The College of William and Mary

Main Building

Sir Christopher Wren
1705; other sources say 1695-99
By tradition, this academic building is attributed to the renown British architect, Sir Christopher Wren who was the architect for Saint Paul's Cathedral in London. This building has been destroyed by fire three times (in 1705, 1859 and 1862) and then rebuilt. According to the College of William and Mary web site, it is the oldest academic building in the United States still in use. (The College of William and Mary is the second oldest college in the United States--after Harvard University.) This building was included in the restoration of colonial Williamsburg.

The building is three and one-half stories with a roof with dormers and a tall cupola (with scaffolding during the restoration in these photographs). In later versions after the several fires, the basement was fully raised, more steps were added to the front portal, a chapel was added, and other minor changes were made.


The Brafferton Building and Walls

The 1693 charter of the College of William and Mary stipulated that it educate Native Americans for the church as clergymen or missionaries. The college built the Brafferton Building to the east of the Wren Building for its Indian School, which had erratic attendance and was discontinued by the end of the 18th century. The simple brick five-bay Georgian house (52 feet long by 34 feet deep) has been used as a classroom building and dining hall, although it is now used for offices.

Go to Williamsburg Architecture Index.

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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan