To the South
American Armoured Foundation Tank Museum
Birthplace of Lady Astor
Viscountess Nancy Astor was born in Danville, May 19, 1879. She became the first woman to sit in British Parliament. Her sister, Irene, married artist Charles Dana Gibson and inspired the famous "Gibson Girl". A historical marker is located at the corner of Broad and Main Streets. The birthplace is under renovation at 117 Broad Street and is open by appointment only. To schedule a tour, contact the Danville Welcome Center at (434) 793-INFO.
Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History
This Italian Villa mansion was home to Major William T. Sutherlin, wartime quartermaster for Danville and one of its most prominent citizens. For one week, April 3-10, 1865, Major and Mrs. Sutherlin opened their home to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In this house, Davis wrote and delivered his final proclamation to the Confederacy on April 4, and later that day met with members of his Cabinet for the last time. On April 10 reliable news arrived that Lee had surrendered. At 11 p.m. Davis and other officials left Danville on a twelve-car train headed for Greensboro.
The museum also features exhibits of local artists and those on loan from other museums. The museum includes a small auditorium used by local repertory groups, library, original furnishings and a unique gift shop. The museum offers community tours, art shows, classes and lectures throughout the year and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 5, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5., 975 Main Street, (434) 793-5644
Danville Science Center
A satellite of the Science Museum of Virginia, the Danville Science Center is housed in Danville's renovated train station. The Science Center is loaded with hands-on exhibits that encourage you and your family to unlock the secrets of how things work. The Science Center is open Monday thru Saturday from 9:30 to 5, Sunday from 1 to 5. Admission is $5.00 for adults(13-59), $4.00 for youth(4-12), seniors(60 and over), and active military, and free of charge for children(3 and under) and members. 677 Craghead Street, (434) 791-5160.
Estelle H. Womack Museum of Natural History
Currently located on Neathery Lane on the Danville Community College Campus, the museum is dedicated to increasing public awareness of our natural environment. It will move in 2005 or 2006 to a new home adjacent to the Danville Science Center. The museum collection includes mounted animals, native birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects as well as Indian artifacts, fossils and minerals. The museum is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 and other weekdays by appointment. (434) 797-2222.
Grist Mills, Pittsylvania County
During the 18th and 19th centuries, about 100 grist mills were built on Pittsylvania's waterways. Today, three remain in operation and can be visited by the public.
Grove Street Cemetery
Danville's oldest cemetery dating back to post-Revolutionary War days. A detailed brochure is available at the Danville Visitor Center.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this section of Main Street highlights the heritage of Danville's Victorian Era. Mansions are resplendent with gables, ginger bread scrollwork, columns, porticos, cupolas, and minarets. Victorian Walking Tour books which describe these and many other homes in the Danville Historic District are available at the Danville Welcome Center.
The National Cemetery
Located on Lee Street, the National Cemetery is the burial ground for 1,314 Federal prisoners of the Civil War who died in Danville.
August through mid-November the area's tobacco crops are sold at Motley's warehouse. Witness first hand the selling of the golden leaf as it is auctioned off to the highest bidder. This amazingly colorful sales process dates back to the late 1800's. Contact the Danville Welcome Center at (434) 793-4636 for brochures and auction schedules.
To the North
Avoca (45 minutes)
Avoca, in Altavista, is an excellent example of 19th Century American Queen Anne architecture. The 1901 property designed by architect J.M.B. Lewis is operated by the non-profit Avoca Museum and Historical Society. Designated a Virginia Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Avoca was the home of Revolutionary War Patriot Colonel Charles Lynch.
The house contains a unique collection of local antiques, including Native American artifacts and Civil War memorabilia. Avoca also hosts an annual wine festival in late September. Hours: Thurs-Sat. 11-3, Sun 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Public Tours: Mid-April through mid-October.
Near Lynchburg (60 min)
Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children's Museum in Lynchburg has the tallest indoor climbing tower in the nation with all sorts of pathways, tunnels and a glass elevator. Kids love the gallery devoted to Your Amazing Body where they can walk through a human heart. The Amazing Adventures of Lewis & Clark is perfect for the bicentennial celebration. 203 9th Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504, (434) 845-1888
The Anne Spencer House and Garden
The Anne Spencer House and Garden was home to the internationally acclaimed poet of the Harlem Renaissance. The garden served as an inspiration for much of her poetry and may be toured by appointment only. 1313 Pierce Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, (434) 845-1313
Old City Cemetery
The Old City Cemetery features a butterfly garden, lotus pond and a garden of 19th-century shrubs and roses. The gates are open daily, dawn to dusk. 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501, Telephone: (434) 847-1465, Fax: (434) 856-2004
Lynchburg Court House Museum
The Old Court House (built in 1855) is the Hill City's most famous historic landmark. Fashioned as a Greek temple high above the James River, it is now the home of Central Virginia's best collection of memorabilia, fine furnishings, costumes and industrial history. Each year new treasures are added to the collection and changing exhibits re-tell stories from bygone days. Phone: 434-847-1459, FAX at 434-528-0162
Maier Musuem of Art
Randolph-Macon Woman's College's nationally recognized Maier Museum of Art features works by outstanding American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The College has been collecting American art since 1920 and now holds a collection of several thousand paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs in the Maier's permanent collection.
The Museum hosts an active schedule of special exhibitions and education programs throughout the year. Through its programs, internships, museum studies practicums, and class visits, the Maier Museum of Art provides valuable learning opportunities for R-MWC students and our community at large.
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Thomas Jefferson enjoyed "the solitude of a hermit" at his year-round retreat near Lynchburg. At the heart of a 4800-acre plantation in beautiful Bedford County, Jefferson built his final personal architectural masterpiece, an octagonal house surrounded by an elaborate villa landscape.
Point of Honor
Point of Honor is the Federal-era mansion of Dr. George Cabell, Sr., friend and physician of the patriot Patrick Henry. The Cabell home has been carefully restored and completely furnished to re-create the bold designs and elegant details of an era when gentlemen dueled on fog-shrouded lawns and hands toiled in fields of tobacco under the yoke of slavery.
Point of Honor is one of Central Virginia's most remarkable architectural landmarks, combining fine craftsmanship with the Adam-style designs by Owen Biddle of Philadelphia and England's William Paine. With the addition of an authentically re-created plantation kitchen, the Bertha Green Webster Carriage House and historical landscape sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Point of Honor provides every visitor with a truly unique look back at one of Virginia's most exciting historical eras.The Lynchburg Museum System, 901 Court Street, P.O. Box 60, Lynchburg, Virginia 24505, Telephone: (434) 847-1459, Fax: (434) 528-0162, Open daily, 10 to 4.