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Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB)

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1839–1846, Robert Cary Long Jr.; Thomas R. Blackburn, associate; later additions. 514 E. Beverley St.
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)
  • (Photograph by Dell Upton)
  • (Photograph by Dell Upton)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)

Like its near neighbor, the Western State Hospital (AU27), VSDB was established, in 1838, during a reform era of providing dignified environments for those with special needs. This care is reflected in these buildings, which are among the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Virginia. Long, a prominent Baltimore architect, worked at both institutions at about the same time. The role of Staunton architect Blackburn at VSDB is not clear, but he may have designed the monumental six-column Doric entrance portico, as he did for the Western State Hospital just one year later. Although the leafy VSDB campus has been expanded, originally the enormous Main Hall contained the entire school. In Main's plan, a hall connects the central section with the lateral wings and rear sections.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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