The buildings and grounds that composed the physical plant of the Staunton Military Academy started out modestly with the purchase by William and Willie Kable of four acres containing a residence, a smokehouse, and a stables. When the school closed in 1976, the Academy encompassed over 60 acres with a total of 17 majestic buildings.
Located on these 60 acres were seven tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a quarter-mile cinder track, two football fields, a parade ground, a cadet assembly area, a golf driving range and a flagpole area with a memorial to cadets that died in World War One. Inside the buildings were rooms for over 650 cadets, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a rifle range, a library, a post office, an armory, four family residences, 15 faculty apartments, 32 classrooms, and a mess hall capable of feeding over 400 people at a sitting.
The 60 acres that eventually comprised the grounds of SMA came together in the form of 30 parcels purchased over a period of 62 years. William H. Kable, the founder, purchased the first two parcels in 1884. In 1905, Staunton Military Academy, Inc. (SMA) purchased the next parcel. Between then and 1920, SMA purchased 10 additional parcels. William G. Kable, William H. Kable’s son, personally purchased 10 parcels for the use of the school between 1909 and 1919. With the exception of the land that the Commandant’s house had been built on, these parcels were transferred to SMA upon his death in 1920. Between 1920 and 1946, SMA purchased an additional 7 parcels including the land under the Commandant’s house.
The 17 buildings in 1976 were the last of a total of 38 buildings that graced the Academy over the years. Some of the earlier buildings burned to the ground, others were removed to make way for newer buildings or were razed at the end of their useful life, and a few just disappeared without any evidence as to why.
This chapter documents the growth of the academy grounds and the acquisition/construction of the buildings in an approximate chronological order. Buildings are presented by their original names with any other names given afterward provided in the write-ups. If no name was assigned to the building originally, a name is assigned in the write-up based on the first known use of the building or structure. Each write-up follows that building from construction/acquisition (as documentation allows) to either its demise or present day. (Note: Present day in this case is what existed on the old academy grounds in March of 2014.) In addition, the history associated with three fields and two structures is provided. Lastly, information on one structure and one building that were announced but never built is presented at the end.
The Alby House
William Kable purchased the house built in 1875 by Mr. J. W. Alby on April 16th 1884 for $8040. Kable used the three-story brick structure as both a personal residence and a dormitory for his fledging school. A kitchen and servant quarters occupied the first floor. The second floor, with its main access from a large stairway and porch that faced Prospect Street, contained the Kable family residence. The third floor housed the boarding students.
Sometime between the initial purchase and the start of the 1888 school session, a three story extension, called the Wing, was added on the east side of the building. The first floor of this extension housed a dining room that sat approximately 50 people. The second and third floors contained rooms for cadets and faculty. To the north of this extension, a new kitchen and pantry were constructed. By inference, the kitchen on the first floor of the house would have been abandoned and the equipment moved into the new structure.
In addition, with the construction of this extension, the Kable family moved their residence to third floor of the main building and the second floor became a parlor and a library for the cadets. When the First Mess Hall was constructed in 1903, the dining room became known as the small dining room and served the faculty and their guests. This extension was demolished in 1912 as part of the construction of West Barracks.
Around the same time, the east facing porch was enclosed and another enclosed porch was added above it. (Note: Research points to the family of W. G. Kable residing in the second floor of the house and the family of Thomas H. Russell occupying the third floor during this time.) In 1917 the east facing enclosed porches on both floors were removed.
In 1920, after the death of W.G. Kable, his widow moved from the house and into town allowing the rearrangement of the second and third floors of the house into Administration offices. The offices of the President, Secretary, and Treasurer were relocated into the second floor spaces. The third floor contained the Headmaster’s, Post Adjutant’s, and the Purchasing Agent’s offices. The building was renamed the Administration Building at that time.
In 1926, two rooms in the first floor of the building were remodeled to house the offices of the Kablegram. Prior to this, the Kablegram offices were housed in the YMCA building which was demolished that year to make way for Memorial Hall.
The building received a facelift in 1929 with the west side of the building being redone with new red brick. Then, in 1930, the Kablegram office was cut in two with the end facing South Barracks being converted into a ladies’ room.
By 1932, the building had been modified again. The top floor was once again a residence and the second (main floor) housed the Superintendent’s, Headmaster’s, and Treasurer’s offices. This is how the building continued in use until the closing of the school in 1976. In 1979, the building was officially renamed the Kable House, granted landmark status, and placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Today the building is used by MBC as the Student Life & Career Development Department.
The Classroom Building
Shortly after Kable completed the purchase of the Alby Property, he let a contract for $3,000 to construct a classroom building on the southern part of the property. The building was wood frame construction and contained a 30X46 assembly room, 2 large classrooms, 2 laboratories, a reception room, and two cloak rooms. A coal-fired furnace provided steam to heat the building. This building was destroyed by the fire of November 21, 1904.
The Grounds – 1884
In December of 1884, Captain Kable purchased a 10-acre field of pastureland for use as an athletic field. This parcel sat north of the school and across Prospect Street. Following the convention of the day, this field became known to all as Kable Field. In 1888, with the adoption of a military format, the field also became known as the Parade Ground.
By 1911, the school had built a large wooden covered viewing stand at the northeast corner of the field behind the baseball field which faced southwest. In 1925, a concrete block wall was erected around the perimeter of the land. The field was remodeled in 1927 with the addition of a quarter mile long drained cinder track. Also, the baseball field was moved to the southern end of the property and realigned in a northwesterly direction. Behind the new diamond a set of concrete bleachers were constructed into the hillside. The wooden stands were removed at that time.
The field is still in use today by Mary Baldwin College for sports and as a parade ground. It is known as the Physical Activities Center.
In 1887, Kable expanded the school by building the first cadet barracks. The building was a three story wood structure with an expanded first floor. A combination Gymnasium/Amory occupied the first floor with cadet rooms on the two floors above. Modern for its day, the rooms had gas lighting, steam heat, and washstands in each room with running water. Also, there were bathing rooms with hot and cold running water. An article detailing the commencement exercises in June of 1888 listed 55 boarding pupils. The building was destroyed by the fire of November 21, 1904.
In 1887, after the construction of the Cadet Barracks, retaining walls were installed on the sloping hillside to the east of the Kable home and the ground graded flat. This area became known initially as the plaza and functioned as the cadet assembly. By 1912, the area was covered by asphalt and the took on the name “The Asphalt.” The area is used today as a parking lot by Mary Baldwin College.
First Mess Hall
During the Summer of 1903, the first building to carry the title of Mess Hall was erected. The kitchen and pantry on the north side of the wing of the Kable residence were demolished and a new three-story wood frame building was constructed in their place. The first floor of this building housed a 150-seat mess hall. The second and third floors contained 10 rooms for cadets and faculty. Covered porches ran along the East side of the building on all floors. On the north end, in a wing that extended west, a new two-story wood frame kitchen and pantry was built. This building was constructed in anticipation of the expansion of the Corps of Cadets that would occur with the second cadet barracks. The building survived the November 21, 1904 fire.
Between 1904 and 1908, probably in conjunction with the construction of South Barracks, an extension was added on the west side of the mess hall. This brought the seating capacity up to 350.
In 1912, as a part of the construction of West Barracks, the building was jacked up and rolled across the plaza to the east side. Here it was placed on a new foundation and the second and third floors expanded to encompass the footprint of the first floor. A covered porch was added to the southeast side of the building. Also, the designation of the building changed from the Mess Hall to the Infirmary.
In 1921, after the construction of a cadet hospital on the north side of the Skinner House, the building took on a new designation of East Barracks. The basement was converted into the school supply room and the old mess hall became the band practice room.
After the construction of Kable Hall in 1931, cadets moved out of the building and the upper floors were taken over by the staff and faculty as apartments. An information room was added on the first floor and a room provided as an auxiliary guardroom.
A fire destroyed the building on February 12, 1933.
Shower & Toilet Building
The 1903 SMA catalog mentions that new bathrooms and closets were being erected. The bathrooms were to be outfitted with the latest shower-bath apparatus, have steam-heated rooms, with attached dressing rooms. The closets were to be built of brick with absolutely sanitary plumbing and running water.
There is no mention of where these buildings were located, but the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a building north of the mess hall that was not present in 1899. The 1904 SMA catalog contains a picture of the interior of the shower room.
There is no information as to when these buildings were removed, but by 1914, they no longer appeared on the insurance maps.
Second Cadet Barracks
The Second Cadet Barracks was completed in early October of 1904. Little is known of this building or its location as no pictures of it have ever been found. A picture of the Corps of Cadets in a hollow square formation on page 54 of the 1904 yearbook shows what appears to be a foundation outline laid out in lime on the plaza directly across from the Kable residence. The only other information on the building is in the newspaper reports of the November 21, 1904 fire that destroyed it. The article describes the building as a great five-story barracks. Since it burned so readily, it was most likely a wood structure. The newspaper account also states that the devastating fire started in the upper floors of this barracks.
On March 11, 1905, less than four months after the fire that destroyed both barracks and the classroom building at the Academy, ground was broken for The Barracks, the building that would define the Academy until its closing. The first block was laid on March 18th and the last block laid the first week of September. To avoid the risk of another devastating fire, the building construction used brick and concrete for the walls, stone for the sills and lintels, and steel for the ceilings. Over 1,500,000 bricks were used in the construction along with five train car loads of Kentucky Blue Stone for the sills and lintels. The only wood used in the construction was maple hard wood for the floors and the balcony walkways on the second and third floor that surrounded the open interior quadrangle. Construction was completed for the September 20th opening day of school.
Modern and up to date, the Barracks sported electric and gas lighting, steam heat, indoor toilets on each floor, showers, and a swimming pool. Built in the style of the barracks at the Citadel in Charleston, SC, the building had exterior dimensions of 170 feet by 145 feet. Inside, an open quadrangle measuring 115 feet by 75 feet provided room for all cadet formations. Covered walkways on each floor surrounded the quadrangle with three stairways providing access to all levels. A ten foot retaining wall was located east of the building and held back the hillside that was not yet owned by the school.
The basement under the quadrangle contained a 25 foot by 25 foot swimming pool graduated in depth from 3 to 6 feet. Next to the swimming pool was a bathing room housing 30 showerheads. Separated by a block firewall from these cadet amenities were three boilers. Two of these boilers produced steam for the building heat and the third produced hot water for the swimming pool, the showers, and the bathroom sinks. The area of the basement north of the boiler room contained 3 laboratories and 5 classrooms. The basement area to the west contained four large classrooms and a 2000 square foot gymnasium that saw double duty as a dance hall. These rooms had large windows that brought in abundant light during the day. In total, there were 13 classrooms in the basement.
The first floor had 25 cadet rooms with doors opening onto the quadrangle, 4 classrooms, and a 2000 square foot study hall that doubled as the school’s Assembly Hall. The second floor contained 44 cadet rooms and a 1600 square foot classroom. The third floor contained 47 cadet rooms, a guardroom located in the northeast corner, and the school library. The guardroom had an exterior door opening onto a suspended walkway that led to the upper plaza.
There were two toilet rooms on each of the first and second floors and a single toilet room on the third floor. Each toilet room had tiled walls and terrazzo floors.
In 1913, with the construction of West Barracks (later known as The Mess Hall), the building’s designation was changed from The Barracks to South Barracks. Also in 1913, with the construction of the Natatorium on the north edge of the property, the swimming pool was converted to a coal bin, and the showers relocated next to the toilet rooms. The boiler used for the heating of the water for the showers and the swimming pool was moved to the new Natatorium.
In 1920, the Barracks heating and hot water system was connected to the new central plant and the boilers beneath the quadrangle abandoned.
A sixth toilet room was added to the third floor in 1923. Also in 1923, the walkway from the third floor guardroom was removed, the doorway sealed up, and the room converted into a cadet room.
The hillside to the east of the barracks was landscaped in 1927 and the 10-foot retaining wall removed to add ventilation and light to the lower floors.
In 1929 the concrete covering the Quadrangle was removed and the old boilers taken out. The space was converted into storage and a trash burner was installed. The quadrangle floor was reinstalled using steel reinforced concrete in a black and red checkerboard pattern. The trash burner was removed sometime in the early 1960s.
South Barracks was torn down in 1979.
After the devastating fire of November 1904, a one-story frame structure was erected on the site of the first cadet barracks. No information has been found as to what this structure was originally used for, though most likely it served as the cadet gym and armory.
After the South Barracks was completed, this structure was rolled across the plaza to the north end of the property. The western end of this building was then outfitted as the cadet laundry. The eastern end housed the school carpenter shop and a stables.
This building was torn down in 1918 to make way for North Barracks.
First Entry Gate
Sometime between 1891 and 1899, Pleasant Street, now Kable Street, was built following an existing driveway from Winchester Street, now Coalter Avenue, to the eastern edge of the Academy. Captain Kable built the first entry gate to the Academy where this road entered the grounds. Though pictures of it do not appear until the 1911 yearbook, the arched entry was most likely built in 1907. This was the same time that a gate was built at the entrance to the service road leading to South Barracks from Prospect Street. The arch resembled the Sally Port entryway into South Barracks and parapets similar to those on the barracks topped the structure. The entry way also had the additional significance of changing the approach to the academy from the front door of the Kable House (off of Prospect Street) to the Plaza from Pleasant Street.
The entry was removed sometime around 1917.
In Oct of 1909, William G. Kable purchased the four acres directly north of the school grounds from Julius Prufer for $8,000.00. This land would provide the room for the expansion of the major academy buildings for the next 25 years. Along with the purchase of the land came a house that became known as the YMCA building.
The SMA Chapter of the YMCA formed in 1908 and grew to more than 200 members by 1918. An article on the 1916 Yearbook states that “The essential work of the Association during the past year has been characterized by a spirit of loyalty and enthusiasm.” Membership began dropping after the death of William G. Kable. By 1924, all mention of the YMCA at SMA had disappeared from the Kablegrams and the yearbooks.
An article in the January 24, 1925 issue of the Kablegram calls the building the “Old YMCA.” The building at that time housed a music studio, storage of musical instruments, offices of the Kablegram, and was used as an emergency barracks.
The building was demolished in 1925 to make way for the construction of Memorial Hall.
Building East of Old Stables
There is no documentation as to the use of this single story rectangular building. Nor are there any pictures of it. The building first shows up on the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, but had disappeared by the survey used for the 1949 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.
Dry Cleaning Shack
Sometime between 1909 and 1914, a small shed was built against the retaining wall near South Barracks to house the contract dry cleaning representative. The building does not appear on the 1909 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map but does appear on the 1914 Map. The building was rebuilt and enlarged over the years serving the needs of the expanding Corps of Cadets until the school closed in 1976. The building was razed in 1979.
Though the exact date of its construction is not known, the Chemistry building was probably added around 1910. It does not appear on the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1909 and one photo of the 1912 Corps (most likely taken in late 1911) shows it as a standalone building. In 1912, West Barracks was constructed up to the south and west sides of the building.
The building still stands and houses the Business Offices of Mary Baldwin College.
House at 239 Pleasant Street
In May of 1912, William G. Kable purchased the house and property at 239 Pleasant Street that adjoined the northeastern edge of the Plaza. The house was razed shortly after purchase and the first Mess Hall was rolled to the property.
In 1912 a separate Natatorium, or swimming pool, was constructed at SMA to replace the swimming pool in the basement of South Barracks. The local newspapers described it as the largest in the state outside of Richmond. The building was constructed of concrete blocks, had a standing seam metal roof, and multiple large windows to admit light. The building also had showers and dressing rooms. The pool measured 60 X 37 feet, was graduated from a depth of 3 feet to 7 feet, and had a modern jumping board and two spring boards. Modern for its time, the water was heated and the building had steam heat.
The school demolished the building and pool in 1931 to make way for Kable Hall.
West Barracks, or The Mess Hall as it became known in later years, was constructed in 1912 to replace the old wooden mess hall. The construction was of concrete block in Neo-Classical architecture style. Adorned with fluted columns topped by Corinthian capitals, the southwest corner touched the Kable House. The north end wrapped around the Chemistry building and extended west.
The building contained a mess hall that seated 400, a separate small dining room, a large kitchen and pantry, and offices on the first floor. Meals were served family style with platters of food being delivered by uniformed waiters. Three faculty apartments and cadets rooms occupied the second floor. Junior School cadets lived in these cadet rooms.
Sometime between 1914 and 1921, an extension to the mess hall was added to the west with a large stairway joining the two. In 1927, the washrooms in the cadet area on the second floor were remodeled. In 1934, the Junior School cadets were moved to the remodeled Hospital attached to the Skinner House and the second floor of West Barracks was remodeled to house the Infirmary. At this time the building stopped being referred to as West Barracks and became simply known as The Mess Hall. Waiter service ended in the mess hall with a remodel in 1964 that brought cafeteria-style service to SMA.
The mess hall part of the building is still in use by Mary Baldwin College as the Student Activities Center. The upper floors house the College’s Alumni Office.
Building East of Natatorium
Sometime between 1914 and 1921, a wood frame building was constructed just east of the swimming pool. Initially, this building was used for classrooms. After additional classrooms were outfitted in the barracks east of East Barracks, the building was used as the band practice room. No pictures are known to exist of this building. The building was razed in 1931 to make way for Kable Hall.
Between 1914 and the survey taken for the 1921 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, a small building was built on the northwestern edge of the school property. The building is labeled as being the “Magazine”. No pictures of the building exist and no evidence of the building remains.
The Skinner House
SMA purchased the property and house built in 1865 by Col. James Skinner for $23,000 on 2/5/1915. This data of construction made this house the oldest structure on the Academy grounds. The initial use of the house is unknown.
In 1918, an addition was added to the rear of the house for use as the Academy infirmary. In the Spring of 1921, construction started on an large wing off the edge of the addition to expand the Infirmary to a cadet hospital. The School also constructed multiple tennis courts on the land below the hospital during the 1920’s and 1930’s.
In the summer of 1934, both original addition and the added wing were remodeled to house Academy’s Junior School. These younger cadets moved into their new quarters in the fall of 1934. The building remained the Junior School until the fall of 1966 when Tullidge Hall opened.
Both the original addition and the wing were torn down in the fall of 1966. The original Skinner house was remodeled and became the quarters of the Assistant Superintendent until the school closed in 1976.
The building still stands today and houses the offices of MBC’s Adult Degree Program.
The Commandant’s House
Colonel W. G. Kable constructed the Commandant’s House, or “Benbreagh” as it was named by the first resident, Colonel Thomas Russell, in 1916. The name Benbreagh means “house on the hill” in Gaelic. Built in Colonial Revival style, it was the first and only family residence built on SMA property. The only documented improvement to the property was the construction of the cobblestone wall around the north and west sides in 1926.
The building remained the property of W. G. Kable until his death in July of 1920 and then ownership passed to his sister, Margaret Russell, and her heirs. SMA purchased the building from the estate of Margaret Russell in 1946 and used it as the Superintendent’s Quarters until the closing of the school in 1976. The building is currently the residence of the President of Mary Baldwin College.
Constructed in 1919, North Barracks dominated the upper portion of the school with its three story Corinthian columns and large clock set in the gable facing the cadet assembly area. At six stories tall, the building towered above all of the other structures on the academy grounds. With the central power plant smoke stack attached to the north end of the building and rising three stories above the roof, it was the tallest building ever built in Staunton.
The ground floor of the building housed a large gymnasium with 20-foot ceilings, dressing rooms, and storage rooms. The floor of the gymnasium could be converted into an assembly hall seating 1,600. A mezzanine surrounded three sides of the gymnasium at the second-story level. Doors on the south end of the mezzanine allowed access to the school armory that was buried below the front entrance to the building.
The third floor of the building, which was accessed directly from the cadet assembly area, housed a post office, a cadet social room, the school library, five classrooms, and a physical laboratory. The fourth through sixth floors, accessed by two stairways on each side of the south entrance, were built with an open quadrangle. These floors contained showers, washrooms, and 55 cadet rooms. Initially, only returning cadets were housed in the barracks.
In 1926, two of the cadet rooms on the fourth floor were remodeled into a single faculty apartment. In 1932, the barracks was designated as the recruit, a.k.a. “Rat”, barracks. Also in 1932, the military department moved into the two classrooms on the northeast end of the third floor. The three remaining classrooms were converted into a biology laboratory in 1934.
A translucent roof was installed over the open quadrangle in 1961.
The building was demolished in 1982.
The Central Heating Plant for SMA was built concurrently with North Barracks in 1919. The east end of the building contained 4 coal-fired boilers that provided steam for heat and hot water to North Barracks, the Natatorium, and West Barracks. A large coal storage bin sat east of the building with small tracks embedded in the ground for coal carts.
The cadet laundry was relocated to the west end of the building from the building built in 1905.
South Barracks and the Administration building were connected to the heating plant shortly thereafter. In 1927, the lines were extended to the Cadet Hospital. As other buildings were added to SMA, the steam and hot water lines were extended to those buildings.
The space once occupied by the laundry is used today by the Mary Baldwin Drama Department as a costume shop. The central heating plant is still in operation. The small tracks used to transport coal are still imbedded in the concrete of the coal bin. The coal bin itself is used as a storage area for Mary Baldwin Grounds Maintenance.
Houses at 229, 231, & 235 Pleasant Street
In December of 1919, the school purchased the properties at 235, 231, and 229 Pleasant Street.
The Cadet Officers Club assumed occupancy of the house located on the property at 235 Pleasant Street. The fire of February 1933 heavily damaged the building and it was razed shortly thereafter.
The house at 231 Pleasant Street was used as a faculty apartment for many years. In 1929, this building became the SMA Music Studio. At a later date, it became the Day Student building. It was razed sometime in the early 1980’s during the construction of the new entry driveway by MBC.
The house at 229 Pleasant Street was also used initially as a faculty apartment. In 1929, the building was remodeled and the SMA Music School located there. In later years, it became known simply as the Band Shack. It also was razed during the construction of the new entry driveway by MBC.
In 1920, the Academy constructed a wood frame building for the Post Chaplain. It sat northwest of East Barracks and was approximately where the SMA museum is located in the old Supply Room.
By 1932 the Chaplain had relocated into the offices on the South End of West Barracks and the building was remodeled into two classrooms. In 1933, after the fire that destroyed the old East Barracks and the Mathematics Building, this building housed the supply room and the cadet canteen. Shortly thereafter, the cadet canteen was moved into the first floor of Memorial Hall and the Supply Room moved into the Social Room of North Barracks. The building was razed in early 1934.
In early 1920 a large flagpole was installed on the highest point of the Academy in the open field just south of the Commandant’s house. This area of the Academy thus gained the name of Flagpole Hill.
Up to that point, the Stars and Stripes had been raised every morning on a flagpole above South Barracks The new flagpole allowed the location of the Academy to be seen from any point in Staunton.
On each side of the Flagpole, two cast iron Revolutionary era cannons sat ready with their muzzles facing east. Concrete benches allowed visitors to gaze across the Plaza at all the major building of the school. With a slight turn of their heads, they could look east across the valley toward Waynesboro and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.
The Corps of Cadets erected a large stone memorial in 1921 that contained a plaque listing the names of former cadets that lost their lives in World War I. At the same time, a 2.44 inch Naval Gun was placed on the east side of the flagpole with its muzzle facing east.
The Revolutionary cannons were removed in 1942 and donated to the local World War II scrap metal drive.
The flagpole still stands and the flags of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia fly there every day. The Naval Gun still stands as a sentinel with its muzzle forever facing east. The area is known today as Cannon Hill.
Stables existed on the Academy grounds after the combination Laundry/Stables building built in 1905 was razed in 1919. An article in the February 1930 Kablegram talks of a fire in the “Old Stables” behind the Laundry. However, there is no documentation concerning when it was built or razed. The stables do not appear on the 1929 or the 1949 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. There are no known pictures of the stables and no evidence of the building remains.
In 1921, the school erected a wood frame building designated as the Mathematics Building to the east of East Barracks (a.k.a. First Mess Hall). No pictures of the building are known to exist.
After the construction of Memorial Hall in 1925, the building was remodeled into a barracks capable of housing 20 cadets. The building was destroyed in a fire on February 12, 1933.
In the spring of 1925, SMA announced plans a three-story building to replace the old Y.M.C.A. building. 120 feet long and 55 feet wide with three large rooms on the first floor dedicated to dancing, music, and recreation such as boxing. Only North Barracks surpassed it for size and scope. The second floor had 12 classrooms and a faculty apartment while a gymnasium, used to supplement the large gym in North Barracks, occupied the third floor.
The faculty apartment on the second floor was a two-story wing on the northwestern edge of the building. Also, offices for the cadet newspaper, the Kablegram, were planned for a small loft area that constituted a fourth floor.
The Kablegram staff was provided offices in the Administration Building and the space allocated was instead built out as a language laboratory. The Mathematics Department and the Foreign Languages Department moved into the building in December of 1925. In early 1926, the building was dedicated and named Memorial Hall in honor of former cadets and faculty killed in World War I.
In 1941, the cadet canteen moved into the southern-most large room on the first floor and the other first floor large rooms were converted into multiple classrooms and a wood shop. A photographic dark room was added several years after that in a large storage room at the bottom of the stairs.
The faculty apartment was demolished during a 1982 remodel by Mary Baldwin College that added an elevator to the rear of the building.
The building was renamed Deming Hall after Mary Baldwin College purchased the campus and is used today by the Art and Drama Departments.
In 1925, an article in the Kablegram announced that a rifle range would be built over the summer. The article detailed that the wood frame building would be below and to the east of the laundry. No direct pictures exist of the building and no evidence of the building remains today.
During the summer of 1926, the Academy built a two story Guard Room in the center of the quadrangle of South Barracks. The building was Octagonal in shape with two doors on opposite sides and a winding stairway to the second floor. A parapet roof topped the building in a style that matched the roof line of South Barracks. In 1965 a pitched roof was added with asphalt shingles covering the roof.
In the fall of 1966, the purpose of the building changed from housing the guards to the quarters of the Brigade and First Battalion Commanders and the building was often referred to as “The Hut.” A total of 17 cadets lived in the building over the years until it reverted back to being Guard Shack in the fall of 1974.
The building was razed in 1979.
On April 1, 1927, the Academy made its last major land purchase with the acquisition of the 9.5 acres known as Echols field. This purchase of the bowl shaped land brought the Academy grounds to Coalter Street on the East. By 1929 the bottom of the bowl had been graded and a football field laid out The long expanse of green grass gave the cadets room to practice map reading, hit golf balls, shoot skeet, and ride horses. Col. Russell, in a Kablegram article in 1932 talked of the school building a concrete stadium at the bottom of the bowl.
The land is known today as the Soccer Practice Field by MBC.
The Athletic Building
The Athletic Storage Building was built the summer of 1927 in conjunction with the revamping of the football field and the addition of a new cinder track on Kable Field. The building was placed on the East side of Prospect Street just north of Memorial Hall. The building housed athletic equipment and the dismantled wooden bleachers.
The building was razed at an unknown time. No trace of the building exists nor are there any pictures of the building known to exist.
House at 227 Pleasant Street
The Academy purchased the property and house at 227 Pleasant Street on May 18, 1928. Initially fitted out as a cadet barracks, the house became a faculty apartment in later years.
The house was torn down during the construction of the new entry driveway by MBC. No pictures of the house are known to exist.
SMA announced the plans for Kable Hall on September 17, 1931. The building honored the memory of both William H. Kable, the founder, and William G. Kable, his son, past President of the Academy, and the man credited with the vision that turned the school from a small boarding school into a major institution. The building officially opened for occupancy in September of 1932.
Built of steel, concrete, and Georgia marble, the ground floor of the building contained a swimming pool, shower room, drying room, and 600 lockers. The second through fourth floors contained 54 cadet rooms and 2 faculty suites. A rifle range occupied the fifth floor.
The building quickly took on the nickname of “The Hotel” by the “old boys” chosen to be its first residents. Only cadets with at least two years at the Academy could be chosen to reside in the new structure.
Today, Mary Baldwin College uses the second through fourth floors of the building as a dormitory for VWIL cadets. The swimming pool is drained and abandoned. The rifle range is unused.
During the summer of 1931, the Academy constructed a three-story block building, approximately thirty by sixty feet, behind Memorial Hall near the Laundry. The structure was designated the Work Shop. It housed facilities for making concrete blocks for other buildings on the first floor, the carpenter’s workshop and storage room on the second floor, and rooms for kitchen staff on the third floor.
In 1934, the building was remodeled with the first floor being outfitted into a machine shop for cadets studying science. The second floor was converted into a large studio for art and the study of industrial design.
Sometime later, the building’s first floor was converted to a storage room and the second floor housed the football team’s equipment. The third floor rooms were converted into cadet rooms and one faculty apartment. It was renamed West Barracks with this change.
The building still exists and is used by MBC to house the Physical Plant Offices and Shops.
House at 204 Coalter Street
The Academy completed the purchase of the buildings and property on the north side of Pleasant Street (now Kable Street) on June 2, 1942. The large house, which actually faced Coalter Street, and separate carriage house, were divided into multiple Faculty apartments and used by the Academy as such until the closing in 1976.
The buildings still exist and are used today by MBC as dorms.
Wieland Memorial Gate
Wieland Memorial Gate was constructed in 1947 in the memory of former cadet John T. Wieland, SMA class of 1935, who was a Navy pilot killed in World War II. The gate still stands today.
The SMA Supply room was built as an underground building in 1947. From that ime until the school closed in 1976, cadets would descend into the building to get purchase clothing, toilet articles, pencils, notepaper, and everything else they needed to live on the Hill.
The building still exists today and houses the SMA-VWIL museum and archives. The outer east wall of the building is used to display the honorees of The SMA Alumni Association and VWIL. Also, the old gates of South Barracks and the concrete eagle from the front of North Barracks are displayed there.
In late 1965, the school announced that a new building would be built for the Junior School to replace the old wooden frame structure built in 1918 that had served first as the cadet hospital and then as the junior school since 1934. When the Corps returned from Christmas break in January of 1966, work was already underway on the structure.
The three-story gray brick building contained classrooms and recreational rooms in the basement. Additional classrooms, the principal’s quarters, a faculty apartment, and visitor’s quarters occupied the first floor. The second and third floors contained cadet rooms for 85 cadets, showers, and toilet rooms.
The building was completed in September 1966 in time for the opening of the 1966-67 school session. The building is used today as a dormitory for VWIL cadets.
In September of 1927, the school announced plans to construct a concrete stadium using the natural bowl shape of Echols field. No further information was ever published about this project. The stadium was not built and conceptual drawings or plans have never been found.
In September of 1931, along with the announcement of Kable Hall, the school announced plans to construct a new East Barracks in place of the wood frame structure that carried that name and dated back to 1903. The building was to be a massive five-story structure that would have stood taller than North Barracks and been twice its footprint.
The basement of the building was to contain a rifle range and storage for a second mess hall. The first floor was to have a combination mess hall/study hall with 20-foot ceilings, a bakery, a kitchen, and four classrooms. There would be two mezzanines, with one on each end. The north mezzanine would have had rooms to house kitchen staff and a shower room for the kitchen staff. The southern mezzanine would have had the cadet post office (freeing up room in North Barracks for the expansion of the library), four classrooms, and a band gallery open to the mess hall below. Floors two thru four would have had 43 cadet rooms each with a gallery open to the mess hall below. The addition of the building would haveallowed the expansion of the Corps to over 800 cadets.
The building was never built. Only conceptual floor plans were ever produced.