Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Liberty Hall Ruins

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Institution Name: Washington and Lee University
Original/Historic Place Name: Liberty Hall
Location on Campus: west campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1793original construction Cravens, William
Designer: William Cravens (stonemason)
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1793library
ca. 1793residence hall
ca. 1793classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (ruins)

Constructed in 1793, Liberty Hall was the main building of the Washington and Lee campus (called Liberty Hall Academy at that time). It was during this period that the campus attracted the attention of George Washington, who favored it with a large gift of stock and consented to have the college re-named "Washington College." After Liberty Hall burned in 1803, the campus began to abandon the buildings which clustered around it and to build a new campus closer to the center of town. The Liberty Hall site remained undeveloped, being surrounded by campus sports fields, and provides a rare example of eighteenth century college life. Liberty Hall reflects the stone building traditions of rural Scottish and Irish settlers who established the college at this location around the time of the Revolutionary War.


Stoeckle, Michael. "Visualizing Liberty Hall Academy." Video project, Washington and Lee University, 2003.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Washington and Lee University Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1971.

Wood Swofford and Associates, Architects. Liberty Hall Ruin Historic Structures Report. [Wood Swofford and Associates, Architects, Charlottesville, VA], 1993.


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Last update: November 2006