LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — It was years in the making. The construction of the statue of former Lynchburg City Mayor Warren “Teedy” Thornhill, Jr. is finally complete. On Saturday, Aug. 19 the city held a ceremony to unveil the project.

“I have no words to adequately express how we feel, but I will be remiss if I did not make an attempt so thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Mrs. Frances Scruggs Thornhill, the former mayor’s wife.

Organizers say residents of Lynchburg have been waiting since 2015 for the statue of the first black mayor of Lynchburg. City officials said the day was one to rejoice.

“It’s brought great joy to the community, and I think it will bring great joy for years to come that we’re honoring such a great man as Mayor Thornhill,” said Tom Martin, Lynchburg City Planner.

The statue is located on the roundabout at Fifth Street and Federal Street. Martin said the life-size bronze statue will serve as a beacon of hope to the youth in the community, giving them inspiration. To the Lynchburg community, he was not only the first black mayor but is known as a civil rights activist, business owner, mentor, and friend.

“To have this day to finally come is actually breathtaking,” said Paula Blair. “It shows the resilience of the african american community as well as the city and its administration.

“It’s an opportunity for this community to grow. I’m glad to see the statue come to this area, they’ve been planning it for many years, and I am happy to be here,” said Rita Giles, another ceremony attendee.

He was a family man, businessman and served the City of Lynchburg for more than 12 years. Now he is being recognized for stamping his mark in the history of Hill City. On August 19, the City of Lynchburg will be unveiling the Murrell Warren "Tweedy" Thornhill Jr. statue, who was the first African American Mayor of the City of Lynchburg. He served from 1990 to 1992 before resigning due to an illness. He was 95.

Thornhill served on the Lynchburg City Council in 1972 and was later elected as mayor in 1990. Fifth Street Community Development Corporation (CDC) was the head organization in championing the statute. They partnered with the City of Lynchburg.

Warren “Teedy” Thornhill, Jr. (1990-1992) (Photo courtesy: CIty of Lynchburg)

Alvin Elliott, its chairman, said they went through COVID, rising costs, and time delays to be here today. He said when funds got tight, the City of Lynchburg was able to provide funding. The chairman believes the project is proof of what can happen when the City of Lynchburg works together.

“This gathering here today, if you look around, you’ll see the diversity here. This is a coming together of his dream. He wanted to bring this city together, and this speaks to that,” said Alvin Elliott, Chairman of the History Community Development Corporation.

The city did shut down portions of Fifth and Portions Streets in Lynchburg for the event. Those streets have since been reopened.

Former Lynchburg City Mayor Warren “Teedy” Thornhill, Jr. (1990-1992)
(Jemon Haskins/ WFXR News)