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Fairfax Hall (Hotel Brandon)

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Hotel Brandon
1890, William M. Poindexter; 1920s alterations; 2001 renovation, Frazier Associates. 1101 Reservoir St.
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)

Set in a spacious picturesque lot in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking Waynesboro, this is one of the few surviving examples of the elegant Victorian railroad hotels constructed in the Valley. Poindexter of Washington, D.C., combined elements of Queen Anne and Shingle Style to give the hotel an undulating shingled facade wrapped with porches and nooks. A polygonal cupola crowns the central gabled section. The interior, which was furnished by Philip Brown, included rooms for two hundred guests. The hotel became the social hub of the community in the early twentieth century, drawing visitors for weddings, parties, and other events. The railroad sold the property in 1913 and the building was converted into the Brandon Institute, a small coeducational college. In 1920, it became Fairfax Hall, a preparatory school for girls and, later, a junior college. The third floor was added for additional dormitory rooms. A gymnasium designed by T. J. Collins and Son was constructed in the 1920s behind the main building. Since the school closed in 1975, the building has served several uses and in 2001 was renovated for affordable housing for the elderly and for events.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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