Project Info

Presbyterian Orphans Home, Lynchburg, VA by HistoryTech, LLC

Presbyterian Orphans Home is significant as a well-executed, “cottage style” orphanage designed and built in the Georgian Revival architectural style. The Presbyterian Orphans Home’s period of significance begins in 1911, when the school relocated to its present site, and ends in 1959, when the construction of DeWitt Cottage completed the primary “horseshoe” arc of buildings that comprise the main campus.The Presbyterian Orphans Home meets National Register Criterion A because of its early 20th century development as one of the initial “cottage style” orphanages in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The utilization of this method of operating an orphanage had a significant impact on social history, as it organized children into relatively small family units, with a “cottage mother” in each building, and an atmosphere more like the homes that they left, or, in some cases, never had. Promoted during the White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children in 1909, this system was thought to transform young boys and girls into individuals who were far more likely to become productive members of society than those who were churned out of the larger “institutional style” orphanages that packed children into dormitories in mammoth buildings.In addition, the Presbyterian Orphans Home meets National Register Criterion C due to its intact collection of contributing buildings, which serve as an excellent example of the Georgian Revival style as executed by architects Lewis & Burnham and Clark & Crowe, and of the campus layout, which was designed by notable landscape architects Warren H. Manning and Charles F. Gillette.

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