Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Front Quad

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Institution Name: Roanoke College
Original/Historic Place Name: Front Lawn
Location on Campus: in front of historic range of buildings
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1848original layout design Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Small-scale features:
Lawn and benches (site of commencements and inaugurations).
Other characteristics:
Site of Founders Tree (Bittle tulip poplar planted in 1870s and other historic trees); man-made depression from brick works dug on campus (mid-nineteenth century).
ca. 1848outdoor space (originally a baseball field)
ca. 1848-present(2006)arboretum (College Arboretum and grounds)
ca. 2004-present (2007)outdoor space (part of College Arboretum, site of formal gatherings, i.e. commencements and inaugurations)

Significance: education, landscape
Landmark designation:
National RegisterMain Campus Complex, Roanoke College (1973)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Front Quad was part of the original tract of land the Trustees purchased for the campus in 1848. It has served formally and informally ever since as a place of gatherings and quiet solitude. The gently sloping depression was created in the nineteenth century as the result of brickworks set up in the Quad to produce the bricks for two campus buildings.

It has served as the Arboretum and the site of the Founder's Tree--the Bittle Poplar, and it remains as the location for College commencements and special convocations.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Eisenberg, William E. The First Hundred Years, Roanoke College, 1842-1942. Salem, VA: Trustees of Roanoke College, 1942.

Miller, Mark F. Dear Old Roanoke, A Sesquicentennial Portrait, 1842-1992. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1992.

Traditions: Roanoke College Yesterday and Today. Salem, VA: Roanoke College, 1981.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Main Campus Complex, Roanoke College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ Park Service, 1973.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Unknown
—details: Archives, Roanoke College.
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