A once colorful area spread along Lynchburg’s James River waterfront, the Lower Basin defined the city’s historic wholesale and industrial center. Beginning as Lynch’s Ferry in the 1750s and emerging as an important canal and railroad transportation center a century later, Lynchburg maintained its role as a leading manufacturing and marketing center well into the 20th century. The Lower Basin area takes its name from an expanded portion of the James River and Kanawha Canal which linked the city to Virginia’s eastern markets. Canal traffic and the arrival of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad in 1849 resulted in increased commercial activity in the Lower Basin. It was during the early 20th century that most of the commercial warehouses, factories, and jobbing houses were built. The Lower Basin Historic District’s multi-story, utilitarian brick structures present a display of historic commercial architecture.
In 2001, the Lower Basin Historic District boundary was increased to add a late-19th-century warehouse and a 1930s grocery store to the district.
[VLR Listed: 6/13/2001; NRHP Listed: 6/6/2002]
An amendment to the original Lower Basin Historic District nomination was approved in 2008 that updated the inventory of a property on Ninth Street.
[VLR Approved: 4/30/2008; NRHP Approved: 6/4/2008]
The Lower Basin Historic District in Lynchburg was listed in the NHRP in 1987, and it has been expanded twice, in 2002 and 2008. This district encompasses the largest concentration of commercial and warehouse buildings in the downtown area of the city. An additional Lower Basin Historic District boundary increase was approved in 2023. The majority of the buildings within the Lower Basin Historic District were constructed between 1800-1950, but this update extends its period of significance to 1959.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark