• St. John's Chapel, Green Springs

    Green Springs


David Watson Writes a Memorandum Criticizing Thomas Jeffersons Designs for the University of Virginia, 1819

[David Watson, Memorandum, 18 March 1819, Watson Family Papers, Miscellaneous Memoranda, MSS 530, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library:]

1819 Mar: 18th. About the 1st inst: I was at the site of the University of Virga. The hands(negros) were then engaged in leveling the ground. Two pavillions (as Mr.Jefferson calls them) are raised & covered in, with an extensive range ofdormitories between them, intended to be covered with flat roofs--The site is beautiful; but the buildings appear to me to [be] too small. The pavillions,two stories high, are not sufficiently roomy for the convenient accommodationof a genteel family, & no plan yet of attaching gardens or back grounds tothem. The dormitories are to small for convenience, & being on a level withthe street in front, & a fine footway, under the projection of the terraceor flat roof of dormitories, will be too publick for study. I saw no convenient place for keeping wood, & the plan of erecting boarding houses was not decided on, & appeared to me to [be] attended with many difficulties. The lod[g]ings for the students being all on the ground, will require the buildingsto be spread over too extensive a Surfice, & so much roof in proportion tothe room, will be very expensive--The lowness of the windows in thedormitories, will re[n]der the rooms both publick & unsafe….

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Green Springs National Historic Landmark District is privately owned, includes no public facilities, but is visible from public highways. It sits astride Route 15 in Louisa County, Virginia.