Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

072-0049 Belmead

Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 2004

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 05/13/1969

NRHP Listing Date 11/12/1969

NRHP Reference Number 69000270

New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis designed the grand romantic mansion at Belmead for Philip St. George Cocke in 1845. Although its pinnacles and other decorative elements have been removed, the house remains one of the country’s preeminent examples of a Gothic Revival villa. Cocke served as a president of the Virginia Agricultural Society and was a board member of Virginia Military Institute, where he was instrumental in having A.J. Davis design the new complex. In 1893 Belmead was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Edward de Vaux Morrell of Philadelphia, who founded here in 1895 St. Emma’s Industrial and Agricultural School for African American male youth. Renamed St. Emma Military Academy in 1945, the school continued until closing in 1972. Belmead remains the property of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, a Philadelphia corporation which leases it to the privately operated Blessed Sacrament High School.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: September 21, 2021