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Washington and Lee University Historic District

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Built by  Jordan,John
NRHP Reference #  71001047
Year built  1824
Architectural style  Greek Revival, Other
Designated NHLD  November 11, 1971
Added to NRHP  11 November 1971
Washington and Lee University Historic District httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Location  Washington and Lee University campus, Lexington, Virginia

The Washington and Lee University Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District encompassing the historic core elements of the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The campus's Colonnade constitutes one of the nation's finest assemblages of Classical Revival educational buildings, and includes Washington Hall, the school's oldest surviving building. The district also includes Lee Chapel, itself a National Historic Landmark. The district was listed in 1971.

Description and history

Washington and Lee University was founded as Washington University in 1803. Washington Hall, its oldest surviving building, was built in 1824 by John Jordan, a self-taught builder. It is a three-story brick building distinguished by a six-column Doric portico and a cupola topped by a statue of George Washington. Its flanking wings are also fronted by portico styling. This colonnaded Classical style set the tone for later buildings on the campus, including Newcomb Hall and Tucker Hall, which stand on either side. Newcomb, a Late Victorian building, was modified in the 1920s to conform to the Washington Building's style, and Tucker Hall was added in 1935. Flanking the three central buildings are two pairs of faculty residence halls built in 1843, each the four-column Greek Revival porticos.

This row of buildings occupy the top of a roughly north-south ridge. Down the hill to the east stands Lee Chapel, named for Robert E. Lee, who served as Washington College's president and is interred in a crypt within. After Lee's death, the school was renamed Washington and Lee to also honor his role in raising the school's status.

The noted British writer John Cowper Powys once called W&L the "most beautiful college campus in America." The poet and dramatist John Drinkwater remarked, "If this scene were set down in the middle of Europe, the whole continent would flock to see it!"

References

Washington and Lee University Historic District Wikipedia


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