The City of Lynchburg is located near the geographic center of the state, 50 square miles on the eastern border of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was named after John Lynch who established a ferry service on the Fluvanna River (now the James River watershed). The village at Lynch's Ferry became an important center of trade in the late 1700's. Lynch was also responsible for building the first bridge to traverse the river in 1812.
In 1806, Thomas Jefferson began construction of his home, Poplar Forest, just west of Lynchburg, as a retreat from visitors at Monticello. Local legend has it that Jefferson took a bite of the "poisonous love apple" on his way home from the area, the first time anyone had partaken of the fruit now known as the tomato.
In 1848, the Lynchburg & Tennessee Railroad was incorporated (soon named Virginia & Tennessee) eventually becoming a part of the Norfolk & Western RR system.
Randolph College, originally named Randolph Macon Women's College, was the first women's college in the South to be accredited and to receive a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, representing the South as one of 16 Division A colleges for women by the United States Bureau of Education in the early 1900s. Lynchburg College, formerly Virginia Christian College, was the first to offer coed opportunities in 1903.
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