Named for John Hampden and Algernon Sydney, 17th-century champions of English liberty, this prestigious rural Presbyterian college has operated continuously since 1776. The campus in Prince Edward County is distinguished by an important collection of collegiate structures dating from the first half of the 19th century. The earliest is Cushing Hall, a four-story dormitory begun in 1822. Aligned with it across a vale are buildings erected by designer-contractor Dabney Cosby, Sr. to serve Union Theological Seminary, an associated institution (later moved to Richmond). These include two brick residences: Penshurst (1830) and Middlecourt (1829), and between them, Venable Hall (1824-1831), a large brick structure with a central pavilion and cupola. Inside Venable is a two-story chapel. A primary landmark in the Hampden-Sydney College Historic District is the Greek Revival College Church, built ca. 1860 to the design of the preacher-architect Robert Lewis Dabney, who used Italianate motifs for Westmerton (1856), his own residence here.
A 2019 update to the Hampden-Sydney College Historic District nomination provided additional documentation and evaluation to better manage the treatment and interpretation of the historic district and the individual resources that comprise it, building upon information included in the original 1969 district nomination.
[NRHP Accepted: 4/23/2019]
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