The Resource Virginia Military Institute, architectural drawings and plans, (architectural drawing)

Virginia Military Institute, architectural drawings and plans, (architectural drawing)

Virginia Military Institute, architectural drawings and plans, 1918-1984
Virginia Military Institute, architectural drawings and plans
Inclusive dates
  • The Carneal and Johnston Virginia Military Institute (VMI) architectural drawings and plans consist of 721 sheets. This represents approximately 56 separate commissions undertaken by the firm between 1918 and 1984 at the Lexington, Virginia, military school. Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-1892), a New York born architect, originally planned VMI's barracks, professors' residences and other buildings during the mid 19th century. VMI was the first American college campus to be executed wholly in the Gothic Revival style. The bulk of the Carneal and Johnston material covers 1920 through 1976 and shows major renovations to existing buildings or new construction on the campus. The drawings depict elevations, floor plans, details, sections, and the like for VMI structures. Additionally, a few topographic and plat style maps are housed in the collection. The majority, if not all, of the correspondence from the Carneal and Johnston firm is no longer extant
  • The drawings are identified by their title. The date given on the container list is taken from the earliest date on the drawing and does not represent any revisions or addenda which were added at a later time. Many of the drawing sets are noted as "As Built" plans, meaning that they show some aspect of the built work in its final form
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • William Leigh Carneal, Jr. and James Markam Ambler Johnston began their firm around 1908 after spending a year working independently out of the same office space. The firm went on to become one of the most prolific and long–established architectural practices in Virginia.
  • Carneal, born in Richmond on October 24, 1881, graduated in 1903 from the Virginia Military Institute. He began his architectural practice around 1906 following a three year stint as a clerk in his father's company, Sitterding-Carneal-Davis Company. Johnston, born in Rockbridge County on May 18, 1885, studied engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Cornell University before moving to Richmond in 1906. He worked at the Richmond Cedar Works for one year until he began his own architectural practice.
  • From 1908 until 1950, the firm of Carneal and Johnston (the firm was known as Carneal, Johnston, and Wright from 1928 through 1945, when Oscar Pendleton Wright was a partner) helped to mold the architectural environment of central Virginia, especially Richmond. Responsible for over 1300 buildings, Carneal and Johnston practiced in a wide range of project types, from the mundane to the monumental. While they did execute some residential buildings, the firm generated a far greater number of public, commercial, and industrial structures. Some of their most notable structures include First Virginia Regiment Armory (1913), the Virginia Mutual Building (1919-1921), the Virginia State Office Building (1922-1923), Saint Joseph's Villa (thirteen buildings, 1930-1931), the Virginia War Memorial (1932), and various structures on the campuses of Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) and Virginia Military Institute.
  • The firm survived following the founders' retirements in the 1950s. Subsequent owners were Miles Cary Johnston, James Beck, and Raymond Browder who sold the firm to employees Carlos H. Costas, W. Fred Hughes III, and Kenneth E. Bunch in 1984. In 1999, the surviving firm of Carneal and Johnston merged with Ballou Justice & Upton, Architects, and ceased to exist as an architectural firm.
Cataloging source
Virginia Military Institute, architectural drawings and plans, (architectural drawing)
Finding aid is arranged by project title.
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
114 x 89 cm. and smaller.
721 sheets
Governing access note
Access to architectural and engineering plans and drawings of current governmental buildings requires written authorization from the appropriate authority within the agency occupying the facility. Patrons requesting access to VMI materials should contact the Office of Deputy Superintendent of Finance & Administration, Smith Hall, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA 24450, (540) 464-7321 or see the Archives Research Services staff for further information
Immediate source of acquisition
Ballou, Justice, Upton, Architects
Other physical details
Mostly linen and vellum, some blueprints, some Diazoprints, some tracing paper
Representative fraction of scale
Scale : Various.
Reproduction note
Blueprints, Diazo prints.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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