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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

137-0013 Wren Building (Old College Yard, College of William and Mary)

Wren Building (Old College Yard, College of William and Mary)
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

See link(s) below to view additional documentation.

VLR Listing Date 09/09/1969

NRHP Listing Date 10/15/1966

NHL Listing Date 10/09/1960

NPS property number 66000929

The main building of the College of William & Mary, the nation’s second oldest seat of higher learning, the Wren Building was begun in 1695 and completed four years later. Hugh Jones in his Present State of Virginia (1724) stated that the building was “first modelled by Sir Christopher Wren, adapted to the nature of the country by the gentlemen there.” It was gutted by fire in 1705 and rebuilt in modified form within the original walls. It again burned in 1859 and 1862, but in each case the walls survived and were incorporated in the rebuildings. The Wren Building’s 1705 exterior appearance is well-documented, and it was to that form that it was returned during the restoration of 1928-31 directed by Colonial Williamsburg architects. Defining a forecourt are the President’s House (1732-33) and the Brafferton, built in 1723 as an Indian school. William and Mary was chartered in 1693 and is now a state-owned university; the Old College Yard is the centerpiece of the Williamsburg Historic District.

1985 NHL Nomination


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

Updated March 19, 2019