UMW was founded in 1908, although back then it was known as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women. Monroe Hall was the first building to be created, with construction officially starting in 1910. (1) However, despite being one of the first buildings on campus, it would not be “Monroe” Hall for at least another decade. It would not be until 1922, and two other name changes, before the building would be named after the 5th President of the United States, James Monroe.
Initially Monroe was simply the Science Hall, although its functions did not stop at the sciences. The building also included the gym, library, auditorium and a pool! Although the pool no longer exists, Monroe is still home to some well-loved murals that were made in the 1940s by a professor and his students, to reflect the history of Virginia. (2)
(1) William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (North Carolina: BW&A Books, Inc., 2008), Page 216.
(2) Michael Spencer, University of Mary Washington: Preservation Plan-80% Draft (Fredericksburg, VA: Department of Historic Preservation, June 8, 2014), Pages 179-89.