The famous Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) was founded in 1868 through the efforts of Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, local agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to train the many former enslaved African Americans who had gathered in the area. Though begun with only fifteen students and two teachers, the institute prospered and was chartered as the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute in 1870. By 1874 Hampton was embellished with its modified Chateauesque main building, Virginia Hall (now Virginia-Cleveland Hall, pictured above), designed by Richard Morris Hunt and built by the students. Hunt also designed the plainer Academy Building, completed in 1882 after the original Academic Hall burned. The Romanesque Revival chapel with its bell tower, designed by J. C. Cady, was completed in 1886. Also on the grounds is the Mansion House, an early-19th-century plantation dwelling, now home of Hampton’s president. Wigwam, an 1878 dwelling, housed Native American students. Booker T. Washington was a Hampton alumnus.
The 1969 National Register of Historic Places boundaries for the Hampton Institute include the 200 acres historically associated with the institution. In 1974, the boundaries for the National Historic Landmark listing included only the 15 acres which contain the major buildings that are most associated with the origins of the institution. In 1976, the Virginia Landmarks Register boundaries were adjusted to match the NHL boundaries, but also to include the discontiguous Emancipation Oak and College cemetery.
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