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Downtown Lynchburg

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

If I were to compare Lynchburg, Virginia to the cities I photographed in the 2003 Photography set An Urban Comparison, I believe it would most closely resemble Roanoke.  Like Roanoke, it blends elements of a larger city with elements of smaller cities, and contains a mix of vintage structures with more modern architecture.

Lynchburg is also known as the “Hill City” and “The City of the Seven Hills”.  Downtown Lynchburg is built on the face of one of the city’s many hills.  Here, I start at the bottom of the hill at the river, and work my way to the top, and then descend a long stair to the bottom again.


At the very bottom of downtown, one will find the James River, which also forms the border between the city of Lynchburg and Amherst County.  In the James River is a fountain sending water straight up into the air.  The direction that the water takes once it's in the air is determined by how the wind is blowing at the time, sending it left, right, forward, or back.  At the very bottom of downtown, one will find the James River, which also forms the border between the city of Lynchburg and Amherst County.  In the James River is a fountain sending water straight up into the air.  The direction that the water takes once it's in the air is determined by how the wind is blowing at the time, sending it left, right, forward, or back.

At the very bottom of downtown, one will find the James River, which also forms the border between the city of Lynchburg and Amherst County.  In the James River is a fountain sending water straight up into the air.  The direction that the water takes once it’s in the air is determined by how the wind is blowing at the time, sending it left, right, forward, or back.

At the very bottom of downtown, one will find the James River, which also forms the border between the city of Lynchburg and Amherst County.  In the James River is a fountain sending water straight up into the air.  The direction that the water takes once it's in the air is determined by how the wind is blowing at the time, sending it left, right, forward, or back.


To access the James River, however, one must first cross a set of railroad tracks.

To access the James River, however, one must first cross a set of railroad tracks.


As this is a rail line that is very much still in use, a sign reminds people not to obstruct the tracks.  However, since there is no high-voltage "third rail", it's perfectly safe to walk across the tracks - just as long as no train is coming.

As this is a rail line that is very much still in use, a sign reminds people not to obstruct the tracks.  However, since there is no high-voltage third rail, it’s perfectly safe to walk across the tracks – just as long as there is no train approaching.


Looking up Ninth Street, one finds that the street slopes upward, and then quickly becomes steeper as the street ends, being replaced by Monument Terrace.  The Lynchburg Courthouse is at the top of the hill.

Looking up Ninth Street, one finds that the street slopes upward, and then quickly becomes steeper as the street ends, being replaced by Monument Terrace.  The Lynchburg Courthouse is at the top of the hill.


A mural is painted onto the bricks as a tribute to the Rev. Bev Cosby, a local minister, showing a laying of hands of people associated with Cosby.  This mural, according to information I've found, is the first of a series that Lynchburg has planned for downtown.

A mural is painted onto the bricks as a tribute to the Rev. Bev Cosby, a local minister, showing a laying of hands of people associated with Cosby.  This mural, according to information I’ve found, is the first of a series that Lynchburg has planned for downtown.


As this is a city, billboards are inescapable, with a smaller one shown here presiding over a parking lot a few blocks from the river.

As this is a city, billboards are inescapable, with a smaller one shown here presiding over a parking lot a few blocks from the river.


One of the more interesting buildings near the river in Lynchburg is the J.W. Wood Building, home of the children's museum Amazement Square.  The building has a cast-iron façade (painted green), and also historic painted signage reflecting the building's former use as a wholesale grocery firm and warehouse.  One side of the building even shows the phrase "Death to all insects", from the same era, referring to the insecticides once sold in the facility.

One of the more interesting buildings near the river in Lynchburg is the J.W. Wood Building, home of the children’s museum Amazement Square.  The building has a cast-iron façade (painted green), and also historic painted signage reflecting the building’s former use as a wholesale grocery firm and warehouse.  One side of the building even shows the phrase “Death to all insects”, from the same era, referring to the insecticides once sold in the facility.


On the sidewalk outside Amazement Square are metal sculptures of various bugs.  The worm sculpture above also doubles as a bicycle rack, though it is unknown whether this was deliberate or not.

On the sidewalk outside Amazement Square are metal sculptures of various bugs.  The worm sculpture above also doubles as a bicycle rack, though it is unknown whether this was deliberate or not.

On the sidewalk outside Amazement Square are metal sculptures of various bugs.  The worm sculpture above also doubles as a bicycle rack, though it is unknown whether this was deliberate or not.


A spider made its home in the sculpture of the fly seen above, spinning an orb web.

A spider made its home in the sculpture of the fly seen above, spinning an orb web.


The J.W. Wood Building is not the only one to showcase historic signage.  Across the street, another building also has advertising painted on it.  In this case, the advertisements are for Craddock Terry & Co. boots and shoes.

The J.W. Wood Building is not the only one to showcase historic signage.  Across the street, another building also has advertising painted on it.  In this case, the advertisements are for Craddock Terry & Co. boots and shoes.


Main Street in Lynchburg contains a number of vintage buildings, reminiscent of the downtowns of smaller cities.  Main Street in Lynchburg contains a number of vintage buildings, reminiscent of the downtowns of smaller cities.

Main Street in Lynchburg contains a number of vintage buildings, reminiscent of the downtowns of smaller cities.


More modern buildings also stand nearby.

More modern buildings also stand nearby.

More modern buildings also stand nearby.


The streets in downtown Lynchburg, particularly Main Street, shown here, are mostly one-way, and feature brick crosswalks and intersections.  Additionally, the streets are lined with trees, providing shade for the sidewalks.

The streets in downtown Lynchburg, particularly Main Street, shown here, are mostly one-way, and feature brick crosswalks and intersections.  Additionally, the streets are lined with trees, providing shade for the sidewalks.

The streets in downtown Lynchburg, particularly Main Street, shown here, are mostly one-way, and feature brick crosswalks and intersections.  Additionally, the streets are lined with trees, providing shade for the sidewalks.


The Krise Building is one of downtown Lynchburg's taller buildings, constructed in 1904.  At the time that this photo set was taken, the building was undergoing renovation, as the building was being fitted out to house office space and loft apartments.  The Krise Building is one of downtown Lynchburg's taller buildings, constructed in 1904.  At the time that this photo set was taken, the building was undergoing renovation, as the building was being fitted out to house office space and loft apartments.

The Krise Building is one of downtown Lynchburg’s taller buildings, constructed in 1904.  At the time that this photo set was taken, the building was undergoing renovation, as the building was being fitted out to house office space and loft apartments.

The Krise Building is one of downtown Lynchburg's taller buildings, constructed in 1904.  At the time that this photo set was taken, the building was undergoing renovation, as the building was being fitted out to house office space and loft apartments.


Lynchburg's tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.  Lynchburg's tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.

Lynchburg’s tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.

Lynchburg's tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.  Lynchburg's tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.

Lynchburg's tallest building is the Bank of the James Building, completed in 1972, and built in the modern style.  Based on photos from Emporis, the building appears to have housed offices for Wachovia before being occupied by the Bank of the James.

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1