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Historic Lynchburg

Confederate Hospitals in Lynchburg, Virginia

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Confederate Hospitals

A Lynchburg Confederate Hospital (has since been torn down)

Lynchburg unexpectedly became a major “hospital city” during the Civil War due to it’s railroads, availability of “rooms” and it’s remoteness.  In fact, in terms of numbers of Confederate Hospitals no other city had more hospitals except for Richmond, Virginia.

Three rail lines terminated in Lynchburg, the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad (from the southwest), the Orange & Alexandria Railroad (from the north) and the Southside Railroad (from Richmond).

Before the war Lynchburg had 39 tobacco manufacturers and another 41 businesses that were manipulators and shippers of the plant.  These warehouses were converted to hospitals, along with hotels, a college (Lynchburg College), meeting halls, stables  and individual people’s homes.  College Hospital admitted more than 20,000 Confederate casualties during the four years of the Civil War.

Lynchburg was considered remote since it was far removed from the eastern part of the state where much of the fighting took place.  Warfare took place mostly on flat land, which Lynchburg is certainly not.  The James River borders the city on one side, much like a moat.

The five hotels in Lynchburg were all used as hospitals at some point during the war.  The Warwick House, located at 1003 Main Street, was the first permanent hospital.  The Union “City Hotel” became known as the Ladies’ Relief Hospital.  Five hundred women formed the Ladies’ Relief Society, similar to our American Red Cross today.  These untrained women were married to wealthy entrepreneurs but they willingly learned medical techniques of putting on tourniquets, cleaning lacerations and ministering to the terminally ill.  The Ladies’ relief Hospital death rate in the four years of the war dropped from 93 deaths during the first two years of the war to 36 deaths during the last two years of the war, with roughly the same number of admissions.

The “Tobacco” Hospitals served a great need  as the smaller hospitals were occupied to beyond capacity.  The hospital names reflected the names of the tobacconist owners who sacrificed their commercial buildings for the sake of the war effort.  These building were the antithesis of what we consider a modern day hospital-dingy, poorly lit, cramped and filled with strange odors.  Two permanent tobacco hospitals were located on Dunbar Street near Twelfth Street.  Both buildings were four to five story rectangular red brick structures, timber framed with stone underpinning, stepped parapet walls and gable roofs.

Prior to the Civil War the wounded in battle were treated on the battlefield or in tent hospitals.  The hospitals cared for thousands, but often the patients died not from their wounds but from the treatment or rampant epidemic diseases that spread throughout the close quarters of the hospital buildings.  Smallpox, measles, malaria, typhoid fever, dysentery and acute diarrhea killed many. Cleanliness and good hygiene would have prevented many of these diseases from spreading or spreading so rapidly.   It is estimated that over 245,513 soldiers, from both armies, died from infection.

The last remaining Confederate Hospital (background) with above pictured hospital in ruins.

Two confederate hospitals. The one pictured above is in ruins in the foreground and the last surviving on is in the background.

The City of Lynchburg in the four years of the Civil War became a living hospital laboratory, testing the efficiency of an overwhelmed, untrained medical system to see if the hospital concept could progress from its reputation as a place where people went to die to a place where people went to recover and return home.  Thankfully we have the hospital system today that works efficiently and to the patients benefit.

Interested in the Civil War?  When visiting our Lynchburg Bed and Breakfast, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we can point you to many Civil War sites.  For reservations call us at 434-846-1388 or book on-line.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

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Gravestones at Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

The graves found in the Old City Cemetery represent the diversity of the citizens of Lynchburg buried there.  This diversity also allows for a large variety of gravestones or monuments.  Due to lack of maintenance of the cemetery grounds for many years, the passing of time and hand-hewn gravestones, plus the lack of record keeping, many of the grave markers are missing.  Those surviving represent a variety of funeral art.  Some were handcrafted with primitive tools, others created in workshops by professional stone cutters.  All are a distinct form of American expression.

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones mark the grave.  They are often made up of a headstone (a memorial stone set at the head of the grave, often with a raised top) and sometimes with a footstone (marking the foot of the grave).  More wealthy citizens might have had table tombs, box tombs, obelisks, or pedestal tombs.  A mausoleum is a large, stately tomb, most often built entirely out of the ground.  During the last half of the 19th century all gravestones became thicker and more massive.  Victorian influences added symbols.  Symbols found in the Old City Cemetery include: angels-both flying and weeping, birds-symbolizing eternal life, candles and flames, crowns-representing glory after death, doves, wreaths, open Bibles, the hourglass-time’s inevitable passing, and sleeping lambs-symbolic of the many children taken too frequently by the epidemics or simple illnesses that plaqued children long ago.

Let’s take a quick “tour” through the cemetery and discuss some of the unique gravestones.

  1. Just inside the entry gate, at Fourth Street, you will find Terriza Wallace, Jan 10th 1807 April 29 1808.  This hand-chiseled round stone of local granite has been preserved.  Not the first burial in the cemetery, but the oldest, original marker remaining.
  2. Next to Terriza is Katie Vernon Metcalfe (1836-1858).  Her intricately carved marble headstone bears the classic Victorian motifs of willow, an urn, flowers and obelisk.
  3. Nearby is R.B. Gaines (died 1811).  He was buried in a barrel-vaulted tomb of handmade Virginia brick which is capped at head and foot with Lynchburg greenstone.
  4. The marble tombstone of Judge William Daniel, Jr. (1806-1873) is a well-preserved example of an epitaph with Biblical and biographical messages, as well as the symbolism of God’s hand descending from Heaven holding the scales of justice.  Judge Daniel was Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia from 1846 until 1865 and lived at Point of Honor.
  5. A wrought iron enclosure holds the graves of Maria Ball Carter Tucker (died 1823) and her young daughter Rosalie (died 1818).  Maria Tucker was the great niece of George Washington.  A marble false crypt rests over one grave.  An antique rose, referred to in the poetic inscription on the lid, has survived all this time within the enclosure.
  6. Further down the hill you will find the life-sized cut tree trunk monument to Sophia Rhodes (died 1889).  This carved limestone monument is typically Victorian and symbolic of her life cut short.
Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

Gravestones in Old City Cemetery

There are many other interesting gravestones and monuments found throughout the cemetery.  A walk through the cemetery is always pleasant and sometimes educational.  Each Saturday morning between now and the end of August tours of the cemetery are given at 10:00 am. They are conducted by various people who work at the cemetery, so attending more than one usually imparts different information and stories than another.  The tours typically last about one hour.  No reservations are required.  The is no admission fee.

If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and would like to take advantage of one of these tours let us know.  We will be sure that you are served your breakfast with plenty of time to allow you to get to the cemetery for the beginning of the tour.

Old City Cemetery Museum-Cemetery Center

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Old City Cemetery

Old City Cemetery’s Center and Museum

The Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, VA, is Lynchburg’s most visited tourist site.  During the past four months we have posted a blog describing the individual buildings/museums found on the cemetery grounds.  This month we are going to introduce you to the Cemetery Museum and it’s artifacts.

The main focus of the Cemetery Center is it’s collection of American mourning customs and artifacts, burial records of the Southern Memorial Association, the Lee Reading Room, Taylor Conservatory and the Christian Vault.

This month’s blog post is going to concentrate on the American mourning customs and artifacts.

The main room in the Cemetery Center is comprised of doors, floorboards, beams and a fireplace mantle, all dated 1845.  This room contains mourning artifacts and decor.  Some of the most interesting pieces found include:

  • mourning and funeral photographs (c. 1900).
  • beeswax flowers (c. 1870).  These would have surrounded the casket during the funeral, then have been placed on the grave and finally taken by the family where they were framed and hung in the parlor.
  • a mantle clock draped in black crepe to signify mourning.  The clock would have been stopped at the time of death.
  • mourning stationary that is bordered in black.  It would have been used to announce the death and to invite friends and family to the funeral..
  • a cast-iron “shoulder casket” (c. 1857, from Diuguid Funeral Service). Used by upper-class citizen of Lynchburg it is painted to resemble wood.
  • an embalming kit (c.1900).  Some of the instruments are still used today.

A few of the interesting facts about mourning and burial customs found in the Cemetery Center are as follows:

  • widows were in mourning for a total of 2 1/2 years.  They were in deep mourning for 1 year and 1 day, during which time they could only wear black.  After their deep mourning period they could add a touch of white, more ruffles or trim and wear hats instead of veils.  Near the end of the mourning period they could wear clothing in dark colors:gray, purple, slate or blue.
  • women did not attend the burial.
  • flower arrangements were seldom used before the Civil War.  Between the 1880’s-1890’s fresh, dried and artificial flower arrangements  were used in profusion.
  • mourning attire for men consisted of wearing a black armband or hatband for a period of 3 months.
  • men wore mourning attire as a mark of respect.  Women wore mourning attire out of fear that the omission to wear black would be interpreted as evidence of a lack of affection for the dead.
  • immediately following the funeral all traces f death were to be removed from the house. Shutters were opened, blinds raised, crepe and flowers removed and clocks restarted.

The Cemetery Center is open between 11 until 3 daily, or by appointment.  It contains detailed brochures and booklets relating to the history of the cemetery along with information about the various buildings and museums located on the cemetery grounds (most of which we have discussed earlier this year).  There is a small gift shop that sells “Died and Gone to Heaven” honey (that is produced by the cemeteries bees), books (including Once Upon a Time…a Cemetery Story) and cookbooks (such as the award winning Food to Die For a book of funeral food, tips and tales), along with gifts and items pertaining to the cemetery.

Antique Rose Festival

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Antique Rose

Mme Isaac Perriere Introduced: 1881 Class: Bourbon

Old City Cemetery, in Lynchburg, VA, is hosting the 21st Annual Antique Rose Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 7 & 8, 2016.

The Antique Rose collection was planted in 1986 on both sides of the 800 foot remains of the 1860’s old brick wall.  The 60 varieties planted here are representative of rose history from before 1581 thrrought the 19th century.  The roses chosen include the full range of classes and colors exhibited by these ancestors of modern day roses.  The original plants were gathered from across the United States and Canada, including local gardens.

Antique Rose

Jessica’s Rose early 20th century

The “mother roses” have been grown locally.  They are cut and rooted by local volunteers, who take care of them throughout the year.  These cuttings, showcasing about 120 varieties of roses this year, will be for sale on both May 7 & 8.  Prices will be dependent upon the size of the rose plant.  Old City Cemetery is also selling some perennial off-shoots this year.  Some of the perennials will be clematis, snowball, deutzia and rosemary plants.

The roses and perennials will be sold starting on Friday, May 6th at 5:00 pm.  The sales continue until Sunday, May 8th at 5:00 pm.

On Sunday, May 8th at 3:00 the Mother’s Day Rose Walk will take place.  This walking tour of the roses growing along the brick wall will describe and explain the history of these roses.  Some will be in bloom, while others will be in bud.  The walking tour should delight your senses!

For more information you can contact Old City Cemetery at 434.847.1465 or visit www.gravegarden.org.

The pictures of the roses, found in this blog post, were taken by Mike Bedsworth during last year’s rose festival.

Historic Garden Week 2016

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Garden Week

Flowers at The Carriage House Inn by Mike Bedsworth

The Garden Club of Virginia is proud to welcome you to Historic Garden Week, April 23-30, 2016. This year 30 tours have been organized and hosted by 47 Garden Club of Virginia member clubs.  Nearly 250 private homes, gardens and historic sites will be open throughout the state.  You might tour just the homes and gardens in your town, a nearby town or you might travel across the state touring various areas and locales to explore more of Virginia.

Garden Day

Flowers at The Carriage House Inn by Michael Bedsworth

Garden Day in Lynchburg, VA., hosted by the Lynchburg Garden Club and Hillside Garden Club, will be held on Tuesday, April 26 between 10 until 6.  This year’s tour, a walking tour, will highlight five private homes located on or just off of Peakland Place, in the Boonsboro section of Lynchburg. The houses, all built in the 1920’s and 1930’s and their gardens vary in size and formality.  Some of the homes have had extensive renovations or restoration work done.  Others are virtually unchanged from their original grandeur.  The gardens are also varied, some have had years of history while others are in their infancy.

Garden Week

Flowers at The Carriage House Inn by Michael Bedsworth

In addition to touring the homes and gardens five special activities, lectures and demonstrations will be taking place along Peakland Place.  Between 10 until 2 a lecture on the variety and care of hybrid boxwoods will take place at 3908 Peakland Place.  At 11 and again at noon a lecture on growing grapes will be held at 3890 Peakland Place.  Growing, harvesting and using lavender will be discussed at 3850 Peakland Place at 1 and again at 2.  3840 Peakland Place will host two lectures about raising bees, at 3 and at 4.  Between 11 until 4 Blenheim Vineyard will host a wine tasting at Oakwood Country Club.

Garden Day

Flowers at The Carriage House Inn by Michael Bedsworth

Local food trucks will be parked along Peakland Place to serve you sweets or savories throughout the day.

In addition to the homes and gardens along Peakland Place various historic sites will be open to those who have purchased a Garden Day tour ticket.  These include Anne Spencer House and Garden, Miller-Claytor House and Garden, Old City Cemetery, Point of Honor, Sweet Briar House and Garden and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

Tour tickets can be purchased at various locations throughout Lynchburg prior to the 26th or at Oakwood Country Club on the day of the tour.  Full tour tickets are $30, single site tickets are $10 and tickets purchased in advance are $25.

The photos were taken here, at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast over the past couple of years.  Enjoy!

Plein Air Painting (Paint Out)

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Old City Cemetery

Dayspring at Old City Cemetery by Annette Kinsey

The Lynchburg Art Club is hosting their first annual “Paint Out Lynchburg” starting on Friday, April 29 and ending Sunday, May 1, 2016.

What is a “Paint Out?”  This “open air” painting festival is reminiscent of late 19th century French Impressionist painters, such as Monet and Manet, combining their love of nature and creativity when painting out of doors.

Downtown Lynchburg and its historic districts are known for its architecture, gardens, the James River and more.  You set up your easel and paints and become inspired by our unique city.  Using acrylic, oil, pastels or watercolors you will be able to paint at Old City Cemetery, in downtown Lynchburg and at Point of Honor.

Paint Out

Lynchburg College Chapel by Ranny Aultice

Old City Cemetery has 27 acres in which you can set up on Friday, April 29th.  Ancient trees, antique roses (which should be blooming!), various gardens, a fish pond and five historic museums provide many painting options.

Downtown Lynchburg will host the painters on Saturday, April 30th.  Paint the Academy Theatre, The Allied Arts Building, The Krise Building, any of the tobacco warehouses that now are loft apartments or even the Texas Inn.

On Sunday, May 1st Point of Honor will offer the painters panoramic views of downtown and the James River or the historic mansion and cooking kitchen,

In addition to you painting there will be demonstrations, a quick paint competition and a juried art show that will showcase the paintings at the Academy of Fine Arts between May 6th and May 22, 2016,  More than $1500 in cash prizes will be awarded.

Registration is now open.  You may select a 3 day package or an individual day of painting.  A three day painting package is $40.  Day painting fees are as follows: Friday $15, Saturday $15 and Sunday $10.  Checks should be made out to the Lynchburg Art Club, 1011 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24504.  For more information contact the Lynchburg Art Club at 434.528.9434.

The above images in this blog are by members of the Lynchburg Art Club, but you don’t have to be a member to participate in the Paint Out.

Stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, 2-night minimum, and we will provide you with a boxed lunch on Saturday.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to select your room and make your reservation.  Or come stay with us during the gallery exhibit and enjoy all of the paintings completed during this three day event.