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Archives: November 2020

A City of Seven Hills-Franklin Hill

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Franklin Hill is located between Diamond Hill and White Rock Hill.  Bound by the Rt 29 Expressway, the James River, Florida Avenue and Fishing Creek this hill encompasses very rough terrain.  Lots on Franklin Hill were sold starting in 1820.  Lots weren’t developed until the early 1900’s due to the terrain and the difficulty building on such steep hillsides and ravines.  Many of the streets that run through this hill were named after trees, Pine, Walnut, Maple, Hazel, Poplar and Gum.  Few, if any, of the original houses built on Franklin Hill exist today.

The most well-known landmark of Franklin Hill is Presbyterian Cemetery, founded in 1824.  Filled with intricate and artistic tombstones and grave markers some of Lynchburg’s most famous residents are buried here.  See Blog Post dated April 17, 2018.

 

A City of Seven Hills-Chestnut Hill

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Chestnut Hill was the name of the first house built in Lynchburg, in 1752, by Charles Lynch.  The home was built on a bluff overlooking the James River near today’s Concord Turnpike.  It was probably named for the American chestnut trees that grew in abundance in Central Virginia until a blight killed them in the early 20th century.  Today the name Chestnut Hill is associated with the western end of Fort Avenue where churches, a city street and businesses share the same name.  The original Quaker Church, attended by Charles Lynch, is also located in this part of Lynchburg.

A City of Seven Hills-Garland Hill

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Today’s Garland Hill was originally from the farm of William Lynch, Sr., son of John Lynch who founded Lynchburg.  Blackwater Creek forms the boundary for much of the neighborhood, anlong with 5th Street and Old City Cemetery.  The oldest house, still in it’s original location in the city, is at 619 1st Street.  It was built by the Lynch family in 1787.

Lots were originally sold in 1845.  A number of substantial homes were built between 1845 and 1860.  By the mid-19th century so many members of the Garland family were living in the neighborhood that the hill became known as Garland Hill.

More elaborate homes were built along Madison and Harrison Streets after 1865.  At the corner of 5th and Madison Streets once stood the Beggers School.  It served as an elementary school starting in 1881 until 1966.

A City of Seven Hills-Diamond Hill

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Continuing our series on “the hills” of Lynchburg, VA this month we are discussing Diamond Hill.  Diamond Hill is known as Lynchburg’s third “hill.”

Lying south and west of downtown it’s boundaries are defined by steep terrain and ravines.  First appearing in city records in 1820 the name Diamond Hill is a mystery.  It has been suggested that the name came due to the wealthy residents who built homes here, the triangular shaped lots or perhaps the sparkly minerals found in the soil.

Diamond Hill has some of the most interesting homes in Lynchburg.  Unlike in other “hills,” the homes found in the core of the Diamond Hill are almost all where the wealthy lived.  There are few vernacular homes where the staff workers or everyday employees may have lived, as in other neighborhoods.  Home styles here include Gothic Revival, Queen Anne and Italianate.

Two historic buildings on Diamond Hill include the Grace Street Fire Station, ca. 1883 and the Diamond Hill Baptist Church, ca. 1888.  Two hospitals once stood along Grace Street.  The former Marshall Lodge Hospital opened in 1886.  It closed in 1976.  In 1931 the Guggenheimer family home became the Guggenheimer Memorial Hospital.  Today it is a rehab facility.