Lynchburg made national headlines on several occasions in the 1980s, with a steady stream of political heavyweights from Ronald Reagan to Oliver North drawn to the city through the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. during the decade. And in Bedford, Central Virginia’s “crime of the century” played  out with the trials of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom in the brutal slaying of Haysom’s parents, a case that continues to be in the news to this day. The Flood of 1985 earned its share of attention, too, as the James River reached a historic flood stage that swamped downtown Lynchburg and nearly took out the old Williams Viaduct bridge. The decade also saw its share of comings and goings, including the opening of River Ridge mall, the closing of several stores downtown, and opening of a new pool at Miller Park just in time for the city’s bicentennial in 1986.

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