Peek Into the Past Through Historic Lynchburg's Museums, Homes
PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Young
Lynchburg is chock full of theaters, festivals and a flourishing arts scene. But the most enthralling part of its culture is the area’s commitment to the past. Museums, cemeteries and a thriving historic community show how Lynchburg is guiding its future by respecting its beginnings.
The best place to begin to learn about Lynchburg’s compelling past is to wander through historic districts, and luckily, there’s a variety of walking tours offered. The historic homes featured in Diamond Hill, Garland Hill, Daniels’ Hill and Rivermont Avenue – just to name a few – are amazing examples of architecture that is slowly disappearing from the national landscape.
Point of Honor, a Federal mansion built in 1815, shows how a prominent family of the time would have lived. Its owner, George Cabell, was Thomas Jefferson’s acquaintance and Patrick Henry’s doctor. Available for tours and host to children’s events, the historic home’s interiors have been carefully restored to preserve the classical designs.
For something a little on the morose side, tour the Old City Cemetery, the state’s oldest continuously open public graveyard. Five small museums are located on its grounds, including the Civil-War-era Pest House Medical Museum, which shows what it was like at Lynchburg’s “House of Pestilence,” and Station House Museum, depicting the region’s railroad history in a former depot.
And at the Lynchburg Museum at the Old Courthouse, you can really get under the skin of Lynchburg’s past. Relive the early years with tales from Quaker settlers, the reign of tobacco and the Civil War. The museum houses historic artifacts, rare photos and relics, as well as furniture and costumes.
Of course, taking a step into the present is just as easy as walking through downtown and seeing all the new arts and entertainment among the history. A great blend of old and new make Lynchburg a rich and varied place to visit.