812, U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, who lived in Richmond, reported on the navigation difficulties and construction problems on the canal and towpath.

The General Assembly recognized the settlement's growth by incorporating Lynchburg as a town in 1805; it was not incorporated as a city until 1852. In between, Lynch built Lynchburg's first bridge across the James River, a toll structure that replaced his ferry in 1812. A toll turnpike to Salem, Virginia was begun in 1817. Lynch died in 1820 and was buried beside his mother in the graveyard of the South River Friends Meetinghouse. Quakers later abandoned the town because of their opposition to slaveholding. Presbyterians took over the meetinghouse and adapted it as a church. It is now preserved as a historic site.

To avoid the many visitors at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson in 1806 developed a plantation and house near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. He often visited the town, noting, "Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state." In 1810, Jefferson wrote, "Lynchburg is perhaps the most rising place in the U.S.... It ranks now next to Richmond in importance...."[]

Early Lynchburg residents were not known for their religious enthusiasm. The established Church of England supposedly built a log church in 1765. In 1804, evangelist Lorenzo Dow wrote: "...where I spoke in the open air in what I conceived to be the seat of Satan's Kingdom. Lynchburg was a deadly place for the worship of God'." That referred to the lack of churches, which was corrected the following year. Itinerant Methodist Francis Asbury visited the town; Methodists built its first church in 1805. Lynchburg hosted the last Virginia Methodist Conference that bishop Asbury attended (February 20, 1815).[10] As Lynchburg grew, prostitution and other "rowdy" activities became part of the urban mix of the river town. They were often ignored, if not accepted, particularly in a downtown area referred to as the "Buzzard's Roost."[] Methodist preacher and later bishop John Early became one of Lynchburg's civic leaders; unlike early Methodist preachers who had urged abolition of slavery during the Great Awakening; Early was of a later generation that had accommodated to this institution in the slave societies of the South.

On December 3, 1840, the James River and Kanawha Canal from Richmond reached Lynchburg. It was extended as far as Buchanan, Virginia in 1851, but never reached a tributary of the Ohio River as originally planned.[11] Lynchburg's population exceeded 6,000 by 1840, and a water works system was built. Floods in 1842 and 1847 wreaked havoc with the canal and towpath. Both were repaired. Town businessmen began to lobby for a railroad, but Virginia's General Assembly refused to fund such construction. In 1848 civic boosters began selling subscriptions for the Lynchburg and Tennessee Railroad.

By the 1850s, Lynchburg (along with New Bedford, Massachusetts) was among the richest towns per capita in the US.[12] Tobacco (including the manufacture of plug tobacco in factories using rented slave labor), slave-trading, general commerce, and iron and steel manufacturing powered the economy.[13][14]

Railroads had become the wave of the future. Construction on the new Lynchburg and Tennessee railroad had begun in 1850 and a locomotive tested the track in 1852. A locomotive called the "Lynchburg" blew up in Forest, Virginia (near Poplar Forest) later that year, showing the new technology's dangers. By the Civil War, two more railroads had been built, including the South Side Railroad from Petersburg. It became known as the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad in 1870, then a line in the Norfolk and Western Railway, and last as part of the Norfolk Southern Railway.[15] The Orange and Alexandria Railroad stopped in Lynchburg.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, Lynchburg served as a Confederate transportation hub and supply depot. It had 30 hospitals, often placed in churches, hotels, and private homes.

In June 1864, Union forces of General David Hunter approached within 1-mile (1.6 km) as they drove south from the Shenandoah Valley. Confederate troops under General John McCausland harassed them. Meanwhile, the city's defenders hastily erected breastworks on Amherst Heights. Defenders were led by General John C. Breckinridge, who was an invalid from wounds received at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Union General Philip Sheridan appeared headed for Lynchburg on June 10, as he crossed the Chickahominy River and cut the Virginia Central Railroad. However, Confederate cavalry under General Wade Hampton, including the 2nd Virginia Cavalry from Lynchburg under General Thomas T. Munford, defeated his forces at the two-day Battle of Trevillian Station in Louisa County, and they withdrew. This permitted fast-marching troops under Confederate General Jubal Early to reach within four miles of Lynchburg on June 16 and tear up the tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to inhibit travel by Union reinforcements, while Confederate reinforcements straggled in from Charlottesville.

On June 18, 1864, in the Battle of Lynchburg, Early's combined forces, though outnumbered, repelled Union General Hunter's troops. Lynchburg's defenders had taken pains to create an impression that the Confederate forces within the city were much larger than they were in fact. For example, a train was continuously run up and down the tracks while drummers played and Lynchburg citizens cheered as if reinforcements were disembarking. Local prostitutes took part in the deception, misleading their Union clients about the large number of Confederate reinforcements. Narcissa Owen (Cherokee), wife of the President of the Lynchburg and Tennessee Railroad, later wrote about her similar deception of Union spies.[16]

From April 6 to 10, 1865, Lynchburg served as the capital of Virginia after the Confederate government fled from Richmond. Governor William Smith and the Commonwealth's executive and legislative branches escaped to Lynchburg as Richmond surrendered on April 3. Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, roughly 20-mile (32 km) east of Lynchburg, ending the Civil War. Lynchburg surrendered on April 12, to Union General Ranald S. Mackenzie.[17]

Ten days later, Confederate Brigadier General James Dearing died. He was a native of nearby Campbell County and descendant of John Lynch; he had been wounded on April 6 at High Bridge during that Appomattox campaign. Mackenzie had visited his wounded friend and former West Point classmate, easing the transition of power.[17]

Postwar recovery

The railroads that had driven Lynchburg's economy were destroyed by the war's end. The residents of the city deeply resented occupying forces under General J. L. Gregg, and worked more readily with his affable successor General N.M. Curtis.[]Thomas J. Kirkpatrick became superintendent for the public education established under Virginia's Reconstruction-era legislature and Constitution of 1869, and built four new public schools. Previously, the only education for students from poor families was provided through St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Floods in 1870 and 1877 destroyed the city's bridges (which were rebuilt) and the James River and Kanahwa Canal. That was not rebuilt. The towpath was used as the bed for laying the rails of the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad, a project conceived five decades earlier.

The city limits expanded in 1874. In 1881 that railroad was completed to Lynchburg, and another railroad reached it through the Shenandoah Valley. Lynchburg had a telegraph, about 15,000 residents, and the beginnings of a streetcar system. Many citizens, believing their city crowded enough, did not join the boosters who wanted Lynchburg to become the junction of that valley line and what became the Norfolk and Western Railroad, so the junction was moved to Big Lick. This later developed as the City of Roanoke.

Lynchburg, circa 1919

In the latter 19th century, Lynchburg embraced manufacturing (the city being sometimes referred to as the "Pittsburgh of the South").[] On a per capita basis, it became one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette-rolling machine. Shortly thereafter Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer, introduced the first micro-enema to be mass marketed over-the-counter. By the city's centennial in 1886, banking activity had increased sixfold over the 1860 level, which some attributed to slavery's demise. The Lynchburg Cotton Mill and Craddock-Terry Shoe Co. (which would become the largest shoe manufacturer in the South) were founded in 1888. The Reusens hydroelectric dam began operating in 1903 and soon delivered more power.[18]

In 1886, Virginia Baptists founded a training school, the Lynchburg Baptist Seminary. It began to offer a college-level program to African-American students in 1900. Now named the Virginia University of Lynchburg, it is the city's oldest institution of higher learning. Not far outside town, Randolph-Macon Woman's College and Sweet Briar College were founded as women's colleges in 1893 and 1901, respectively. In 1903, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) founded Lynchburg Christian College (later Lynchburg College) in what had been the Westover Hotel resort, which went bankrupt in the Panic of 1901. In the 2018/2019 year the college's name was changed to the University of Lynchburg, reflecting its expansion of graduate-level programs and research. Lynchburg's first public library, Jones Memorial Library, opened in 1907.[18]

World War I Memorial in downtown Lynchburg

During World War I, the city's factories supported the war effort, and the area also supplied troops. The city powered through the Roaring Twenties and survived the Great Depression. Its first radio station, WLVA, began in 1930, and its airport opened in 1931. In 1938 the former fairgrounds were redeveloped as side by side baseball and football stadiums. [18]

World War II and after

Lynchburg's factories again worked 24 hours daily during World War II. In 1955 both General Electric and Babcock & Wilcox built high technology factories in the area.[18]

Lynchburg lost its bid to gain access to an interstate highway. In the late 1950s, interested citizens, including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., asked the federal government to change its long-planned route for the interstate highway, now known as I-64, between Clifton Forge and Richmond.[19]

Since the 1940s, maps of the federal interstate highway system showed a proposed northern route, bypassing the manufacturing centers at Lynchburg and Roanoke. But federal officials assured Virginia that the state would decide the route.[20] Although initially favoring that northern route, Virginia's State Highway Commission eventually supported a southern route from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, which connected Lynchburg and Roanoke via US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then continued west following US-60 into West Virginia.[21] But in July 1961 Governor Lindsay Almond and US Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges announced that the route would not be changed.[22] Lynchburg was left as the only city with a population in excess of 50,000 (at the time) that was not served by an interstate.[23]

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (now known as the Central Virginia Training School), was established outside Lynchburg in Madison Heights. For several decades throughout the mid-20th century, the state of Virginia authorized compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics. The operations were carried out at the institution. An estimated 8,300 Virginians were relocated to Lynchburg and sterilized there, making the city a "dumping ground" of sorts for the feeble-minded, poor, blind, epileptic, and those otherwise seen as genetically "unfit".[24]Carrie Buck challenged the state sterilization, but it was finally upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell. She was classified as "feeble-minded" and sterilized while a patient at the Virginia State Colony.

Sterilizations were carried out for 35 years until 1972, when the operations were halted. Later in the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Virginia on behalf of the sterilization victims. In the settlement, victims received formal apologies from the state and counseling if they chose, but the judiciary denied requests for the state to pay for reverse sterilization operations. In 1994, Buck's sterilization and litigation were featured as a television drama, Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story. The Manic Street Preachers address the issue in their song "Virginia State Epileptic Colony" on their 2009 album Journal For Plague Lovers.

Modern revitalization

Liberty University, founded in 1971 as Lynchburg Baptist College and renamed in 1985, is one of the state's largest institutions of higher education and the largest employer in the Lynchburg region. The university states that it generates over $1 billion in economic impact to the Lynchburg area annually.[25][26][27]

Lynchburg has ten recognized historic districts, four of them in the downtown residential area.[28][29] Since 1971, 40 buildings have been individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[30]

Especially since 2002, downtown Lynchburg has undergone significant revitalization, with hundreds of new loft apartments created through adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills. Since 2000, downtown has attracted private investments of more than $110 million, and business activity increased by 205% from 2004 to 2014.[31] In 2014, 75 new apartment units were added to downtown, with 155 further units under construction, increasing the number of housing units downtown by 48% from 2010 to 2014.[31]

In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian street zone opened.[32] Notable projects underway in downtown by the end of 2015 include the $25 million Virginian Hotel restoration project, a $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Center of the Arts, and $4.6 million expansion of Amazement Square Children's Museum.[33][34][35][36]


Timeline of Lynchburg, Virginia


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5 km2), of which 49.2 square miles (127.4 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (1.0%) is water.[52]


Lynchburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 35.1 °F (1.7 °C) in January to 75.3 °F (24.1 °C) in July. Nights tend to be significantly cooler than days throughout much of the year due in part to the moderate elevation. In a typical year, there are 26 days with a high temperature 90 °F (32 °C) or above, and 7.5 days with a high of 32 °F (0 °C) or below.[53] Snowfall averages 12.9 inches (33 cm) per season but this amount varies highly with each winter; the snowiest winter is 1995-96 with 56.8 in (144 cm) of snow, but the following winter recorded only trace amounts, the least on record.[54]

Temperature extremes range from 106 °F (41 °C), recorded on July 10, 1936, down to -10 °F (-23 °C), recorded on January 21, 1985 and February 5, 1996.[53] However, several decades may pass between 100 °F (38 °C) and 0 °F (-18 °C) readings, with the last such occurrences being July 8, 2012 and February 20, 2015, respectively.[53]

Seven Hills

One of the most prominent nicknames of Lynchburg is the "City of Seven Hills." This is due to one prominent feature of its geography- the seven hills that are spread throughout the region. They are as follows: College Hill, Garland Hill, Daniel's Hill, Federal Hill, Diamond Hill, White Rock Hill, and Franklin Hill.[57]

Adjacent counties


As of the 2010 census,[62] there were 75,568 people, 25,477 households, and 31,992 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,321.5 people per square mile (510.2/km2). There were 27,640 housing units at an average density of 559.6 per square mile (216.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.0% White, 29.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 25,477 households, out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.

The age distribution of the city had: 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,234, and the median income for a family was $40,844. Males had a median income of $31,390 versus $22,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,263. About 12.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Lynchburg ranks below the 2006 median annual household income for the U.S. as a whole, which was $48,200, according to the US Census Bureau.[63]

The city's population was stable for 25+ years: in 2006, it was 67,720; in 2000, it was 65,269; in 1990, it was 66,049; in 1980, it was 66,743.[64] The population has grown significantly in recent years from 65,269 in 2000 to 75,568 in 2010 (and an estimated 82,126 in 2018).

In 2009, almost 27% of Lynchburg children lived in poverty. The state average that year was 14 percent.[65]


Bank of the James in Lynchburg
Allied Arts Building in Downtown Lynchburg, completed in 1931

Lynchburg offers a skilled labor force, low unemployment rate,[66] and below average cost of living. Of Virginia's larger metro areas, Forbes Magazine ranked Lynchburg the 5th best place in Virginia for business in 2006, with Virginia being the best state in the country for business.[67] Only 6 places in Virginia were surveyed and most of Virginia's cities were grouped together by Forbes as "Northern Virginia". Lynchburg achieved the rank of 109th in the whole nation in the same survey.

Industries within the Lynchburg MSA include nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals and material handling. A diversity of small businesses with the region has helped maintain a stable economy and minimized the downturns of the national economy.[68][69] Reaching as high as 1st place (tied) in 2007, Lynchburg has been within the Top 10 Digital Cities survey for its population since the survey's inception in 2004.[70]

Top employers

According to Lynchburg's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[71] the top private employers in the city are:

DeMoss Learning Center at Liberty University
# Employer # of Employees
1 Liberty University 8,000+
2 Centra Health 7,000+
3 BWXT 2,500+
4 Lynchburg City Public Schools 1,500+
5 Framatome 1,000+
6 City of Lynchburg 1,000+
7 Genworth Financial 1,000+
8 Central Virginia Community College 500+
9 Horizon Behavioral Health 500+
10 J.Crew 500+


Lynchburg uses a council-manager system. The Lynchburg City Council is has of seven members that each serve a four-year term. There are four wards that elect a member; the remaining three are elected in at-large elections where the top three candidates obtain a seat. The City Council is also responsible for appointing a city manager, city attorney, and city clerk.

The current council members are:[72]

  • MaryJane Dolan (Mayor) (Ward I)
  • Beau Wright (Vice Mayor) (at-large)
  • Sterling Wilder (Ward II)
  • Jeff Helgeson (Ward III)
  • Chris Faraldi (Ward IV)
  • Randy Nelson (at-large)
  • Treney Tweedy (at-large)
List of mayors of Lynchburg, Virginia
  • John Wiatt, 1806[73]
  • Roderick Taliaferro, 1807
  • Samuel J. Harrison, 1808
  • John Lynch, Jr., 1809
  • M. Lambert, 1810
  • John Schoolfield, 1811
  • James Stewart, 1812
  • Robert Morris, 1813
  • Samuel J. Harrison, 1814
  • James Stewart, 1815
  • John M. Gordon, 1816
  • Samuel J. Harrison, 1817
  • William Morgan, 1818
  • James Stewart, 1819
  • John Thurman, 1820
  • Micajah Davis, 1821
  • John Hancock, 1822
  • Thomas A. Holcombe, 1823
  • Albon McDaniel, 1824
  • John Victor, 1825
  • Albon McDaniel, 1826
  • Christopher Winfree, 1827
  • Albon McDaniel, 1828
  • Ammon Hancock, 1829
  • Elijah Fletcher, 1830
  • John R. D. Payne, 1831
  • Elijah Fletcher, 1833
  • John M. Warwick, 1833
  • Henry M. Didlake, 1834
  • Samuel J. Wiatt, 1835
  • Pleasant Labby, 1836
  • Ammon Hancock, 1837
  • Martin W. Davenport, 1838
  • John R. D. Payne, 1839
  • Samuel Nowlin, 1840
  • Ammon Hancock, 1841
  • Henry M. Didlake, 1842
  • Edwin Mathews, 1843
  • David W. Burton, 1844
  • M. Hart, 1845
  • Henry M. Didlake, 1846
  • Daniel J. Warwick, 1847
  • Henry 0 Schoolfield, 1848
  • Edwin Mathews, 1849
  • Henry M. Didlake, 1850
  • William D. Branch, 1851
  • Albon McDaniel, 1869
  • James M. Cobbs, 1870
  • George H. Burch, 1872
  • Samuel A. Bailey, 1876
  • Samuel Griffin Wingfield, 1880[74]
  • A. H. Pettigrew, 1882
  • Nathaniel Clayton Manson, Jr., 1884-1891[75]
  • Robert D. Yancey, circa 1900[76]
  • Royston Jester, Jr., circa 1918[77]
  • ?
  • L. E. Litchford, circa 1937[78]
  • Clarence G. Burton, 1946-1948[79]
  • Jerome V. Morrison, circa 1952[78]
  • John L. Suttenfield, circa 1953-1956[78]
  • ?
  • Elliott Shearer, circa 1982[80]
  • Jimmie Bryan, circa 1986[77]
  • ?
  • M.W. "Teedy" Thornhill Jr., 1991-1992[81]
  • James S. Whitaker, 1994-1998[82]
  • Carl B. Hutcherson, Jr., circa 2002-2005[83]
  • Michael Gillette, circa 2015[84]
  • Joan Foster, 2016-2018[84]
  • Treney Tweedy, 2018-2020 [85]
  • MaryJane Dolan, 2020-present[2]


Colleges and universities

Public schools

Private schools

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Thomas C. Miller Elementary School for Innovation

The city is served by the Lynchburg City Public Schools. The school board is appointed by the Lynchburg City Council.

  • E C Glass High School - 2111 Memorial Ave
  • Heritage High School - 3020 Wards Ferry Rd
  • Linkhorne Middle School - 2525 Linkhorne Dr
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School - 1208 Polk St
  • Sandusky Middle School - 805 Chinook Place
  • William Marvin Bass Elementary School
  • Bedford Hills Elementary School
  • Dearington Elementary School for Innovation
  • Heritage Elementary School
  • Linkhorne Elementary School
  • Paul M. Munro Elementary School
  • Perrymont Elementary School
  • Robert S. Payne Elementary School
  • Sandusky Elementary School
  • Sheffield Elementary School
  • Thomas C. Miller Elementary School for Innovation[86]

Lynchburg is also home to the Central Virginia Governor's School for Science and Technology located in Heritage High School. This magnet school consists of juniors and seniors selected from each of the Lynchburg area high schools. As one of eighteen Governor's Schools in Virginia, the Central Virginia Governor's School focuses on infusing technology into both the math and science curriculum.

Private schools

The city is also home to a number of religious and non-religious private schools, including Appomattox Christian Academy, Desmond T Doss Christian Academy, Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, James River Day School, Liberty Christian Academy, New Covenant Classical Christian School, Temple Christian School, Virginia Episcopal School, and New Vistas School.

Health care

  • Centra Lynchburg General Hospital - Lynchburg, VA
  • Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital - Lynchburg, VA
  • Community Health Center - Lynchburg, VA[87]


Local transit

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) operates the local public transport bus service within the city. The GLTC additionally provides the shuttle bus service on the Liberty University campus.

The GLTC selected a property directly across from Lynchburg-Kemper Street Station as its top choice of sites upon which to build the new transfer center for their network of public buses. They were interested in facilitating intermodal connections between GLTC buses and the intercity bus and rail services which operate from that location. The project was completed and opened to the public on June 16, 2014.[88][89]

On August 23, 2017, the GLTC launched The Hopper, a free downtown circulator bus.[90] It was funded with a $479,348 grant from the Virginia Smart Scale program.[91]

Intercity transit

Intercity passenger rail and bus services are based out of Kemper Street Station, a historic, three-story train station recently restored and converted by the city of Lynchburg to serve as an intermodal hub for the community. The station is located at 825 Kemper Street.[92]


Greyhound Lines located their bus terminal in the main floor of Kemper Street Station following its 2002 restoration.[92] Greyhound offers transport to other cities throughout Virginia, the US, Canada, and Mexico.


Amtrak's long distance Crescent and a Northeast Regional connect Lynchburg with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and intermediate points.

In October 2009, Lynchburg became the southern terminus for a Northeast Regional that previously had overnighted in Washington. The forecast ridership was 51,000 for the 180-mile extension's first year, but the actual count was triple that estimate, and the train paid for itself without any subsidy.[93] By FY 2015, the Regional had 190,000 riders. The Lynchburg station alone served a total of 85,000 riders in 2015. It is located in the track level ground floor of Kemper Street Station.[94]

Lynchburg has two major freight railroads. It is the crossroads of two Norfolk Southern lines. One is the former mainline of the Southern Railway, upon which Kemper Street Station is situated. NS has a classification yard located next to the shopping mall. Various yard jobs can be seen. Railfans who wish to visit the NS Lynchburg yard are advised to inquire with an NS official. CSX Transportation also has a line through the city and a small yard.


Lynchburg Regional Airport is solely served by American Eagle to Charlotte. American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is the only current scheduled airline service provider, with seven daily arrivals and departures. In recent years air travel has increased with 157,517 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2012, representing 78% of the total aircraft load factor for that time period.


Primary roadways include U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 501, U.S. Route 221, running north-south, and U.S. Highway 460 (Richmond Highway), running east-west. While Lynchburg is the largest city in Virginia not served by an interstate, parts of Route 29 have been upgraded to interstate standards and significant improvements have been made to Highway 460 in the immediate vicinity to Lynchburg and suburban areas.

Arts and culture

In a Forbes magazine survey, Lynchburg ranked 189 for cultural and leisure out of 200 cities surveyed.[95]

  • Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra: Created in 1983, throughout the years a variety of music has been presented, from the classical to the patriotic to the popular.
  • Academy of Fine Arts.
  • Renaissance Theatre: The longest-running community theater in the area, open for over 25 years.
  • Lynchburg Art Club. Formed in March 1895.
  • Opera on the James: opera performed by national and regional artists in a wide variety of venues since 2005 including classic grand operas, small scale lesser-known operas, contemporary works, family operas, concerts of diverse repertoire, lectures, school tours and free community outreach.
  • The Maier Museum of Art. The museum is located on the campus of Randolph College and features works by American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Attractions and entertainment

The following attractions are located within the Lynchburg MSA:

  • Amazement Square: Central Virginia's first multidisciplinary, hands-on children's museum.
  • Appomattox Courthouse: The site of the Battle of Appomattox Court House, where the surrender of the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee to Union commander Ulysses S. Grant took place on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the American Civil War.
  • Crabtree Falls: The longest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is located in Nelson County, Virginia. The trail leads hikers along a 1.7-mile hike with views of five cascades of Crabtree Falls. The land formerly in private ownership prior to the late 1970s is in the George Washington National Forest. Crabtree Falls sits near two undeveloped mountainous areas designated as Wilderness areas: The Priest & Three Ridges respectfully. Since 1982, thirty (30) people have fallen to their deaths due to navigating too far away from the trail. There are warning signs at the public trailhead because of this.
  • James River Heritage Trail: Composed of two smaller trails, the Blackwater Creek Bikeway and RiverWalk.[96]
  • Trails of Blackwater Creek: a network of paved and unpaved trails weaving through the Blackwater Creek natural area.[97][98]
  • Miller-Claytor House: Pre-19th century townhouse where Thomas Jefferson allegedly proved to the owner of the house's garden that tomatoes were not poisonous by eating one of the fruit.[99] Home was dismantled in 1936 and rebuilt at its Riverside Park location, where the garden was also restored.
  • National D-Day Memorial: Located in Bedford, Virginia, it commemorates all those who served the United States during the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 during World War II.
  • Nature Zone: A division of Lynchburg Parks and Recreation.
  • Old City Cemetery Museums & Arboretum: The most visited historic site in the City of Lynchburg. Established in 1806, the Old City Cemetery is Lynchburg's only publicly owned burial ground and one of its oldest cemeteries.[100] It is also home to the largest public collection of heirloom or "antique" roses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[101]
  • The Old Court House: This Hill City landmark was built in 1855. Fashioned as a Greek temple high above the James River, it is now the home of Central Virginia's best collection of memorabilia, furnishings, costumes and industrial history.[]
  • Peaks of Otter: Three mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the town of Bedford, Virginia and in prominent view throughout most of Lynchburg.
  • Point of Honor: The Federal-era mansion of Dr. George Cabell, Sr., friend and physician of the patriot Patrick Henry, and John S. Langhorne whose daughter Elizabeth Langhorne Lewis led the fight for women's suffrage.[102] His granddaughters include Mrs. Charles Dana Gibson, the original "Gibson Girl" and Nancy Langhorne, Lady Astor, the first woman elected to the British Parliament.[103]
  • Poplar Forest: Thomas Jefferson's retreat home. Jefferson designed the octagonal house during his second term as president and sojourned here in his retirement to find rest and leisure and escape public life. Ongoing restoration and archaeology is taking place at the site.[needs update] A future access road/parkway is planned between the property and the Wyndhurst community with an existing signalized intersection on Enterprise Drive.[needs update]
  • Smith Mountain Lake: The largest lake entirely within Virginia, located in Bedford County, Virginia and Franklin County, Virginia (part of the Lynchburg MSA), the man-made lake features about 20,000 surface acres and 500 miles of shoreline.

Sports and recreation

Percival's Island section of James River Heritage Trail in Downtown Lynchburg
Hollins Mill Waterfall on the Blackwater Creek Greenway, James River Heritage Trail
Lynchburg City Stadium - Calvin Falwell Field Lynchburg Hillcats

Lynchburg is home to sporting events and organizations including:


The first neighborhoods of Lynchburg developed upon seven hills adjacent to the original ferry landing.[104] These neighborhoods include:

  • Court House Hill (original hill)
  • College Hill
  • Daniel's Hill
  • Diamond Hill (Grace Street, Washington Street)
  • Federal Hill
  • Franklin Hill
  • Garland Hill
  • White Rock Hill (Florida Avenue)

Other major neighborhoods include Tinbridge Hill, Boonsboro, Trents Ferry, Rivermont, Fairview Heights (Campbell Ave corridor), Jackson Heights, Federal Hill (Federal Street, Jackson Street, Harrison Street) Fort Hill, Forest Hill (Old Forest Rd. Area), Timberlake, Windsor Hills, Sandusky, Sheffield, Linkhorne, Cornerstone and Wyndhurst.

Notable people

Astronaut Leland Melvin, veteran of two space shuttle missions to the International Space Station



  • The News & Advance, Lynchburg's daily newspaper that serves the Central Virginia region and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
  • Lynchburg Living, bi-monthly periodical
  • The Lynchburg Guide, quarterly resource directory
  • The Burg, weekly entertainment newspaper published by The News & Advance
  • Lynch's Ferry, a biannual journal of local history
  • Liberty Champion, Liberty University student newspaper
  • "The Bulletin", Small monthly newspaper



  • WJJX 102.7, Urban Contemporary based in Lynchburg
  • WLNI 105.9, Talk Radio based in Lynchburg
  • WIQO-FM 100.9, Part of the Virginia Talk Radio Network based in Forest
  • WLEQ 106.9, BOB-FM, Good Times, Great Oldies, Home of Rock'n'Roll's Great Hits, Lynchburg
  • WNRN (WNRS 89.9), Modern Rock based in Charlottesville
  • WROV 96.3, Classic Rock based in Roanoke
  • WKHF 93.7, Hot AC based in Lynchburg
  • WRMV 94.5, Southern Gospel based in Madison Heights
  • WRVL 88.3, The Journey, Top 40 CCM Christian Radio based in Lynchburg
  • WRXT 90.3, Contemporary Christian Radio based in Lynchburg, part of the "Spirit FM" (WPAR) network of Contemporary Christian stations
  • W227BG 93.3 ESPN Sports translator of 106.3 Gretna - Translator at Timberlake - Low power
  • WSLC 94.9, Country based in Roanoke
  • WSLQ 99.1, Adult Contemporary based in Roanoke
  • WSNZ 102.7, Adult Contemporary based in Roanoke
  • WHTU 103.9, Oldies based in Lynchburg
  • WVBE 100.1, Urban Contemporary based in Lynchburg
  • WVTF 89.1, Public Radio based in Blacksburg
  • W208AP 89.5 Radio IQ - BBC News/NPR talk translator of 89.9 WWVT-FM Ferrum - Translator at Candlers Mountain - Low power
  • WWEM 91.7, Classical Music simulcast of WWED-FM in Spotsylvania/Fredericksburg
  • WWMC 90.9, Christian CHR/Rock radio based at Liberty University
  • WWZW 96.7, Hot AC based in Buena Vista
  • WXLK 92.3, Top-40 Radio based in Roanoke
  • WYYD 107.9, Country based in Lynchburg
  • WZZI/WZZU 101.5, Roanoke/ 97.9, Lynchburg, Classic/Modern Rock based in Lynchburg
  • WAMV 1420, Southern Gospel based in Madison Heights
  • WBRG 1050, Talk/ Sports based in Lynchburg also simulcast on 104.5
  • WKPA 1390, Religious based in Lynchburg
  • WLLL 930, Gospel Music based in Lynchburg
  • WLVA 580, (silent), based in Lynchburg
  • WVGM 1320, ESPN Sports based in Lynchburg
  • WKDE-FM 105.5, Classic & Modern Country based in Altavista
  • WGVY 1000 AM, Talk Radio based in Altavista

Sister cities


Presidential Elections Results[109]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 50.4% 17,982 41.5% 14,792 8.1% 2,883
2012 54.3% 19,806 43.8% 15,948 1.9% 694
2008 51.4% 17,638 47.4% 16,269 1.3% 434
2004 54.7% 14,400 44.5% 11,727 0.8% 213
2000 53.3% 12,518 44.1% 10,374 2.6% 614
1996 49.7% 11,441 44.7% 10,281 5.6% 1,290
1992 50.1% 12,518 38.4% 9,587 11.5% 2,864
1988 64.0% 15,323 34.6% 8,279 1.4% 324
1984 67.4% 18,047 31.9% 8,542 0.7% 183
1980 62.4% 15,245 31.9% 7,783 5.7% 1,389
1976 61.2% 14,564 34.6% 8,227 4.3% 1,013
1972 74.1% 13,259 23.5% 4,208 2.4% 423
1968 54.3% 9,943 23.5% 4,305 22.1% 4,051
1964 59.7% 10,044 40.1% 6,758 0.2% 32
1960 59.3% 7,271 40.5% 4,961 0.2% 24
1956 64.8% 6,806 32.0% 3,362 3.2% 334
1952 64.8% 7,090 35.1% 3,848 0.1% 11
1948 35.2% 2,373 36.8% 2,480 28.1% 1,894
1944 35.7% 2,396 64.1% 4,302 0.2% 15
1940 29.7% 1,966 70.2% 4,656 0.1% 9
1936 27.0% 1,373 72.6% 3,697 0.4% 22
1932 24.3% 1,200 74.1% 3,656 1.6% 80
1928 57.9% 2,730 42.1% 1,987
1924 21.5% 606 74.0% 2,086 4.5% 128
1920 22.3% 609 76.8% 2,096 1.0% 26
1916 19.2% 353 79.5% 1,465 1.3% 24
1912 6.0% 111 80.8% 1,487 13.2% 242

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External links


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