Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall in the 1940s

Namesake

Virginia Hall finished construction in 1915 and is the second oldest residence hall on the University of Mary Washington campus.[1. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History,1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 10.] It was named after the Commonwealth of Virginia.Virginia was first founded in 1607 by British settlers at the site of Jamestown. Virginia came to hold the title of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776 when delegates at a convention in Williamsburg adopted the name after Virginia’s style of government.[2. “History,” Virginia.gov, http://portal.virginia.gov/government/state/history/ (accessed February 22, 2012).] Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also chose the title commonwealth after America’s declaration of independence from Great Britain. A commonwealth is defined as as a political unit or government “founded on law and united by compact or tacit agreement of the people for the common good,” or “one in which supreme authority is vested in the people.”[3. “Commonwealth,” Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commonwealth (accessed February 22, 2012).] The seal on the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia was not adopted until 1930, but was  first used in the 1830s.[4. “The Commonwealth of Virginia,” Virginia Tourism Corporation,http://www.kidscommonwealth.virginia.gov/factpack.pdf (accessed February 22, 2012).] Some interesting facts about Virginia are that the state beverage is milk, the state dog is the foxhound, and the square area of Virignia is approximately 41,000 miles.[5.  “The Commonwealth of Virginia,” Virginia Tourism Corporation,http://www.kidscommonwealth.virginia.gov/factpack.pdf (accessed February 22, 2012).]

Historic map of VA, courtesy of David Rumsey

Building History

Virginia Hall functioned much like Willard Hall in the first years of its existence. Like Willard Hall, it served as a space for administrative offices that would be later moved to Russell Hall and space for the library.[6. Crawley, 10.] In 1933, the H-shape Virginia Hall has today finished construction. is used solely as a residence hall.[7. Crawley, 32.] Also in the 1930s, it was tradition that every year for commencement, freshmen would make a “daisy chain” from flowers near the college.[8. Crawley, 38.] This chain would draped on the shoulders of all the degree candidates that year before it was hung on the portico at Virginia Hall.[9. Ibid.] It is a female-only residence hall and houses 183 women from all class years.[10. “Virginia Hall.” University of Mary Washington Residence Life. http://students.umw.edu/residencelife/housing-and-operations/first-year-residence-halls/virginia-hall/ (accessed April 29, 2012).]

Virginia Hall, March 2012

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