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The area comprising the Rivermont Neighborhood was not incorporated into Lynchburg until 1900 and was largely undeveloped farmland during the 19th century. It was planned and developed by the Rivermont Company beginning in 1890 with the construction of the Rivermont Bridge spanning Blackwater Creek at the northwest end of Main Street. The Rivermont Neighborhood was conceived as a residential development and has remained so to this day. Its housing stock encompasses a rather narrow range of domestic building types, consisting primarily of single-family detached residences, although a smaller number of duplexes and apartment houses were built as well.
The Rivermont Neighborhood is an eclectic blend of historic structures, built through the 20th century that create a unified and well-balanced area. Indeed, it is one of the best-planned neighborhoods in Lynchburg, if not the region and state.
The area comprising the Rivermont Historic District is based primarily on the architectural survey completed in 1995 by Dames & Moore, of Bethesda, Maryland. The Historic District encompasses all properties fronting on Rivermont Avenue, plus several properties on side streets that include Victoria Avenue, Belmont Street, Charlotte Street, Early Street, Cleveland Avenue, Lee Circle, Oakwood Place and Oak Lane. The Rivermont Historic District was categorized into three distinct areas—Lower Rivermont which includes properties from the Rivermont Bridge downtown to Bedford Avenue; Middle Rivermont which includes properties from Bedford Avenue to where Bedford Avenue again intersects Rivermont Avenue; and Upper Rivermont which contains properties from Bedford Avenue to V.E.S. Road, including the Oakwood Country Club. The Rivermont Historic District includes mostly residential properties but also contains commercial properties, churches, public properties including a portion of Riverside Park, and portions of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Virginia Baptist Hospital. There are numerous other sub-districts of Rivermont that are eligible for historic district designation.
Description of Buildings
Rivermont is the largest historic district in Lynchburg with 306 buildings and numerous outbuildings. Architectural styles include the bungalow/craftsman, classical revival, Dutch Colonial, Gothic Revival, International style, Italianate, Queen Anne, Spanish Colonial and Tudor Revival.
From its beginning, the Rivermont neighborhood has consisted primarily of single-family detached residences, usually two stories in height, with gable or hipped roofs often covered with metal standing seam sheets or slate shingles. Houses always faced the street and had auxiliary buildings such as garages and sheds located to the rear of the yard. Building materials include both wood and brick (stone was rarely used as a construction material). Most of the buildings dating from 1890-1910 period were of frame construction and were built on raised brick basements, had prominent porches along the front, interior brick chimneys and double-hung sash windows. Most houses were given some form of individuality by decorative exterior woodwork such as brackets, shingles, vents, cornices and porch columns.