Charles M. Robinson

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For the author, see Charles M. Robinson III; for the journalist and urban planner in Missouri, see Charles Mulford Robinson
Charles M. Robinson
Born (1867-03-03)March 3, 1867
Hamilton, Virginia
Died August 20, 1932(1932-08-20) (aged 65)
Norfolk, Virginia
Nationality American
Buildings Newport News Public Library, Thomas Jefferson High School
Projects Master plans for James Madison University and Radford University

Charles Morrison Robinson (March 3, 1867 – August 20, 1932), most commonly known as Charles M. Robinson, was an American architect. He worked in Altoona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1889 to 1906 and in Richmond, Virginia from 1906 until the time of his death in 1932. He is most remembered as a prolific designer of educational buildings in Virginia, including public schools in Richmond and throughout Virginia, and university buildings for James Madison University, College of William and Mary, Radford University, Virginia State University, and the University of Richmond. He was also the public school architect of the Richmond Public Schools from 1910 to 1929. Many of his works have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]:13,22

Early years[edit]

Robinson was born in Hamilton, Virginia in Loudoun County, Virginia, the son of architect James T. Robinson. He apprenticed with D.S. Hopkins, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and John K. Peebles of Richmond, Virginia. In 1889, Robinson formed the architectural firm of Smith & Robinson with G. T. Smith in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In 1891, Robinson married Altoona native, Annie Custer. They had two children, Charles Custer Robinson (born 1893) and Miriam Robinson (born September 1895). At the time of the 1900 United States Census, Robinson was living at 1910 West Chestnut Avenue in Altoona. He had two live-in servants, Bridget Sheehan and Mattie Jones, at that time.[2] In 1901, Robinson moved his architectural practice from Altoona to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1]:22

Richmond years[edit]

In 1906, Robinson moved his practice and family to Richmond, Virginia. He served as the supervising architect for the Richmond Public Schools from 1910 to 1929.[3] He remained in Richmond for the remainder of his professional career. At the time of the 1910 United States Census, Robinson was living at 828 Park Avenue in Richmond with his wife, Annie C. Robinson, their two children, and his parents. He also had a live-in servant, Etta Scruggs, and a live-in butler, Fred W. Smith.[4]

At the time of the 1920 United States Census, Robinson was living in Richmond with his wife and his mother.[5]

In the early 1930s, Robinson's health began failing. He was hospitalized in Norfolk, Virginia in August 1932 and died there following an operation.[6][7]

Legacy[edit]

A number of his buildings survive and are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[8][9] In 2006, The Virginian-Pilot called him one of "Virginia's most prolific architects."[6] Mimi Sadler, a historic architect in Richmond, noted at the time that Robinson not only "cranked out a lot of school buildings, but they were all high quality and many have become landmarks."[6]

Selected works[edit]

Robinson's Wilson Hall at James Madison University.
Arlington Arts Center, fka Clarendon School, in Arlington, Virginia.
Old Lexington High School, built 1908, designed by Robinson
Robinson's Monroe Hall at University of Mary Washington.

Robinson's works include:

College and university buildings[edit]

Public school buildings[edit]

Other buildings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Public Schools of Richmond MPS". National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Census entry for Charles M. Robinson (architect, born March 1867 in Virginia) and family. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Altoona Ward 9, Blair, Pennsylvania; Roll: T623_1381; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 67.
  3. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Public Schools of Richmond, Virginia, 1869–1930". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. pp. 2–3, 21. 
  4. ^ Census entry for Charles M. Robinson (architect, age 43) and family. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Richmond Lee Ward, Richmond (Independent City), Virginia; Roll: T624_1644; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 1219; FHL Number: 1375657.
  5. ^ Census entry for Charles M. Robinson (architect, age 52) and family. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Richmond Lee Ward, Richmond (Independent City), Virginia; Roll: T625_1911; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 107; Image: 139.
  6. ^ a b c d e Phyllis Speidell (August 20, 2006). "did you know ... school's architect was well-known in his time?". The Virginian-Pilot. 
  7. ^ a b "The Charles M. Robinson Story". Charles M. Robinson, A Virginia Architectural History. 
  8. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  9. ^ Tony Stein (August 30, 1992). "HIS CREATIONS ARE STILL PRESENT 60 YEARS LATER". Chesapeake Clipper. 
  10. ^ "From The Halls Of JMU". Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA). October 17, 1994. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Charles M. Robinson's Colleges". charlesmrobinson.com. 
  12. ^ "VIRGINIA STARTS GREAT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION". The Sun, Baltimore, Md. October 9, 1909. 
  13. ^ "Work On Normal School Begun". The Sun, Baltimore, Md. August 27, 1910. 
  14. ^ "Sealed Proposals". The Daily Star. July 9, 1910. 
  15. ^ a b c Calder Loth, Virginia. Dept. of Historic Resources (1999). The Virginia landmarks register. University Press of Virginia. p. 423. 
  16. ^ "HISTORIC COLUMBIA, LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: BEAM DORMITORY 4201 MAIN ST.". The State (South Carolina). May 23, 2007. 
  17. ^ Loth, The Virginia landmarks register, p. 444.
  18. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the John B. Cary School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  19. ^ NRHP nom for Appomattox HD, page 9
  20. ^ Loth, The Virginia landmarks register, p. 429.
  21. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Highland Park Public School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Charles M. Robinson's Public Schools". charlesmrobinson.com. 
  23. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Anna P. Bolling Junior High School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  24. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Clarendon School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  25. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  26. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Orange High School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  27. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Shea Terrace Elementary School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  28. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Springfield School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  29. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Nathaniel Bacon School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  30. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Fifth Avenue Historic District". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  31. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for The Matthew Whaley School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  32. ^ George Paaswell (June 17, 1990). "SCHOOL RETIRED AFTER 68 YEARS". Daily Press – Newport News, Va. 
  33. ^ Ida Kay Jordan (July 4, 1993). "ARCHITECT'S RELATIVES COME TO SEE WHAT'S INSIDE THE BOX". The Virginian-Pilot. 
  34. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Louisa High School". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  35. ^ "Prince William County Historic Resources, Bennett School". 
  36. ^ Roy Proctor (October 22, 1995). "NEW LIFE FOR A LANDMARK RICHMOND'S SHOWPLACE IS SHINING AGAIN". Richmond Times – Dispatch, Richmond, Va. 
  37. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Newport News Library". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  38. ^ "Charles M. Robinson's Hospitals". charlesmrobinson.com. 
  39. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Grace Hospital". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  40. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Main Street Banking Historic District". Virginia Department of Historical Resoures. 
  41. ^ "Building Intelligence". American architect and architecture, Volume 59. February 1898. p. xii. 


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