Historic District

The Davis & Elkins College campus includes six national register historic landmarks, four of which also comprise a National Historic District. For complete information, visit the National Register Listings.

Albert and Liberal Arts Halls

Listed 1979

Albert HallAlbert and Liberal Arts Halls were constructed in 1924-1926. At the time, they provided the “entirety” of academic buildings at the “new” campus on the former Halliehurst estate. Walter F. Martens, an architect from Charleston, W.Va., who also was involved in the construction of the State Executive Mansion, was appointed to devise an overall plan for the new Davis & Elkins College campus. The centerpieces of his plan were these two Georgian Revival Buildings which reveal a masterful use of the campus’s sloping terrain. The overall design of the buildings is Georgian with brick exteriors laid in a Flemish bond. Both buildings are highly symmetrical with ample natural light from large, multi-pane windows. Decorative elements include sidelights, fanlights, Corinthian Liberal Artspilasters, swags, inlaid castings of the College Seal, and stonework belt courses. Liberal Arts Hall is topped by a cupola. Albert Hall was originally named Science Hall, and was renamed as Albert Hall in honor of the late professor and Dean of the College, Dr. Charles Albert. Together with Halliehurst, these two buildings formed the entire campus for the next 30 years.


Listed individually 1970; Listed within Davis & Elkins National Historic Landmark District 1998

Graceland InnCompleted in 1893, Graceland is a stone mansion that, along with a 360-acre estate, served as the summer home of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. Enjoyed by two generations of the Davis family, the mansion was acquired in 1941 by the West Virginia Presbyterian Educational Fund, and, in 1945, the building and immediate grounds were presented to Davis & Elkins College. Until 1970 it was used for student housing. It has been completely restored and is now operated as an inn.

Graceland was named for Davis’s younger daughter, Grace, and was designed by Baldwin and Pennington, an architectural firm in Baltimore, Maryland. The firm was well-known during the time, and its many designs included Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad depots. Graceland is constructed of native timbers and native sandstone in Norman French style inspired by the Davis family’s visits to Europe. The interior is basically unchanged except for modern lighting and heating facilities and the furniture and interior decor. The two-story great hall dominates the interior, and includes a tiled fireplace surmounted by a wooden mantle supported by Corinthian columns as well as stained glass windows made by a workman from Tiffany. A 15' high reproduction mural of Blackwater Falls hangs above the fireplace. In the library,  a Biblical scene depicted in Dutch tiles forms the fireplace surround. In all, Graceland included at least 35 rooms for family use, and additional rooms for servants and storage. Most of these are guest rooms today.

Broad porches shelter the major entries to Graceland on the north and south, while smaller, simpler ones face the north side of the service wing. One of these now serves as a beautiful veranda for three-season dining outdoors.

A large octagonal tower projects from the southwestern corner and rises a full four stories in stone to an open air belvedere beneath a tall pyramidal roof. Much smaller, but nearly as tall, is a cylindrical frame turret that rises where the service wing meets the main block. The stone walls continue from the ground to the top of the second floor where the structure changes to wood frame with wood shingle exterior. The roof is covered in Vermont red slate. For more information and to plan your visit to Graceland, go to www.gracelandinn.com.


Listed individually 1982; Listed within the Davis & Elkins National Historic Landmark District 1998

HalliehurstHalliehurst, designed by New York architect Charles T. Mott, was built in 1890 for U.S. Senator Stephen Benton Elkins, a lawyer, businessman, and politician. Its size and elaborate detailing directly reflect Elkins's wealth and influence, as does its location in the town that grew up because of the business enterprises of Elkins and his father-in-law, Sen. Henry Gassaway Davis.

Constructed of native hardwoods and stone, Halliehurst’s turreted design was patterned after a Rhineland castle that Mrs. Elkins admired. Interior features include rich oak paneling, beaded trim work and massive fireplaces framed in marble with hand-carved wooden mantelpieces. The September 19, 1891, issue of American Architect and Building News included drawings of Mott’s designs for the house. The graceful porch was added in 1904. In 1923, Hallie Davis Elkins, widow of Sen. Stephen Benton Elkins, deeded Halliehurst and approximately 60 acres of land to Davis & Elkins College. Halliehurst subsequently served a variety of college functions, providing dormitory and classroom space, and once was the home of the college president.

Halliehurst was completely restored in the 1990s and is now a National Historic Landmark. The offices of the President, Admission and Development are located here today. The facility is also available for special events and conferences and is a popular site for weddings and personal celebrations.

The Icehouse

Listed within the Davis & Elkins National Historic Landmark District 1998

The IcehouseThe Icehouse is a cylindrical structure of stone that was originally built in the late 1800s by Senator Stephen B. Elkins as a place to store ice in the summer. The circular field stone structure is a utilitarian storage building, but done in the same imaginative style as Halliehurst. There is a long, shingled, overhanging roof with a picturesque cupola venting the roof. A large square bin projects from the wall on ground level. A pair of stone steps descends to the lower level, where there is an entrance door. In 1969, the structure was refurbished and has since been used as a coffee house and private campus pub.


Listed within the Davis & Elkins National Historic Landmark District 1998

The GatehouseAt the entrance to the Davis & Elkins College campus stands the Gatehouse, a quaint structure that doubled as a gatekeeper's/caretaker's residence during the years when the Elkins family spent their summers at Halliehurst. The house, with its unusual “witch hat” towers and leaded glass windows, has a storybook look and feel. After the estate was deeded to the College, it became the residence of the College groundskeeper.

The general profile of the Gatehouse is Queen Anne, with steeply-pitched roofs broken by several conical towers. The first floor is rough masonry, and the second-story walls are covered by wood shingles. The first floor plan includes the vestibule, hall, kitchen, and porch on one axis, with the dining room projecting off the main rooms, and the living room placed opposite in the largest round turret. There are separate bedrooms over the living room and dining room respectively. The roof is covered by wood shingles.

In 1988, the Gatehouse underwent restoration to correct structural deficiencies and repair storm windows. During an extensive interior face-lift, walls, woodwork and fixtures were restored to their original condition and antiquated plumbing in the kitchen and upstairs bath were upgraded to modern standards. Today, the tiny historic building houses the Davis & Elkins College Office of Public Safety.