Hampden House

Hampden House

College Road
Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943

Completed by 1858, Hampden House was first occupied by Professor L. L. Holladay and his wife. Like most faculty on campus at that time, Professor Holladay kept students in his home. Those students boarding with him must have lived in considerable luxury among the fineries that complemented the house.

In the 1890's, the college physician, Dr. Horace Lacy, his wife, and her niece moved in. Mrs. Lacy and her adopted daughter, Minnie, started a boarding house, since there was no College-run dining hall. It was reputed to be the most desirable of the fourteen or so boarding houses on campus during the late 1800's and early 1900's--a place where "hospitality in the best southern tradition never failed and thoughtfulness always prevailed." (The last of the boarding houses on campus died out after World War II.)

As the College's Alumni headquarters and guest house, Hampden House still serves as a center for hospitality on the Hill. Here is a place for small meetings, formal gatherings, and quiet retreats. The guest rooms house visiting dignitaries.

Notes on architecture. The columns of Hampden House are made of brick. Three-pitch windows make for handsome lines and an abundance of natural light in the front rooms. Each section can be raised or lowered independently of the others.

The technique known as "penciling" was employed in the brickwork. If you look closely between the bricks on the front, there are white lines in the mortar. Each brick was actually outlined with paint in order to make it stand out. (That technique was also used in Graham and Venable, although it is not as noticeable on those buildings because of the outside exposure.)