If Walls Could Talk - Giving to UVA

If Walls Could Talk

A s stewards of the Jeffersonian Grounds, we must care for a wide variety of 200-year-old buildings and landscapes. Our shared history compels us to invest now to preserve UVA’s rich legacy for future generations. Stories abound within the buildings and spaces of the Academical Village. The longer we postpone maintenance, the more likely we are to see buildings and landmarks being closed or vacated for repair, and the more expensive those repairs will be. Only through continued use of the historic district as residential, academic, and social space will we have our own stories to tell—for the next 200 years.

From 1825, when UVA classes were first held, until 1865, there were as many as 140 enslaved African-Americans living and working on Grounds. The basements below some of the student rooms on the Lawn were actually slave quarters. The University’s bicentennial commemoration will include recognition of the historical role of slavery at UVA.

Jefferson’s concept for landscaping the Lawn only indicated “grass & trees,” and his original intention for the south end of the Lawn—once an open vista—also remains vague. Cabell Hall, completed in 1898, was one of three buildings designed for the south end of the Lawn by architect Stanford White. It was named in honor of Joseph C. Cabell, a member of both the Virginia legislature and the UVA Board of Visitors, and Jefferson’s ally as he sought to win state approval and funding for the University.

Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative

Woody Wingfield