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.
Previous Page – – – – Next Page