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Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center (Blackstone Female Institute, Blackstone College for Girls)

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Blackstone Female Institute, Blackstone College for Girls
1922, Frederick A. Bishop; 1926 additions; 1977 renovation. 707 4th St.

In the period following the Civil War, Methodists adopted the education of women as one of their main objectives. In 1894, they opened this former female institute. After two major fires, the main building, now the assembly center, was constructed in 1922. Following a long-standing tradition, especially for female institutes, all functions were contained within one sheltered and chaperoned building. The school, set in a secluded but not too remote location, was perceived as ideal for girls. The three-story thirty-bay Classical Revival brick main building has a pedimented portico with paired Doric columns above an arcaded first-floor entrance. The porticoed left wing and the long hyphen connecting it to the main building were added a few years later. The construction of nearby Fort Pickett (NW13) during World War II and the influx of so many young men sounded the death knell for the formerly quiet school. The college was converted into apartments for servicemen, then briefly reopened in 1945. But low enrollment and reactivation of Fort Pickett for the Korean War precipitated the final closure. In 1955 the Virginia Methodist Assembly acquired the building and it is now a church assembly center.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center (Blackstone Female Institute, Blackstone College for Girls)", [Blackstone, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 298-299.

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