Ball Hall

Ball Hall, 1941


In 1708, Joseph Ball and Mary Johnson welcomed their daughter into the world. By the time Mary Ball was 13, both her parents had passed away and she was placed in the care of her guardian, Colonel Eskridge, and spent the next few years in joint care with her half-sister, Elizabeth  Bonum.[1. “Mary Washington House”]  Mary also had a half-brother Joseph Ball who she spent time with in London.[2. “Mary Washington House”] While in London, she met Augustine Washington, the future father of George Washington.  They were married in 1730 and had six children of which George was the oldest. She lived to see George elected president, but died shortly after he was inaguarated.[3. Edward Alvey, Jr., History of Mary Washington College 1908-1972 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974), 195.] There is no authentic painting of Mary Washington which is why her face does not appear on campus.[4. Ibid.]

Tri-Unit Construction, Madison, Ball, and Custis halls, 1935

Building History

Formally known as Mary Ball Hall, the residence hall began construction in 1933.[5. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History,1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 32-33.] Ball Hall is the main section of the tri-unit including Madison Hall and Custis Hall, but Ball Hall is best known for its opulent rotunda, parlors, and spiral staricase in the lobby.[6. “Ball Hall,” Residence Life, (accessed February 21, 2012).] In addition, Ball Hall houses the Joan of Arc statue, one of four replicas given to former women’s colleges.[7. “Joan of Arc,” James Madison University, (accessed April 19,2012).] The residence hall currently houses 105 women and is situated on Ball Circle. Ball Circle originally functioned as a generic athletic field, but now serves as the space for graduation in May and the main outdoor space for student activities on campus.[8. Crawley, 32.]

Ball Hall, March 2012

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