Flow of Time in the Dan River Region

History, reflections, and memories of the residents in the Dan River Region of Virginia and North Carolina from 1700 to the present.

This timeline was created in 2013 by Danville Regional Foundation interns as part of the History United Project. This timeline is still a work in progress--we recognize that there may be errors and gaps in the research and we are working to correct these. Thanks for visiting!

Wendell Scott & NASCAR

On this date, Scott obtains his NASCAR racing license. From Danville, Wendell broke the color-barrier in Southern Stock-car racing in 1952 and went on to battle his way through the NASCAR circuit among heavy prejudice. He was the first black man to win the Jacksonville 200, and was honored in a dedication ceremony in 2013.

Danville Civil Rights Protests

On May 31, 1963 a cross-section of blacks marched from their assembly place to the municipal court building and protested for desegregated facilities, equal employment opportunities, representation in city government, and creation of a biracial commission to monitor racial progress.

Danville Public Schools Integrate

George Washington High School, high school for white students, absorbs Langston High School, which was for black students. The principal at this time was Everett L. Motley and D. T. Bonner was the superintendent.

Averett University Becomes Co-ed

Converted from a school for young women to a fully-accredited, co-educational, four-year college.

World's Best Tobacco Market

The WBTM, "The World's Best Tobacco Market" is established in the 1850s. With the establishment of the tobacco warehouse, it serves as Virginia's largest market for bright leaf tobacco. Danville started to be recognized for its tobacco.

Caswell Family Medical Center Opens

The Caswell Family Medical Center opened and provided a community health center with comprehensive medical care to the uninsured, insured, underserved and private paying citizens of the area. The center is currently undergoing a 4,000-square-foot expansion on the west side of the building that will offer nine more exam rooms, an enlarged trauma room, a procedure room and more office space.

Caswell County Schools Integrate

After 12 years in court, a US District Court Ruled Caswell County Schools must integrate. The decision led to the closing of the Caswell County High School (aka Caswell County Training School) which had served Caswell's black population. At the time, CCHS had been accredited for 14 years, but the local white high school was not accredited. The forced integration stoked long-standing tensions in the community.

Altavista Finishing Plant

Known as Hurt Finishing Plant and at full strength employed over 1,600 people. Later closed in 2007.

Thriving Mills

Driven by the need present during World War II, the Dan River Mills fulfilled orders for the military. During this time the mills employed 14,000 workers and operated twelve weaving and spinning mills. Their success during this time led to prosperity for decades to come.

Danville Science Center Opens

Walter R. T. Witschey opened Danville's first Science Center in 1995. It has since expanded into multiple buildings, and is now home to a butterfly house, a 1948 Norfolk and Western caboose, a science center campus, and a natural history exhibit. The Danville Science Center is a part of the Science Museum of Virginia.

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