Project Info

Kemper Street Industrial Historic District by HistoryTech, LLC

Following Reconstruction, Lynchburg, unlike other Southside towns and cities, began to diversify its economy with the aid of local money as well as investors from other regions of the country. The last two decades of the nineteenth century brought major manufacturers of iron products, cloth, clothing, and shoes. The Kemper Street Industrial Historic District encompasses the core of a manufacturing area devoted primarily to clothing and shoes that developed in the early twentieth century as Lynchburg’s initial commercial and industrial districts (downtown and the lower basin) reachedcapacity. The proposed district covers approximately seventeen acres, and consists of five building complexes bisected by an active Norfolk & Southern rail line. Architectural styles range from industrial vernacular of the early twentieth century to high order Georgian Revival, and construction techniques include modern “fireproofing” that was coming into vogue in the first quarter of the century. A unique component of the development of the land included in the district boundaries is the activity of the Lynchburg Industrial Development Corporation, a private organization dedicated to selling land to “start up” businesses, and the spawning of the Lynchburg Manufacturers Building Corporation, which constructed a generic “loft” building speculatively.The Kemper Street Industrial Historic District represents a significant part of Lynchburg’s commercial, industrial, and social past (Criterion A), and is an excellent example of the development of modern light industrial architecture in the region (Criterion C). The period of significance (1916-1958) includes all major phases of development and construction within the district. The majority of property acquisition for the purpose of industrial development began in 1916 and halted by 1918. By 1918, the first major buildings had been constructed, and the building campaign in the district continued through 1956 (when a major addition to the Blue Buckle Overall Company was made). While additions to contributing structures continued in to the 1980s, they have not achieved historical significance, and are not architecturally significant under current guidelines.

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