Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Main Hall

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Institution Name: Randolph-Macon Women's College
Original/Historic Place Name: Main Hall
Location on Campus: 2500 Rivermont Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1893original construction
1911addition of annex
1934major renovation
1981major renovation
Designer: W. M. Poindexter, (Washington, DC)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: rock
Walls: brick
Roof: slate, built-up
ca. 1893chapel
1893-present (2006)residence hall (with lounges)
ca. 1979auditorium (used to be the chapel; now used for storage)
ca. 1979classrooms
ca. 1979administration
ca. 1979dining hall

The campus, comprised of 19.8 acres of land, was given to the College by the Rivermont Land Company, one of the first planned communities in the country. They also gave $100,000 to the founding of the College and the Lynchburg community more than matched that gift. The building was built by John P. Pettyjohn. In September of 1893, the building and the College were opened, although only two floors were ready for use (approximately 50% of the building). The third floor was finished in 1894; the extension in 1896; and the building completed (according to the original plans) in 1899. Formal dedication was held in February 1900. An annex was added in 1911, and the building underwent major renovations in 1934 and again in 1981. Today, it is considered the "heart" of the campus. Pearl S. Buck, Class of 1914, lived in this building during her days at RMWC. She was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Alumnae have fond memories of the wisteria (planted in 1899) that grows on the porch of the main entrance, the amphora urns that once graced her porch, and the Conway Bell housed in her bell tower. The Conway Bell was moved to the College bell tower from the original Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, one of the oldest congregations in Lynchburg.


Cornelius, Roberta D. The History of Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1951.

Randolph Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA. Historic American Buildings Survey photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, n.d.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Main Hall--Randolph-Macon Women's College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1979.


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Last update: November 2006