Annie’s family were not only residents of Rivermont but major investors in its development.  When the Rivermont Land Company gave $100,000 to help fund the establishment of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a group of Lynchburg citizens raised a matching gift of another $100,000.  These citizens included Annie’s great-grandfather, R.H.T. Adams and his brothers, William and Isaac.  Decades later her family also contributed to the purchase of George Bellows’ masterwork, Men of the Docks, for the college’s art collection.

When Annie was born, her parents lived on North Princeton on the edge of where Randolph’s hockey field used to be, the current location of the Bell Residence Hall parking lot.  The house had a downstairs apartment where R-MWC Latin professor, Dr. Herbert Lipscomb, lived.  After her grandmother died Annie and her parents moved to 1700 Rivermont to be with her grandfather.  With that, Dr. Lipscomb moved into the main part of the house.  So revered by the college community, the Lipscomb Library at Randolph is named for him.

In her youth, Annie vividly remembered sleigh rides on Fredonia, sledding on Norfolk, ice skating on College Lake and Timber Lake, and walking or roller skating to Garland-Rodes School (2244 Rivermont Avenue).  It was at Garland-Rodes that she first discovered her passion for the arts.  That interest was enhanced by attending many performances at Smith Hall on the campus of R-MWC. After she graduated from Saint Mary’s Junior College in Raleigh, North Carolina, she then returned to Lynchburg to attend Randolph-Macon Woman’s College as an English major minoring in Latin and Greek.  Annie played field hockey, joined Delta Delta Delta sorority, and fondly recalled her two years at R-MWC, clearly remembering the view of Rivermont filtered by the large magnolia trees from her two Main Hall rooms. After completing her degree and taking an opportunity to travel in Europe, she taught English at E.C. Glass High School from 1955-1960.  It was at this stage of her life that she began to take art classes which led her to become not just an admirer of the arts, but an artist, a painter, in her own right.

Annie met her husband, William (Bill) Massie, while they were students at E.C. Glass High School. When they were married in 1960, the couple moved to Charlottesville where their two children, Ann and Will, were born.  Moving back to Lynchburg in 1963, the Massie family lived at 1664 Spottswood Place for five years.  When she and Bill heard that 3204 Rivermont was about to go on the market, they jumped at the chance to purchase the home.  Doing a great deal of landscaping with the help of a landscape designer, they were able to add a significant architectural feature from one of her family’s ancestral homes on Daniel’s Hill.

When Annie’s great uncle, who had been living at 405 Cabell Street, passed away, Annie’s mother bought it and gave it to the Preserve Lynchburg Foundation, one of the precursors to today’s Lynchburg Historical Foundation.  However, Annie asked if she and Bill could have the beautiful if heavily damaged wrought iron fence from the property.  The Foundation agreed and that fence, augmented by newly forged pieces to fill in the gaps, lines the sidewalk in front of 3204 to today.

Annie’s passion for Lynchburg’s history and for the architectural heritage of the city was apparent to all who knew her.  First president of the Lynchburg Historical Foundation, Annie’s interest in historic preservation was particularly sparked by the demolition of the impressive Scott House at 1705 Rivermont at the corner of Fauquier, across from the home where Annie was raised and owned by Annie’s mother’s first cousin.  Replaced by cinderblock apartments, she always saw that destruction as a tear in the fabric of the Rivermont landscape, and would often show an old photo of the home to demonstrate what was lost and what could continue to be lost without the establishment of a historic district in Rivermont.

Throughout the years Annie was involved in the various, though ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to designate Rivermont a historic district.  However, the opportunity for success came due to a confluence of events—the acceleration of the historic preservation movement throughout the country, the razing of a fine home by Centenary Methodist Church (the land, initially intended for a parking lot, was ultimately planted with trees), and the arrival of Rachel Flynn, Director of Community Development for the City of Lynchburg from 1998 to 2006.  According to Annie, “Without Rachel this never, ever would have happened.  She was the great visionary of Lynchburg.”

A foundation, the Friends of Rivermont, was established and a board elected:  Annie served as president, Frances Harriss as vice president, Peter Parker as treasurer, Carolyn Zimmerman as secretary and Marilyn Martin as historian.  As Annie recounted, “having grown up at 1700 and living at 3204, I seemed to be a good choice to lead the board.”  What also worked to the board’s advantage was that all of the officers either lived on or quite near Rivermont.  In fact, Carolyn Zimmerman’s home was the house that Annie grew up in.  Working with other historic districts and many other concerned citizens and putting in countless hours in endless meetings, the Friends of Rivermont were well prepared to make their case.  Though the Lynchburg City Council voted against the proposal at first, Annie and other advocates would eventually have their efforts recognized when the council proclaimed Rivermont Avenue as a historic district.

In 1995, Annie was awarded an Alumnae Achievement Award from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She served as an advisory board member of the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College Maier Museum of Art, a board member of Amazement Square, chairman of the Point of Honor Museum Collections, and, as noted earlier, president of the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and the Friends of Rivermont Historic District. Annie Massie’s ceaseless dedication throughout her life to Lynchburg and Rivermont Avenue is unquestionable. Her legacy is clearly visible to all who live, work, worship, visit, or even drive down Rivermont Avenue today.

Interviewed 6/14/2010





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Gerard Sherayko

Department of History

Randolph College
2500 Rivermont Avenue
Lynchburg, VA 24503