LC partners with Historic Sandusky

Monday December 12 2011


A partnership between Lynchburg College and Historic Sandusky, an important Civil War site near the campus, has been formed.

The development of the non-profit partnership originated with an inquiry from the Strategic Planning Committee of the Historic Sandusky Foundation Board (HS) about the possibility of a formal relationship with LC.

LC President Kenneth Garren and Sandusky Board President Bland Massie Jr. signed the documents to cement the relationship in a ceremony Dec. 12.

Check out news coverage by The News & Advance, WSET, and WDBJ7.

"Education has always been at the forefront of our efforts and what better way to strengthen our commitment to education than to align ourselves with LC," Bland Massie Jr. said. "This partnership will blend the education of young people with the preservation of Lynchburg history as it facilitates a progressive shift of HS operations to LC."

"I am very happy to see this College continue to expand its impact on Central Virginia and to combine its quality academic programs with the community resources of Historic Sandusky," Dr. Garren said. "The winners will not only be our students but those generous patrons whose vision created Historic Sandusky as a house museum."

An advisory committee composed of select history, education, museum studies and art history faculty and staff members will guide LC's efforts - aimed at both preserving one of Lynchburg's historical treasures and providing hands-on learning experiences for students.

Initial discussions have focused on, for example, potential for integration into:

  • LC's Museum Studies program,
  • Undergraduate history, education, and other programs, and
  • MA in history program.

"This partnership will enable LC to enhance its educational mission by incorporating the unique aspects of Historic Sandusky into the curriculum and programs of the College," said Dr. Ed Polloway, vice president of community advancement at LC.

The College will also hold special events at Sandusky, including events for alumni and trustees, collaborative programs with regional schools, community education, and faculty retreats.

LC will honor the mission of the Historic Sandusky Foundation, which is to preserve and interpret the Sandusky site as a public museum and to collect, preserve and disseminate information about the history of Sandusky, its inhabitants, and the role of Lynchburg in the Civil War. Gregory Starbuck will continue his role as executive director of Historic Sandusky while Barbara Rothermel, director of LC's Daura Gallery, will serve on the Foundation Board of HS.

Sandusky is a registered Virginia Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is one of the finest examples of Federal style architecture in Virginia's Piedmont region and is on the Civil War Trails tour.

Background on the property

The house, located at 757 Sandusky Drive, was built circa 1808 by Charles Johnston who named it Sandusky to commemorate his narrow escape. In 1790, while navigating the Ohio River on his way to Kentucky, Johnston and his companions were captured by a party of Shawnees and taken to an encampment near Lake Erie, near a frontier settlement called Sandusky. A French-Canadian fur trader ransomed Johnston, who eventually made his way back to Virginia.

Johnston established Sandusky as the centerpiece of a 1,200-acre plantation on property he had purchased from John Lynch, Thomas Burgess, and James Steptoe. Johnston's business enterprises were many and varied. In 1810, for example, he purchased Thomas Jefferson's entire Poplar Forest tobacco crop.

In 1818, Johnston sold Sandusky and moved to Botetourt County. The property then changed hands several times until George C. Hutter bought it, along with 700 surrounding acres.

In 1864, during the Hutter family occupancy, Sandusky was commandeered by Union Gen. David Hunter as union army headquarters on June 17-18, 1864, but Hunter was driven out of Lynchburg by Confederate Gen. Jubal Early, saving the Hill City from major destruction.

Sandusky was held in private ownership until 2000 when it was purchased by the Historic Sandusky Foundation. Since then, a visitor center has been built to enhance the educational value of the site.