Ruffner Hall

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Ruffner Hall
Ruffner Hall.jpg
The exterior of Ruffner Hall in March 2014.
Ruffner Hall is located in Virginia
Ruffner Hall
Location in Virginia
Former namesCollege Building
Alternative namesRotunda
General information
Architectural styleJeffersonian
Address201 High Street
Town or cityFarmville, Virginia
CountryUnited States
Coordinates37°18′4.25″N 78°23′45″W / 37.3011806°N 78.39583°W / 37.3011806; -78.39583Coordinates: 37°18′4.25″N 78°23′45″W / 37.3011806°N 78.39583°W / 37.3011806; -78.39583
Current tenantsLongwood University
Named forWilliam Henry Ruffner
GroundbreakingDecember 12, 2002 (reconstruction)[2]
Construction started1839 (original)[1]
Completed1907 (original)[1]
OpenedApril 23, 2005 (reconstruction)[3]
DestroyedApril 24, 2001 (original)[4]
Cost$17.9 million
($23 million in 2018 dollars[5])
OwnerLongwood University
Technical details
Floor area83,143 sq ft (7,724.2 m2)[1]
Design and construction
Architecture firmKuntz & Associates of Alexandria (reconstruction)[1]
Main contractorEnglish Construction Company of Lynchburg (reconstruction)

Ruffner Hall is the name given to a building on the campus of Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. The original Ruffner Hall was built in 1839 and gradually expanded along with the school over several decades, to eventually include its iconic Rotunda, until its completion in 1907. The building was eventually destroyed in a fire on April 24, 2001. The then-Longwood College began to rebuild the structure, and it was reopened just before the fourth anniversary of the fire, on April 23, 2005. The new Ruffner, in contrast to the old, has a basement to increase instructional space.[1] The building is sometimes informally referred to as the Rotunda; in fact, Ruffner Hall includes two wings on either side of the Rotunda.


Historically, Ruffner Hall was the college campus, prior to the school expanding west and south in the mid-twentieth century, including serving as both residence hall and classrooms. In the closing days of the American Civil War, High Street and the then-Farmville Female College saw both Confederate forces escaping the Battle of Sailor's Creek towards Appomattox Court House, and the Union Army following them.[6]

At the time of what became known as the "Great Fire of 2001," Ruffner Hall was undergoing an extensive renovation, and there were no people or historically significant artifacts in the building. The fire also severely damaged surrounding buildings, leading to the demolition and reconstruction of next-door Grainger Hall, and renovations of four dormitories.[7]

One noted architectural feature is a slate front step at the front door of the building, which had an indentation worn into it from thousands of students walking across it over decades. Following the fire, the damaged step was located, and a replica was installed in the reconstructed Ruffner Hall.[7]

Jeanne d'Arc in 2005.


The centerpiece of the Ruffner Hall rotunda is a reproduction of a sculpture of Joan of Arc by Henri Chapu, titled Joan of Arc Listening to the Voices, but popularly known as "Joanie on the Stony." The Rotunda dome itself contains four lunettes as well as paintings of significant figures in the history of education in Virginia: Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, William Henry Ruffner, and Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Longwood to rededicate new Ruffner Hall and Rotunda in April 23 ceremony" (Press release). Longwood University. April 6, 2005. Archived from the original on November 16, 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  2. ^ "Longwood celebrates groundbreaking for flagship Ruffner Hall" (Press release). Longwood University. December 12, 2002. Archived from the original on September 1, 2003. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Rededication of Ruffner Hall and the Rotunda" (Press release). Longwood University. April 23, 2005. Archived from the original on November 16, 2005. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "Fire at Longwood College-- Historic Ruffner Hall" (Press release). Longwood University. April 25, 2001. Archived from the original on August 4, 2002. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  6. ^ Jordan, James. "Once Upon a Time in the Rotunda: The Presence of the Past". Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "The Great Fire of 2001: The Blaze, the Aftermath & The Recovery - A Timeline". Longwood University. Retrieved May 11, 2015.