You are here
Main Building, Southern Virginia University (Buena Vista Hotel, Southern Seminary)
Built as the Buena Vista Development Company's hotel in 1890, the Main Building is one of the best surviving examples of the exuberant Queen Anne hotels that land speculators used to host prospective clients. Its New Castle, Pennsylvania, architect built a number of hotels in the Valley, including one in Lexington. That hotel and most of the Valley hotels are now gone, but the Buena Vista hotel survived because when the boom collapsed shortly after the building's opening, it was taken over in 1901 by Southern Seminary. The building served as a junior college until 1996, when it was purchased by members of the Mormon Church for development as a four-year coeducational university. Three stories of curving, wraparound verandas, a central ogee-domed turret, side towers, large windows, and various roof angles make for a picturesque composition. The rich red color of the brick walls contrasts with the white trim of the wood. Located on a hill overlooking Buena Vista, the building is a key architectural landmark for the town.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.