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VMI Barracks History
A Digital Exhibit from the VMI Archives

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The Virginia Military Institute, founded on the site of a Virginia State Arsenal, opened its doors to cadets on November 11, 1839. For more than a decade, students were housed in the old arsenal barracks, wholly inadequate to meet the needs of a modern college with a growing student body. Francis H. Smith, VMI's energetic young Superintendent, worked with the noted American architect Alexander Jackson Davis to design new buildings for the school, among them a new barracks. His Gothic revival style has since influenced every other building on the VMI Post. The Barracks was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and the VMI Post was named a National Historic District in 1974.
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