VLR Listing Date 03/15/2018
NRHP Listing Date 05/31/2018
NPS property number SG100002529
In Lynchburg, the newly listed Twelfth Street Industrial Historic District features tobacco prizeries, warehouses, and commercial laundry plants that recall Lynchburg’s history as a major processing and transportation center for tobacco, as well as its growth into a city with businesses requiring large commercial laundry facilities.
Located on the James River, Lynchburg emerged as the transportation, industrial, and commercial hub of the Lower Piedmont Region of Virginia during the early 1800s through the mid-20th century. With the completion of the Lynchburg and Salem Turnpike in 1836, the 12th Street corridor became a gateway from western regions to the city’s commercial heart.
In the mid-1800s, 12th Street emerged as a center for tobacco, with industrial enterprises expanding west from the James River and Kanawha Canal and railroad operations in the Lower Basin. Following the Civil War, the corridor grew through the late 1800s with construction of new tobacco factories and warehouses, attracting a large African American workforce.
While most of the buildings in the district were built for the purpose of processing and storing tobacco, some would accommodate a variety of other uses including housing a Civil War hospital, and an African American school and lodge. After the decline of Lynchburg’s tobacco industry in the early 20th century, other industries, such as commercial laundries, arose as the local economy diversified. The oldest building in the district today is a circa 1858 tobacco prizery.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
Updated September 18, 2018