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Monument Terrace

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Monument Terrace

Monument Terrace, Lynchburg, VA

One of Lynchburg, Virginia’s most impressive architectural landmarks is Monument Terrace.  It is the link between Courthouse Hill and the central business district of Lynchburg.

The business district was originally along the banks of the James River and later the Kanawha Canal, as it’s hills presented building challenges.  In 1813 the first courthouse was built on the hills above.  Originally dirt paths connected Courthouse Hill to Water Street (today’s 9th Street) and Church Street.  In 1882 plans were made by the city to improve the steep access.  City engineer, August Forsberg, designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at Church and 9th Streets.  This early monument was known as the Fireman’s Memorial Fountain dedicated to five firefighters who lost their lives nearby on May 30, 1883.  A statue of a fireman was placed on top of the fountain with water spouting from the nozzle of his hose.  The Fireman’s Fountain stood here until 1924.

Monument Terrace

World War I rally at Monument Terrace, courtesy Lynchburg Museum

Today’s Monument Terrace was designed by Aubrey Chesterman as a memorial to Lynchburg’s World War I dead.  It was completed in 1925.  The decorative Beaux Arts stairway is constructed of granite, with limestone balusters and steps, brick pavers are on the landings.  There are 132 steps, 10 landings, and 11 markers and monuments along the Terrace.  Eight of the markers are devoted to military service while three commemorate civic milestones.  Monument Terrace now honors all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the wars fought by the United States, beginning with the Civil War until the Vietnam War.

Monument Terrace

699th rally at Monument Terrace in support of the troops.

Every Friday, between 12:00-1:00 PM, since 2001 (the beginning of the first Gulf War), Monument Terrace has been the place for current and retired servicemen and women, plus the general public, to gather to demonstrate their support to the men and women who serve in the military services today.

At the top of the terrace is the old courthouse which is now the Lynchburg Museum and it has a great view of the City down to the river and Langley Fountain.