Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Venable Hall

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Institution Name: Hampden-Sydney College
Original/Historic Place Name: Union Theological Seminary Building
Location on Campus: Via Sacra
Date(s) of Construction:
1824-1830original construction Cosby, Dabney
1985exterior restoration and interior renovation
Designer: Dabney Cosby (Raleigh, NC)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Federal (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: brick
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
ca. 1830residence hall (of faculty and students of Union Theological Seminary)
ca. 1830library
ca. 1830chapel
ca. 1830classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)residence hall

When it was completed in 1830, Venable Hall provided the first seminary in the South and eventually became the head institution of the Southern Presbyterian Church. The exterior was restored in 1985 and the interior modernized. It was built in three stages over six years. The significant cupola, modeled on classic forms, was hidden for nearly a century under fishtale tin shingles.


Brinkley, John L. On This Hill: A Narrative History of Hampden-Sydney College. Hampden-Sydney, VA: Hampden-Sydney College, 1994.

Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Virginia. Charleston, SC: Babcock & Company, 1845.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Hampden-Sydney College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1970.


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Last update: November 2006