Virginia Military Institute: The Barracks-Jackson Arch

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Price: $49.95

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About this Print

The standard framed size of this print is 15-by-20 inches.
Larger versions of this print do not include framing.

The plans for the original VMI Barracks specified a quadrangle of Gothic design and were the result of a concept developed by the architect Alexander Jackson Davis and Francis Henney Smith, the first superintendent of VMI (1839-1890). The Barracks cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1851. Construction proceeded slowly because of lack of funding by the state and was halted in 1861 with the advent of the Civil War. In June 1864 the building was burned by Federal troops. In the late 1860’s it was reconstructed. The old Stonewall Jackson Hall, designed by VMI alumnus Isaac Eugene Alexander Rose, was constructed adjacent to the Barracks in 1896 and included the Stonewall Jackson Arch. In 1914 Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was retained to redesign the Barracks. His design called for the demolition of the non-Davis designed portion of the Barracks, with the exception of the Jackson Arch, and a return to the original concept of a complete quadrangle. Construction of this section was completed in 1923 with the Jackson Arch as an integral component. The Sentinel Box, seen through the arch in the courtyard, appears in a photograph from the early 1900’s and is thought to have existed almost from the beginning of the Institute. The statue of Jackson, designed and cast by VMI graduate, Moses Ezekiel was erected in 1912. The four guns of the old Cadet Battery stand in front of the Jackson statue and are known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These names were bestowed as they spoke a powerful message when fired by Rev. Capt. Pendleton’s command during the Civil War. The Jackson Arch, the guns, and the statue are physical evidence of VMI’s veneration of Jackson’s accomplishments on the field of battle. The true essence of Jackson’s spirit, however, is best expressed by his creed “YOU MAY BE WHATEVER YOU RESOLVE TO BE” engraved within the Jackson Arch and seen by every cadet as he enters the courtyard.

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