A Walking Tour of Danville, Virginia
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Danville, Virginia is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
Danville is a town built on tobacco, not the manufacture of it but the storage and transporting of it. In the early 1790s inland tobacco growers began agitating for a more convenient inspection station than Richmond or Petersburg and in 1793 the Virginia Assembly established a tobacco warehouse at Wynne's Falls, a fording spot on the Dan River. Later in the year the village name was changed by the Legislature to Danville, the name coming from pioneering settler William Byrd who, in 1728, named the river.
In short order Danville would become Virginia's largest market for bright leaf tobacco, laying claim to being the "World's Best Tobacco Market." By the Civil War Danville had evolved into a bustling town of 5,000. During the fighting the town's cavernous tobacco warehouses were converted into hospitals and prisons. Starvation and dysentery, plus a smallpox epidemic in 1864, caused the death of 1,314 of these prisoners. Their remains now lie interred in the Danville National Cemetery. Danville was a major supply depot for the Confederacy but was never reached by Union troops.
Danville's industrial era began in 1881 with the opening of a small yarn mill that would evolve into the largest single-unit textile mill in the world. Dan River textiles were known the country over. Fortunes made in tobacco and cotton showed themselves on Main Street as it stretched west away from the city clinging to the Dan River. While downtown Danville lost many of its most impressive buildings to fire and urban renewal energetic preservationists have kept this section of Main Street, known as Millionaire's Row, looking much as it did in the town's glory days.
Danville is home to some of the finest Victorian architecture in the South and our walking tour will work up and down Main Street (although topographically speaking down and then up) and we will start at the top of the hill with the house that launched Millionaire's Row and witnessed the end of the Confederacy...