Exceptional Irvington, VA Hotels
History & Culture
It is most ironic
that one of Southern Living’s “Four
Favorite Romantic Getaways" today was once a school
which separated the genders - boys and girls dared not
converse going to and from school, or on its grounds.
The girls wore sunbonnets and dared not look at a boy
out the corner of an eye. Hopelessly romantic today,
yet exceedingly strict then.
In 1889, The Chesapeake Male and Female Academy opened its doors for classes. Its being co-ed was something of a novelty for those days. Still, the school featured two front doors - one for boys and one for girls as the two rarely mixed outside of recitation where rivalry was considered beneficial between the sexes. This school became the Chesapeake Academy, which a hundred years and several evolutions later, became the Hope and Glory Inn, one of the finest Irvington , VA hotels.
It was a day school
for most, yet many boarded. Steamboat and horse and
buggy were the only means of transportation for who
lived far away to school. This, of course, was not a
daily regimen so dormitories were built. If they wanted
an education, boarding was the only way to get one.
Gender segregation and tough discipline must have been
the best way to educate. By 1898 the school claimed
its graduates were being accepted by “the highest
colleges in the land”
How good was this
school? No college entrance exams were required of its
Out of 450 graduates (about 25 new students per year)
and its faculty, there were many physicians, attorneys
and of course, professors. There are four of note: One
became a Rhodes Scholar; another was named President
of Hollins College(now University); a third was elected
Attorney General for the State of Virginia; and, Edwin
Leland James went on to be the Managing Editor of the
New York Times. James, whom Gay Talese called “a
flamboyant Virginia dude”, was its European correspondent
and was the first to interview Charles Lindbergh when
he landed at Le Bourget in 1927.
The school closed
when the Irvington High School opened. Not much is known
about this building until the 40s when it became a rooming
house, and ultimately an inn offering rooms and “meals”.
This continued for decades under the name “King
Carter Inn”. In 1995-96, William Westbrook bought the Irvington inn and, with his vision, the Hope and Glory was created.