Washington and Lee University

Address: Historic Main Campus
City: Lexington
State: VA
Zip: 24450
Phone: 540-463-8460
Website: http://chapelapps.wlu.edu

Washington and Lee University is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation. It began as Augusta Academy in 1749 but by 1803 was located in Lexington and named Liberty Hall Academy. In 1796, when it was struggling with serious financial difficulties, George Washington came to the rescue with a gift of a hundred shares of stock in the James River Company, which still contributes to the modern university’s operating budget. As an expression of their gratitude, the Trustees promptly renamed the school Washington Academy. In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, the defeated General Robert E. Lee was offered the position of the president of the institution. The college opened in September of 1865 with four professors and “a thin platoon of students.” Lee’s next two years were spent putting the college on a sound financial footing; doubling the curriculum and establishing the first School of Journalism in the country, as well as the Schools of Engineering and of Law, and partially restoring the Library. As the endowment grew, the Trustees went to work on the buildings and grounds. The first priority was new academic buildings to accommodate the burgeoning faculty and student body. In 1867, a new chapel was authorized, and a resolution was adopted for the construction of a new President’s House, as soon as the funds could be found. By May of 1869, the new house was ready, and the Lees moved in. General Lee died in that house sixteen months later, and was buried in the chapel which he had helped to design. After his death, the name of the college was changed again, to Washington and Lee. The Garden Club of Virginia’s work includes Lee Chapel plantings and a brick arrival terrace enhancing Lee Chapel. .


Washington and Lee University

Year: 1933
Landscape Architect: Charles F. Gillette

Lee Chapel planting

Year: 1977
Landscape Architect: Griswold, Winters and Swain

Half-circle brick wall, steps and terrace

Year: 1992
Landscape Architect: Rudy J. Favretti

Lee House, 19th century gardens and grounds