Founded as the Blue Ridge Industrial School in 1910, this institution was a pioneering effort of the Episcopal Church to provide education to isolated communities in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mountain children would be trained in the agricultural and industrial arts while receiving Christian education. Girls were the initial students. In 1915 boys were also admitted. Later, as the isolated character of the area receded, Blue Ridge became a private school. Its major buildings include the Bishop Robert A. Gibson Memorial Chapel ( PI48.1) (1929–1932, Cram and Ferguson, with Stanislaw Makielski), constructed from uncut and uncoursed local fieldstone in a nominally Gothic idiom, with rose windows in the east and west facades and lancet windows along the sides. Ralph Adams Cram donated the design and Makielski, a Charlottesville architect and teacher at the university, supervised the construction. Much of the labor came from local workmen and from the students. Simplicity is the keynote of the Cram design. The building has been slowly decorated over the years. Immediately adjacent to the north of the chapel is the Martha Bagby Battle (formerly Headmaster's) House ( PI48.2) (1931–1934, Stanislaw Makielski), constructed of native fieldstone and in an English Gothic Revival mode. Again, student and local workmen built the structure.
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Blue Ridge School
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