- Elbert Lee Trinkle was the 49th Governor of Virginia from 1922 to 1926. Born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia on March 12, 1876, Trinkle attended Hampden-Sydney College and studied law at the University of Virginia. Later, he was active in the Democratic Party and served in the State Senate before being elected governor.[1. “Virginia Governor Elbert Lee Trinkle,” National Governors Association, http://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_virginia/col2-content/main-content-list/title_trinkle_elbert.html.]
Former Govenor Trinkle remained an active supporter of the college and education in Virginia after his term, even serving as the President of the Virginia Board of Education in 1930. His popularity helped to push the successive administration to fund the new library named for him, which opened several years after his death in Richmond in 1939.[2. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 53.] Trinkle also has buildings named for him at the College of William and Mary and Radford University.[3. “Trinkle Hall,” College of William and Mary, http://www.wm.edu/offices/sadlerandcampuscenters/rooms/trinkle/index.php(accessed February, 2012).].[4. “Trinkle Hall,” Radford University, http://www.radford.edu/content/student-affairs/home/residential-life/residence-halls/trinkle-hall.html(accessed February, 2012).]
Construction of Trinkle Hall began in 1940 during President Combs’ extensive building program and was originally used as a library, hence its original name being Trinkle Library. [5. Crawley, 53.] It was built in response to overcrowding in Virginia Hall, the former library, and reportedly cost $250,000. An addition was built onto the library in 1960 and remained the school library until 1989 with the creation of the new Simpson Library. Trinkle was then repurposed into classrooms.
Trinkle Hall has a large rotunda and the seal of the university is embedded in the lobby floor. Along the railed balcony of the second floor that overlooks the lobby, there are glass display cases with exhibits of notable visitors to the university that serve as a reminder of the building’s former use as a library. Some of the rooms in the old library were so comfortably furnished that they were less helpful for studying than they should have been. Indeed, one room was so cozy that it was nicknamed the “drowsy room.”[6. Ibid.] Today Trinkle Hall is home to the Writing Center, the Departments of Classics, Philosophy, Religions, the Department of Mathematics, and the Fredericksburg campus Department of Education classes.