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Danville, Virginia: An Important Growing Micro-City

Updated on May 22, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

The last Confederate Capitol was located in Danville, Virginia.
The last Confederate Capitol was located in Danville, Virginia. | Source

What is a Micro City?

Danville was the last capital city of the Confederate States during the American Civil War. Today, it is a growing micro-city, meaning that it is a small city that is growing with increasing population because of the influx of new businesses.

According to Sperling's Best Places, Danville is home to just over 42,000 residents who enjoy a cost of living that is just 79% that of the United States as a whole.

The Dan River, Downtown Dan VA
The Dan River, Downtown Dan VA | Source

Campsite City

What is currently Danville was discovered as ground for a good camp site by in the 1720s by British Colonial surveyors exploring and measuring the area as they met different Native American Nations between Virginia and North Carolina.

Searching for the correct colony borders, they stopped to camp by a nearby river that that William Byrd decided should be called "Dan" after the Tribe of Dan in the Old Testament. This was considered by some to be his tribute to the area as a "promised land" full of natural wealth. In the future, that wealth would be realized in cotton, tobacco, and other agricultural products.

Danville, Virginia:
Danville, VA, USA

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Downtown Historical River District

Downtown Danville contains 25 acres of history in the textiles, bright leaf tobacco production, and other manufacturing industries after the American Revolution, facilitated by commerce transport on the Dan River. These businesses supported an economy that attracted new residents and merchants from the 1790s through the Civil War.

As the last Capital of the American Confederate States, it saw six of its large tobacco warehouses turned into prisoner-of-war camps for Union soldiers. There, starvation, smallpox and dysentery killed over 1,300 out of five thousand prisoners as well as many local residents. However, Danville was able to rebound.

After the beginning of post-war Reconstruction, the railroads helped business (particularly cotton) and the local population to increase through the 1920s. This is a pattern similar to that of Wilmington, Delaware, another Top Micro-City for the Future.

A second similarity with Wilmington is Danville's early focus on "high style" architecture like that of the long-time US Post Office and Masonic buildings, with many buildings recognized today on the National Register of Historic Places. This includes Millionaire's Row along Main Street on a popular walking tour of the city beside homes and businesses of business people of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Downtown Danville holds an annual Harvest Festival and a yearly Bright Leaf Brew Fest, and offers several entertainment venues, recreation, and a minor league baseball club - the Danville Braves.

Danville VA:
Danville, VA, USA

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The River Dan in Tel Aviv, Israel, nearby a kibbutz.
The River Dan in Tel Aviv, Israel, nearby a kibbutz. | Source

Old World, New World

British colonists named the local river the Dan in honor of the similarly named river in the Holy Land.

When the land of Israel was divided among the Twelve Tribes as they entered this promised land, the Tribe of Dan received a portion of property.

The Dan River flows into the Jordan in Israel. Today, the cities of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and nearby suburbs are called Gush Dan.

Crossing the Dan River In the American Revolution. Recognized by the National Society Sons of the American Revolution. Re-enactment.
Crossing the Dan River In the American Revolution. Recognized by the National Society Sons of the American Revolution. Re-enactment. | Source

The Crossing of the Dan

A reenactment each year commemorates the Crossing of the Dan Riverduring what is known as the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution in 1781. The Historical Exhibit in Halifax County, Virginia relates the story of the event in a permanent installation and is open year round.

America's commander in Virginia, Nathanael Greene - also a Quaker - laid out a course for delivering supplies across the Dan River to his troops in North Carolina. At the time, he did not know that he was mapping out the "beginning of the end" of the Revolutionary War.

During the last stages of the Southern Campaign (in the Carolinas and Georgia), the British attempted to chase the American troops up through the Carolinas and overtake them before they crossed the River Dan into Virginia (full of American encampments). The Americans were successful in their river crossing and turned the tide of the war toward the decline of the British campaign. The river waters rose high enough behind the Americans that the British could not cross and Greene and his men, rested and with additional troops, soon recrossed the Dan and routed the British.

The Crossing of the Dan history exhibit opened in the summer of 2008 and has enjoyed many visitors. It is located 27 miles northeast of Danville in South Boston, Virginia.

Haifax County VA:
Halifax County, VA, USA

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Dan River, VA:
Dan River, United States

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Business and Jobs

Largest Local Employers

  1. Goodyear Tire & Rubber
  2. Danville Regional Medical Center
  3. City of Danville
  4. Danville City Public Schools
  5. Telvista Incorporated
  6. Nestle U.S.A.
  7. Danville Community College
  8. Courtland Health Care Center
  9. Averett College
  10. Atlantic Shipping Company

Undoubtedly, staffing companies place professionals in positions listed at these Top 10 Employers. Additional positions filled by staffing agencies are not always listed online in Internet job search engines.

Companies Advertising the Most Jobs

  1. City of Danville: City government jobs
  2. Voyage Healthcare
  3. Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Inc. and Food Lion: Grocery restaurant

  4. SOVAH Health
  5. LifePoint Hospitals
  6. Jackson Therapy Partners
  7. Interim HealthCare
  8. Lake Cumberland Medical
  9. Moses Cone Health System
  10. Havasu Regional Medical Center

Top 10 Fastest Growing Jobs to 2025

  1. Counselors, Social Workers, Case Workers, etc.
  2. Food/Beverage Service Jobs
  3. Teachers - Primary, Secondary, and Special Education Teachers
  4. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  5. Computer Software App. Engrs
  6. Retail Salespersons
  7. Personal Financial Advisers
  8. Nursing & Psychiatric Aides
  9. Clerks, several types
  10. Rehabilitation Counselors

While a variety of jobs have been forecast as fast-growing through 2016 by the US Federal Government and state agencies, forecasts did not closely matched growth jobs in Danville from 2005 - 2009. However, forecast growth did appear among advertised jobs in 2012 - 2013.

Sports and Recreation

Higher Education

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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