Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blackstone College for Girls

Blackstone College (1928)
Blackstone College for Girls

Location: Blackstone, Virginia, USA

Opened:  Received its charter from the Virginia state legislature on February 15, 1892 and opened its doors to students in 1894

Closed: 1950

The Blackstone Female Institute was established by the Farmville District of the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It began with six acres of land that were donated by the Blackstone Land Company--hence the college's name. The first session of the school included a grand total of six teachers, 29 boarders, and 42 day students.

From the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, who later acquired the campus property:

At the beginning of the school, the five year course covered the equivalent of the 8th grade and 4 years of high school. In addition to standard academic courses, the curriculum included 3 years of Bible studies, 2 years of educational psychology and 1 year of moral philosophy.

Enrollment peaked at nearly 500 before a fire in 1920 devastated the campus. While the structure was under construction the wing built in 1908 was also destroyed by fire. Because of the fires, the leaders of the Blackstone College for Girls were determined that the replacement building would be immune from fire. The date the buildings they had constructed out of concrete with little woodwork stand strong in good condition. The auditorium and gymnasium were added in 1926.

In 1933, part of the dining room was closed off to construct the present indoor swimming pool for the students. Today the pool is used by our many guests and the surrounding community.

Blackstone dormitory (1930)
In June, 1943, the college suspended operation for the duration of WWII. The school was converted into the Blackstone College Apartments for use by servicemen and their families. Classes resumed in 1945, but after several successful years, a dwindling enrollment and the reactivation of Camp Pickett for the Korean War forced the college to close in 1950. 

So in our inventory of how and why womyn's spaces are lost, file this one under militarism/Cold War.

Photos: College, dormitory

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