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Treasure Island served Lynchburg in many ways since opening in 1912 as a YMCA camp with a message from President William Taft. The island had two pools, a petting zoo, and fields for horseback riding. The Rev. Jerry Falwell bought the island in 1963, renaming it Treasure Island and using it as a church youth camp.

During the 1970s, Lynchburg Baptist college (Later renamed Liberty University) housed students there and the football team used it for storage and practice. After that it became a privately owned farm. By the time of this photo it had been acquired by then Lynchburg Baptist College (now Liberty University) and used again for recreation and practice fields. In 1988 a fire destroyed the buildings, and the island became inaccessible when the bridge washed out in a later flood.

Photo courtesy of B. K. Mundy

Nov. 7, 1975 Original text: Bridge worried firemen Firemen responding to the fire at Liberty Baptist College dormitory Wednesday night, were worried whether this bridge connecting Treasure Island with the south bank of the James River could bear the weight of firefighting apparatus. First unit to test the span’s weight capacity was a Lynchburg Life Saving Crew light crash truck loaded with firemen. All fire trucks safely crossed the bridge. (The bridge later collapsed in the flood of 1985, cutting off access to the island, which has sat unused since.)

Jan. 31, 1985 The bridge to Treasure Island, owned by Thomas Road Baptist Church, was demolished in a devastating flood in November 1985. The island, which just below and to the east of Riverside Park, was once home to a YMCA camp that opened with a message from President William Taft in 1912. The Rev. Jerry Falwell bought the island in 1963, renaming it Treasure Island and using it as a church youth camp that included two swimming pools, a petting zoo and fields for horseback riding. During the 1970s, Lynchburg Baptist College (the predecessor to Liberty University) housed students on the island and Liberty’s football team used it for practice fields and storage until the flood of 1985 severed access to the island and damaged much of the facilities. What wasn’t carried away in the flood was ruined in 1988, when vandals set fire to the island, burning more than a dozen buildings to the ground. Original text: City fire department is closest unit to Treasure Island but its trucks can’t cross rickety bridge. The crest was two feet below the 28 feet recorded during Hurricane Camille in August, 1969. As a result of the heavy rains dropped on Central Virginia by Hurricane Agnes this week, the James River went over the flood stage of 18 feet Wednesday and continued to rise until it crested Thursday afternoon. The filled swimming pool in the center of the picture provides an incongruous note amidst all the flooding.
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