Nestled in the Rockbridge County countryside, the well-known community of Lexington boasts a rich history and outstanding architectural variety. Building types in the Lexington Historic District range from Shenandoah Valley vernacular forms through sophisticated examples of Romantic Revivalism. Lending luster are works by the nationally prominent architects Thomas U. Walter, Alexander Jackson Davis, and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. The town was authorized in 1778, and was a prospering county seat by the 1790s. Growth was stimulated by the establishment of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. Their adjoining campuses constitute one of America’s celebrated architectural assemblages. Scattered through the shady residential areas of the district is a delightful mix of dwelling types. Prominent representatives are the Federal Reid-White-Philbin House of 1821, and the Presbyterian Manse, an archetypal Gothic Revival villa. The Lexington Historic District is now protected by historic zoning, with the commercial area having undergone extensive rehabilitation spearheaded by the Historic Lexington Foundation.
Additional documentation was submitted to the National Register in 2019 to update the 1971-1972 Lexington Historic District nomination. The purpose of this additional documentation was to provide more current information about the district’s physical condition and history, including a complete inventory of previously and newly surveyed properties in the district (including the historic districts of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute). The boundaries for the Lexington Historic District were not changed as a result of this update.
[NRHP Approved: 4/15/2019]
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