Downtown Walking Tours -- Coming Soon!


One of my projects this summer was to update the architectural walking tour for Lynch's Landing. This was my first experience with working on anytime of project that was architecturally related so naturally I was a bit hesitant to start. However, Anna suggested that I begin my project by drawing ideas from other cities walking tours. This was a great idea because once I began researching, I was able to see the structure and format of tours that were given in similar cities. The most helpful information came from pamphlets I received from Historic Columbia. These were relevant because like our walking tours, they are broken up into several different tours by districts. I continued looking at information sites online and picked up the idea for a tour focused on the oldest buildings Lynchburg. For the last two, Anna suggested the walking tour and collaborating with the Academy of Music and the Church tour seemed to be pretty plausible seeing all the church's that decorate Court Street.

First Baptist Church

The Church tour and Lynchburg Getting Started took me the least amount of time to research because of the information accessibility I had using the Al Chambers book, "Lynchburg, An Architectural History". The Churches I decided to use in the walking tour are the ones that I believe had the most historical significance in Lynchburg. I found all of the Churches listed on the tour very interesting in the fact that they all shared that similarity of starting at a different location before they ended up at their current location.

The Lynchburg Getting Started tour I found very interesting to research some of Downtown's oldest buildings that are still in use today. It really changes ones perspective of Lynchburg when you are able to recognize buildings that once stood as the first of their kind in Downtown and are still in use today.

The last tour I've worked on this summer was the Theater tour. This was my favorite to work on because I had no idea Lynchburg once had so many theaters right here in Downtown. When I began researching, I turned to the Chambers book for help. I found some information on theaters but nothing too substantial to aide in advancing the tour.

Paramount Theater 

My next step was to do some work in the Jones Memorial Library. I had never been to this library so I pleased when I told the librarian what I was looking for and ten minutes later I had a fully stocked cart with information on Lynchburg's theaters. I began shifting through scrapbooks full of frail newspaper clippings from the 1920's and up. Eventually, I was able to collect enough information and start to narrow down theaters that would go on the tour. The theaters I choose for this tour were the ones that played a prominent role in the social and cultural history of Downtown Lynchburg. It is unfortunate that so many of these theaters disappeared around the 60's and 70's and have been replaced by parking garages and other commercial buildings. However, I close the tour with Lynchburg's most influential theater, the Academy of Fine Arts. The history behind this theater is a bit overwhelming and the fact that it is still standing and still has such a large role in Downtown today. I was fortunate enough to tour the old theater in the Academy. It was incredible to stand on the stage and see what used to be, especially after researching everything that had taken place right there.

Creating the new walking tours was definitely my favorite task this summer. It was a great way to learn about Downtown in a creative and fun manner. As aforementioned, I have never been presented this type of task, but I am happy that I had the opportunity to learn something new and utilize my major at the same time. I look forward to coming back and the Fall and giving some of the tours I helped put together for Lynch's Landing.

-- Sarah Woll, Sweet Briar College Intern