Prominent Virginia architect Charles M. Robinson (1867-1932), designer of numerous public schools and college buildings throughout the commonwealth, planned Williamsburg’s College Terrace Historic District during his tenure, from 1921 to 1931, as William & Mary’s college architect. Robinson developed W&M’s nationally influential 20th-century Georgian Revival campus, and his involvement with College Terrace began after W&M purchased 1,474 acres and part of the former Bright Farm by 1925 to accommodate burgeoning student enrollment. The college planned to offer housing for faculty and students adjacent to the campus. In 1928, Robinson prepared the plat for College Terrace, a subdivision of 38 lots for which W&M would be the developer and grantor. By the late 1930s, the college had constructed at least 16 dwellings, primarily to house professors and two fraternities. Robinson designed a model home for the subdivision and a “Dutch Colonial” dwelling. The latter style contributes significantly to the neighborhood’s look and feel (see example image above). Today, Dutch Revival architecture makes up approximately 24 percent of all styles found in the district. College Terrace Historic District is also important as a small-scale representation of national trends in the field of landscape architecture. Robinson, who had collaborated with esteemed landscape architect Charles F. Gillette on another project, incorporated into his rectilinear subdivision design City Beautiful elaborations such as landscaped median parks as well as design elements inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted’s ideas.
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