Virginia State SealDHR logo


Ryland Hall, University of Richmond.

In 1914 Richmond College relocated from a city block on the then-edge of Richmond (todayís Fan neighborhood) to a new campus six miles west, where a street car ended its run in a Henrico County suburb. In a park-like setting, its leaders opened the re-envisioned collegeís campus along with a separate Westhampton College for women. Together in 1920, the colleges were accredited as the University of Richmond. Ryland Hall, completed in 1913, anchored the new Richmond College. Designed by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram in the Collegiate Gothic style for which he was nationally known, the hall consists of two parallel wings, Robert Ryland and Charles Ryland halls, set apart by a covered connecting passageway (loggia). The building's character-defining Gothic Revival elements, as seen in six other Cram-designed buildings on campus, include leaded glass windows (with Gothic-style tracery), gable roof with slate shingles, asymmetrical design, and a cloistered arrangement with brick walkways. The building also features gargoyles in the form of owls, pelicans, and menís faces of varied expressions. The imposing scale of the buiding reflects the importance of the two Rylands to the schoolís development. Minister Robert Ryland was superintendent of Virginia Baptist Seminary, which in 1834 became Richmond College, with Ryland as its first president. Significantly, he broadened the schoolís educational mission, opening its doors to non-Baptist students. His nephew, Charles, was the collegeís librarian. In 1914, Robert Ryland Hall housed the schoolís administrative offices, including the presidentís, as well as conference and class rooms. The library was located in Charles Ryland Hall.