Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


College Church

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Institution Name: Hampden-Sydney College
Original/Historic Place Name: College Church
Location on Campus: College Rd.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1860original construction Dabney, Robert Lewis
2002addition Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
1860-present (2007)chapel (Presbyterian Church for the college and community)

Significance: architecture, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterHampden-Sydney College Historic District (1970)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Robert Louis Dabney was a significant amateur architect, basing his work on pattern books such as those of A.J. Davis. He used the design of College Church facade (distyle in muris) in two other churches in Virginia. His interior design was based on his theological principles: pulpit at the center (for emphasis on the Word of God); no musical instruments; no religious symbolism; and no altar. Dabney may also have been the architect of the Gothic Revival Briery Church, south of campus. The building is basically unchanged from its original construction. The sanctuary pews were replaced in 1950, and a sensitive addition was built in 2002.

I. Bibliographic sources:

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.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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Last update: November 2006