Historic Lynchburg Tours

Reunion Tours: Revisiting Lynchburg

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Three prominent destinations in Lynchburg—none of which were familiar to us in 1970—will open their doors, garden, and stage to us on Saturday morning and afternoon. Each opportunity carries a modest group tour fee, and reservations must be made in advance to assure that we meet the minimum number of attendees. You are “on your own” for transportation to each site, so pay attention to start times and show up a few minutes early to guarantee you are admitted with the “BHS Reunion” group. You can choose to attend a single event, but it will be a richer experience of Lynchburg today if you sign up for them all! Check each website for details on parking and accessibility; each tour involves periods of walking and standing. Registration deadline for any/all tours is August 15, 2021.

Register online at the reunion ticket link https://buytickets.at/brookvillehighschoolclassof1970/333636. If you have already purchased tickets to the reunion, you can return to the link and add the tours as a new purchase. You can also fill out the form you should have received in the mail and return with a check made out to Brookville High School Class of 1970. Mail to: Nancy D Breeding, 307 Glen Valley Dr., Raleigh NC 27609

Many thanks to alumna Randee Perkey Humphrey for arranging the tours. If you have questions concerning the tours, contact her at randperk@gmail.com

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

1542 Bateman Bridge Road, Forest VA 24551-0419

In 1970, Thomas Jefferson’s summer retreat was a private residence, while the neighborhoods nearby were just beginning to be developed.Today, you’ll find award-winning, thought-provoking and meticulous historical restoration, both inside and outside the walls of Jefferson’s house, through archaeological discoveries and research that continues to uncover new knowledge about Thomas Jefferson and the free and enslaved people who formed the community at Poplar Forest.

Arrive at 10:00 a.m.; hour-long guided house tour begins at 10:15 a.m., followed by 45-minute long tour of the enslaved community. Allow two hours to enjoy all exhibits and the Museum Shop.

Minimum/maximum number of attendees to receive group rate: 20/45

Cost per person (senior rate, minimum 20 registrants): $14 each

Cost per person/general admission/seniors (if we fail to meet the 20 person minimum): $16

Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum

1313 Pierce Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501

Did our BHS English classes even mention the Harlem Renaissance?  And yet, just a few miles away from Brookville lived Anne Bethel Bannister Spencer, a poet, a civil rights activist, a teacher, librarian, wife and mother, and a gardener. More than thirty of her poems were published in her lifetime, and she was the first Virginian and the second African American poet to be included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1973). An important figure of the black literary and cultural movement of the 1920s—the Harlem Renaissance—Spencer shared intellectual respect and repartee with such notables as James Weldon Johnson (who first discovered her poetic talents in 1919), Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Countee Cullen, Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, Thurgood Marshall, Zora Neal Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Adam Clayton Powell, George Washington Carver, H.L. Mencken, Gwendolyn Brooks, and the Rev. Martin Luther King. Anne Spencer is one of four historic figures honored on May 21, 2020 when the U.S. Postal Service issued its “Voices of the Harlem Renaissance” commemorative stamp collection. Shaun Spencer-Hester, grand-daughter of Anne Spencer and the Museum’s executive director, will join our self-guided tour of the garden and Anne Spencer’s cottage retreat, Edankraal, built by her husband Edward and where she did most of her writing.

Arrive at 12:30 p.m.; depart at 2 p.m.

Minimum/maximum number of attendees: 10/20

Self-Guided/free (note: if you had already purchased this tour before the postponement, your ticket cost will be refunded).

Historic Academy of Music Theatre-Academy Center for the Arts

600 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504

Tour guests may be dropped off in the valet area; free parking is available in the hotel parking lot directly across Main Street from the main entrance to the Theatre lobby. Please note that the 5th Street parking lot is only for patrons with mobility issues.

The Historic Academy of Music Theatre is one of Lynchburg’s most notable historical treasures. First opened on February 1, 1905, the theatre boasted perfect sightlines and extraordinary acoustics, attracting nationally acclaimed performing artists. In its heyday, it hosted notable individual artists, musicals with casts of hundreds, and popular silent films. After closing its doors in 1958, the theatre remained unused for 60 years. The Friends of the Academy saved the building from demolition around 1968. Through the efforts of the Academy Center of the Arts’ board and staff, as well as the dedicated members of the community, the restorations of the Historic Theatre were brought to completion and the theatre was reopened on December 6, 2018.  Since it’s rebirth, the event calendar has featured notable artists like Mavis Staples, David Sedaris, Wynton Marsalis, The Second City, and Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Our tour guide Karoline Hicks, House Manager, will include details about the architectural recovery and restoration process, the historic evolution of the theatre, and its rebirth under the auspices of the Academy Center.

Arrive at 2:30 p.m.; depart at 3:30

Minimum/maximum number of attendees: 20/30

Cost per person (senior rate, minimum 20 registrants): $5

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