Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Bradley Hall

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Institution Name: Hollins University
Original/Historic Place Name: Bradley Chapel
Location on Campus: 8055 Quadrangle Ln.
Date(s) of Construction:
1883original construction G. A. Sedon and George W. Etter
Designer: G. A. Sedon and George W. Etter
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Victorian, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: solid brick masonry
Walls: solid brick masonry
Roof: standing seam terne metal over wood framing and planking
ca. 1883classrooms (music)
ca. 1883chapel
ca. 1958-present (2006)auditorium (Talmadge Recital Hall, renovated 1977)
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (English)

Erected in 1883 to provide a separate chapel, the building was named Bradley Chapel during the 1930s in memory of Reverend Joshua Bradley. A Baptist minister who in 1842 purchased the defunct Roanoke Female Seminary and founded the coeducational Valley Union Seminary, Bradley laid the foundation for what would in 1852 become the Female Seminary at Botetourt Springs and in 1856 the Hollins Institute. Although Bradley left within three years of his school's establishment, he played a vital role in Hollins' history by acquiring the site that would later accommodate Virginia's first chartered women's college. In addition to the chapel area on the second floor, the building housed ten music rooms on the ground floor. The auditorium was kept heated day and night since students came for private devotions in the early morning hours and school worship services were held daily after supper. In the 1880s, Hollins had four regular chaplains--Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Episcopalian--and an occasional Methodist minister. The placement of the chapel tightened further the enclosure effect of the Front Quadrangle. Early lithographs show the boarded "covered way" that ran between the buildings, allowing students no excuse for avoiding classes or chapel services during inclement weather.

With completion of the Jessie Ball duPont Chapel in 1958, the Bradley Chapel auditorium was converted to a small recital hall, and the building was renamed Bradley Hall. With alumnae support, the recital hall was renovated in 1977 and named for Arthur Talmadge, a music professor who taught at Hollins from 1939 to 1969, developing a concert series that brought renowned musicians to campus and assisting in the design of the duPont Chapel and the re-design of Bradley Hall. The original ceiling and windows of the chapel auditorium were retained for Talmadge Recital Hall. One further distinction of Bradley Hall is that it was in a music room in this building that the Hollins song "The Green and the Gold" was composed by two students: Almah "Pie" McConihay, Class of 1910, who wrote the music, and Phoebe Hunter, Class of 1909, who contributed the lyrics.


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