Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Charles L. Cocke Memorial Building; Administration Building

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Institution Name: Hollins University
Original/Historic Place Name: Charles L. Cocke Memorial Building
Location on Campus: 8036 Quadrangle Ln.
Date(s) of Construction:
1908original construction Frye & Chesterman
Designer: Frye & Chesterman (Lynchburg, VA)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: solid brick masonry
Walls: solid brick masonry
Roof: low sloped standing seam terne metal with integral concealed metal gutters over wood framing and planking
1908-1955other (offices and meeting rooms)
1955-present (2006)administration

The Charles L. Cocke Memorial Building, also known as the Administration Building, was built in 1908 as the Charles L. Cocke Memorial Library. Shortly after the death of President Cocke in 1901, students, faculty, alumnae, and friends established a building fund to construct a library in memory of Hollins' founder. At nineteen years of age, Charles Lewis Cocke stated his desire to devote his life to the higher education of women in the South, a goal that he fervently pursued at Hollins for fifty-five years. The library was completed in 1908, and Charles L. Cocke's daughter and succeeding president, Matty L. Cocke, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. It was a fitting memorial to one dedicated to the education of women and described by an alumna as "a man of books and thoughts." Charles L. Cocke exhorted his students to continue their studies after Hollins, "Read and study, young ladies, not the light literature of the day, but books that are books--books of thought, books of breadth and depth and grasp of meaning, that your powers may be still further disciplined, that your fund of knowledge may be enlarged, and your mental vision expanded." (Excerpted from Mary Williamson, "A Library Memorial to Charles L. Cocke" Spinster [1908])

A gymnasium and theatre originally occupied the building's ground floor, and the Euzelian and Euepian Literary Societies and Spinster yearbook staff were provided office space on the top floor. When Fishburn Library was built in 1955, the Cocke Memorial Library was renovated to house administrative and business offices. Portraits of John and Ann Halsey Hollins, the college's first benefactors, hang in the Charles L. Cocke Memorial Building. The building also houses the original cast iron Hollins Institute panels that served as risers to the old front steps of Main Building; the panels are around seven feet long and half an inch thick, weighing almost fifty pounds.


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.

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.


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Last update: November 2006