Early History

In 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote that Lynchburg was “perhaps the most rising place in the U.S.— It receives all the produce of the Southwestern corner of Virginia…it ranks now next to Richmond in importance.”4

canalFour years later, Samuel Scott and William Galt re-insured the store on lot 5, which they valued at $3,150.50 Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, William Galt (1755-1825) was a respected merchant in Richmond and had commercial interests throughout Piedmont Virginia (including Galt’s Mill in Amherst County, which he constructed in 1813).6 Following Scott’s death in 1822 and Galt’s passing in 1825, the prime commercial property at what is now
Ninth and Main was divided into two portions. The first twenty feet of frontage on Main Street (from the corner at Ninth) was under the control of William Galt’s adopted son, William Galt, Jr. (1801-1851), and nephew John Allan (1779-1834) (foster father of Edgar Allan Poe). Beverly R. Scott was in possession of a 22.5’ wide lot just to the west.7 In 1827, merchant Matthew Quinn (1799-1875) purchased the corner lot, which he already occupied, from Galt and Allan. Two years later, he purchased the adjoining lot, giving him 42.5 feet of frontage on Main Street.8 By 1833, Quinn was operating a clothing store and grocery store on his property, but five years later, the clothing store had been converted to a shoe store.9 In 1850, Quinn, then living in Philadelphia, sold the lot to Irish Confectioner Samuel A. Boyd (b. 1823), who established his “Confectionery and Ice Cream Saloon” at 827 Main Street. An 1887 advertisement boasted that the saloon featured soda water, candies, fruits, nuts, and toys, and that Boyd catered wedding parties in the “city and country.”10