During the first years of its existence, Richmond College was located in Powhatan County (as Dunlora Academy), and Spring Farm north of Richmond (as the Virginia Baptist Seminary). Shortly after moving to a Federal-period mansion on Lombardy Street in Richmond, the institution was incorporated as Richmond College in 1840. There the school saw the many milestones of a young college: the conferment of its first degrees, the formation of a law school, organization of its first fraternity, building an endowment, winning its first football game. There the college also weathered the crises of repeated financial strain and temporarily closing its doors during the Civil War.
It was there, too, that a young professor named Frederic William Boatwright would begin his life’s work of transforming Richmond College into a model Southern educational institution.
Boatwright, elected president of Richmond College by the Board of Trustees in 1894, spent some fifteen years planning, lobbying, fundraising, and reforming the curriculum — all the while developing his vision for a Greater Richmond College. This vision hinged upon his firm belief that education for Southern women must be of equal quality and availability as for men. By 1909 Boatwright had succeeded in persuading the Trustees that a new, expanded campus would be required to fulfill the College’s goals — and his vision to offer equal educational opportunities to Southern women.
On February 8, 1910, President Boatwright organized a trip for the Board of Trustees to an ideal site for the new campus — Westhampton Park, a former amusement park just three miles west of the city. While the Trustees were at first dubious, Boatwright’s enthusiasm and charisma persuaded them of the site’s value and its appropriateness as a home for co-ordinate colleges. Shortly after, in an article in the Virginia Baptist Religious Herald announcing the college’s future move, Boatwright described the landscape — the hills, trees and lake that would compose the campus — and finished his article with the following: “Amid such surroundings we plan to build for the centuries. May our twin colleges soon crown the western heights above the river and the lake.”
Deriving its title from Boatwright’s inspiring words and built in celebration of a century at the new campus, this website offers a window into the move of Richmond College and the founding of Westhampton College through publications, maps, images, and other materials. Assembled from a number of different archives and collections, these items have been described, digitized and organized to make the site easy to navigate and explore the time surrounding the campus’ relocation. See buildings that have changed substantially in purpose and shape through the decades, those that have not, and designs and plans for portions of buildings and the campus that have never been built. Meet the first graduates of the new colleges, in their own words, and learn from where generations of graduates have come. Through photographs, drawings and documents, explore the evolution and development of Greater Richmond College as it was planned and built "for the centuries."