“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lynchburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Lynchburg History

Main and Seventh Streets

Lynchburg History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 26, 2014
1. Lynchburg History Marker
Inscription. As Lynchburg grew, Main Street became the commercial center, with bookstores, dry goods stores, furniture shops, clothing stores, cigar stores, barbershops, banks, and hotels. During the Civil War, Lucy Otey founded the Ladies Relief Hospital, which stood just to your left. It was a Confederate facility that the women of Lynchburg operated completely by themselves. Otey’s daughter-in-law, Mary Otey, who lost her first husband to the war in 1862, said that the worst-wounded men were always sent to this hospital. While volunteering here, Mary Otey nursed patient Col. Augustus Forsberg back to health. They married in 1865.

The Academy of Music Theatre was built in 1905. Performers included Will Rogers, George M. Cohan, and Mary Pickford. By the 1920s, the Academy hosted a mixture of live performances and movies. The Paramount Theater was built in the 1930s across Main Street where the hotel is now. In 1942, a movie about Lynchburg’s Yancey family, The Vanishing Virginian, premiered there.

By the 1950s, Main Street was a thriving commercial district with five hotels, restaurants, and stores, such as Guggenheimer’s, Millner’s, Leggett’s, Baldwin’s, and Sears. Movie theaters included the Paramount, Academy, Warner, and Isis. Shopping centers and malls drew customers to other parts of the city beginning late in the
Lynchburg History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 26, 2014
2. Lynchburg History Marker
1980s, and downtown declined.

During the Civil Rights era, students from Randolph-Macon Woman‘s College, Lynchburg College, and Virginia Theological Seminary staged sit-ins at lunch counters along Main Street, demanding the right to equal service for all races. By the early 1970s, Lynchburg’s businesses and public schools were fully integrated.

(lower left) Academy of Music Theatre Courtesy
(upper center) Lucey Otey Courtesy
(upper right) Main Street, looking west from Seventh Street Courtesy
(lower right) Civil Rights picketers, downtown Lynchburg, 1960 Courtesy

Lynchburg is a city rich in the history of Virginia and the nation. As with any city, some of our sites and buildings that reflect that history have changed over the centuries since Lynchburg’s origins in the 1750s. You can see for yourself the city’s historic places and how they have changed or remained intact. Just let the map guide you to the many historical markers that are located downtown. Enjoy learning about Lynchburg!
The Lynchburg History marker program is a partnership of the City of Lynchburg Museum System, Dept. of Communication & Marketing and Dept. of Parks & Recreation, discoverlynchburg, Lynchburg Historical Foundation, and Lynch’s Landing

Erected 2011 by The Lynchburg History Marker Program.
Location. 37° 25.022′ N, 79° 8.647′ W. Marker is in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marker is on Main Street north of 7th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 600 Main Street, Lynchburg VA 24504, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Lynchburg History (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Allen Weir Freeman, M.D. (about 700 feet away); Douglas Southall Freeman (about 700 feet away); Court Street Baptist Church (about 800 feet away); John Daniel’s Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Carter Glass (approx. 0.2 miles away); Point of Beginning (approx. 0.2 miles away); Samuel D. Rockenbach (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
Also see . . .
1. Lynchburg Museum System. (Submitted on May 27, 2014.)
2. Lynchburg History. (Submitted on May 27, 2014.)
Categories. Civil RightsEntertainmentIndustry & CommerceWar, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 27, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 541 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 27, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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