LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg is a city that many people in our area know and love — it’s home to Liberty University, countless restaurants, breweries and more.
But the Hill City is also full of history that you may not be privy to.
So, what’s the story? Here are 7 things you probably didn’t know about Lynchburg:
1. What are the city’s “seven hills?”
Dubbed the “Hill City,” Lynchburg actually has seven original hills:
- College Hill
- Garland Hill
- Daniel’s Hill
- Federal Hill
- Diamond Hill
- White Rock Hill
- Franklin Hill
2. Who is Lynchburg named after?
The city was named after its founder, John Lynch, who started a ferry service across the James River in 1757 at the age of 17.
Lynch is also responsible for the city’s first bridge across the James River.
3. Lynchburg was the Capital of Virginia — for four days
From April 6 to 10 in 1865, Lynchburg served as the state’s capital.
The executive and legislative branches of Virginia were moved to the city for the several days between the fall of Richmond and the fall of the Confederacy.
If you’re a tomato lover, you can thank the city of Lynchburg.
At one point, it was widely believed that tomatoes were “poisonous love apples” until Thomas Jefferson took a bite, according to local legend. This was apparently the first time anyone in Virginia had eaten one.
5. First women’s college in the South
The Hill City was home to the South’s first women’s college.
Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, which is now called Randolph College, was the first college for women in the South to be accredited and received a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
The school was founded in 1893 by Dr. William Smith. It was one of 16 colleges for women in the U.S. classified as “Division A” in the early 1900s by the country’s Bureau of Education, and ranked with schools like Vassar and Smith.
6. Lynchburg has sister cities in Germany and France
Lynchburg has two sister cities — Rueil-Malmaison, which is in the western suburbs of Paris, and Glauchau, a town in the Saxony region of Germany.
7. To infinity (or Lynchburg), and beyond!
Retired astronaut Leland Devon Melvin is a Lynchburg native and Heritage High School grad who went on to play football at the University of Richmond before starting his career with NASA in 1989.
He was selected to be an astronaut in 1998, and flew two missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station.