The former Allen-Morrison property, located in the Fort Hill neighborhood adjacent to Lynchburg Grows and the City Stadium Complex is a bit nearer to the next step in its evolution from factory to park. The former sign-making industrial site was abandoned in 1996, and the City of Lynchburg assumed ownership through eminent domain in April of 2003. Because of its proximity to the City Stadium Complex, the former Allen-Morrison property was identified as the site of a future park in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Since the City of Lynchburg assumed ownership, the site has been managed primarily by the Parks and Recreation Department. Environmental concerns have been addressed through ongoing agreements with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) the state agency responsible for Brownfields management.
Site Manufacturing History
The former Allen-Morrison site began its long history as a manufacturing site in 1911, when the Thornhill Wagon Company began operating a farm wagon manufacturing facility in a building on the south side of Rutherford Street. In the mid-1950’s, the Thornhill Wagon Company sold the site to a furniture manufacturer, Lynchburg Veneer (also referred to as “Ferrum Veneer”). Lynchburg Veneer and Lynchburg Dry Kilns took over the western portion of the site sometime between 1955 and 1965. The Allen-Morrison Company, which manufactured and painted signs, began operating in 1951 or earlier in a large factory building north of Rutherford Street. Between 1965 and 1967, Allen-Morrison expanded to the building south of Rutherford Street that had previously housed Lynchburg Veneer and Thornhill Wagon Company. Allen-Morrison closed the facility due to bankruptcy in December 1996, and the Commonwealth of Virginia terminated the corporation in 1997. Metallo Chemicals also operated at the site; however, it is unknown when or for how long. The site was acquired by the City of Lynchburg in April 2003.
As a manufacturing site, the former Allen-Morrison property is considered a Brownfield, which simply means that the presence or suspected presence of environmental contaminants is on site. The City of Lynchburg has worked closely with VDEQ to address the environmental problems on site by entering into the voluntary remediation for Brownfields program managed by VDEQ. The site is now entering the final stages of remediation, after which it will be considered clean-closed by VDEQ. For detailed information about the environmental issues, please follow the links below.
Future Park Site
In April of 2003, the City of Lynchburg acquired the 16-acre property through eminent domain. On site were seven buildings, all untended and open to the elements. They had been vandalized, and graffiti, broken windows, damaged stairs, and water damage created a public safety hazard. The City mowed the grass, secured the doors and windows with plywood, and demolished several of the small outbuildings. Subsequent actions included deconstruction of the Thornhill Wagon Works building as well as the former Allen-Morrison building located on the northern section of the property. Once final demolitions are completed, and the site is clean-closed by the VDEQ, the 16-acre site will be planted with grass and mowed by the City until funding becomes available for Master Planning of the land as a new park.