Orientation and brief history
Lynchburg has a long and interesting history, beginning even before its town charter, which was granted by the General Assembly of Virginia in October of 1786. Prior to that in 1757, Lynchburg's founder, John Lynch, established a ferry service that would connect the town (then known as New London) to northern towns, thus making trade a more viable option for its residents.
Tobacco became the city's major economy by the early 1800's, with numerous warehouses, and processing and shipping the product east to Richmond by river barges. In 1817 they began the construction of the Salem Turnpike as well as a toll bridge across the James River.
John Lynch (founder of the ferry, the town, and who also headed the toll bridge project) died on October 31, 1820, and was buried in the cemetery beside the Quaker Meeting House.
Many of Lynchburg's men fought in the military during World War 1, and the city's industries supplied the war effort. After the war, the city made it through the depression and continued to modernize. Radio came on the scene in 1930, and the city built its first airport in 1931. During World War II, Lynchburg's factories ran around the clock, and the airport was used to train pilots.
Ever since the 1950's, the city has evolved from a small manufacturing city to one with a diverse economy with. The change began in 1955 when Babcock & Wilcox (nuclear technology) and General Electric opened plants in the city, boosting the population. Another result was that housing developments began to appear throughout the city, and in 1960, the city got its first shopping center (Pittman Plaza). This kind of growth continues into the present with the building of multiple office and industrial parks, whose tenants are businesses involved in insurance, cellular communications, nuclear energy, castings, paper, machinery, to name a few.
Lynchburg is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, with a current population of close to 74,000.