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St. Joseph's Villa

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1931, Carneal, Johnston and Wright. 8000 Brook Rd. (U.S. 1)

Father Timothy O'Brien founded an orphan asylum and school here in the 1830s. The collection of buildings now on the campus ranks among the most architecturally sophisticated ensembles in Henrico County. Carneal, Johnston and Wright drew upon a strain of Romanesque and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture that Charles D. Maginnis of Boston had promoted as suitable for Catholic churches and institutions. Maginnis was the Catholic architectural apostle and played a role similar to that of Ralph Adams Cram among Protestants. The Carneal architect obviously drew upon publications in designing the buildings. Constructed of yellow brick, the complex includes a towered chapel, large dormitories, and its own power plant. The chapel contains mosaics. The landscaping also bespeaks care in its strategically planted shade trees. A sunken area behind the campus marks the site of the Richmond-Ashland streetcar line. An early concrete pedestrian bridge still spans the sunken bed.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "St. Joseph's Villa", [Richmond, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 297-297.

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