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Occupying the former site of a mineral springs resort hotel that in the early 1800s hosted dignitaries such as Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, Hollins' historic Front Quadrangle traces the evolution of American collegiate architecture from the mid-19th to the 20th century and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Registry. The Front Quadrangle comprises East Building (1856), one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Southwest Virginia and the earliest remaining building and first structure erected specifically for Hollins; Main Building (1869), begun on the day that Virginia seceded from the Union and delayed in completion for eight years due to lack of materials and labor during the Civil War; Bradley Hall (1883), constructed as a chapel and named for Reverend Joshua A. Bradley, who played a vital role in Hollins' history by securing the property that would accommodate Virginia's first chartered women's college; West Building (1890, 1901), completed in three sections on the site of the Botetourt Springs Hotel; Botetourt Hall (1890), one of Virginia's rare octagonal structures; and Cocke Memorial Building (1908), originally constructed as a library to honor Charles Lewis Cocke, founder and president of Hollins from 1846 to 1901.
The Front Quadrangle did not receive its present form as the result of a preconceived plan but evolved over a period of almost eighty years. With the completion of Main, Hollins offered the "open quadrangle" advocated by Thomas Jefferson. The erection of Bradley, Botetourt, and Cocke created an enclosed quadrangle aided by Jeffersonian colonnades, which still exist except for those extending from the Charles Cocke Memorial Building.
Hollins College Quadrangle. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.
Meredith, Molly. "An Historical and Architectural Guide to Hollins College." M. L. S. thesis, Hollins College, Roanoke, VA, 1997.
Niederer, Frances J. Hollins College: An Illustrated History. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1973.
O'Neal, William B. Architecture in Virginia: An Official Guide to Four Centuries of Building in the Old Dominion. New York: Walker, 1968.
Vickery, Dorothy Scovil. Hollins College, 1842-1942: An Historical Sketch. Roanoke, VA: Hollins College, 1942.
Whitwell, W. L., and Lee W Winborne. The Architectural Heritage of the Roanoke Valley. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1982.