Which Building is Matthews?

Posted by Monica Hoel
News of the demolition of Matthews Hall has been met with a variety of responses. Some are sad to lose a place that held college memories; some were so glad to see it go that they offered to bring a sledge hammer and help; still others had to ask, “Which one was Matthews?”

So, for those of us who weren’t lucky enough to have lived there (or, perhaps unlucky enough to have been disciplined for being there when we clearly did NOT live there), we thought we’d share a quick piece of history and information.

Matthews Hall was built in 1953. It was a rather non-descript square building used for housing that was located right behind the Waterhouse-Carriger building (known to most as simply Carriger, built in stages between1904-1908). It was so close to Carriger that a little “connector” between the two buildings was constructed in 1975. It’s understandable that it could have been overlooked because of its location and because it was completely upstaged by the grandeur of Carriger with its arches, windows, columns and balcony.

Matthews Hall was named for William M. Matthews, a member of the Emory & Henry Class of 1902. He was noted as a successful attorney.

Matthews has been torn down to make room for a careful renovation of Carriger Hall. We say “careful” because Emory & Henry’s listing on the Virginia Historic Register makes any renovation or demolition a careful prospect. According to Advancement Vice President, Greg McMillan, nothing happened with this project until all the necessary conversations, meetings, and paperwork to insure that the demolition of Matthews wouldn’t hinder our listing as an historic location. “The office of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources confirmed that Matthews added nothing to the campus’ inclusion as an historic site. We made sure to confirm that long before the first nail was removed.”

The renovation of Carriger will continue to include input and guidance from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “There will be very few changes to Carriger made because it is important to our standing as an historic site. But this project will allow us to repair some problems that put this very old building in jeopardy of being lost.”

The new school of business plans to offer both undergraduate and master’s level degrees. Dr. Emmett Tracy was recently hired to be dean of the school, and you can read more about him on the college webpage. Watch for photos to show updates as renovation project proceedings.

  • Work has begun on the demolition of Matthews Hall  to make room for a carefully planned renovation and enhancement of Carriger Hall.

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