The Virginian Hotel originally opened in 1913 as Lynchburg’s premier grand downtown hotel. The Beaux Arts style building was built five stories tall at the corner of 8th and Church Streets and was designed by Verus T. Ritter who ultimately designed many notable buildings, mostly in Philadelphia. In 1925 the 6th floor was added, and the upper cornice was rebuilt in the Colonial Revival style. In 1933 the six-story north wing was added. Both additions were designed by Stanhope S. Johnson of Lynchburg.
The hotel is notable for its Beaux Arts features including the arched windows on the first floor, its ornate lobby with 30-foot barrel vaulted ceilings and curved skylights, its grand marble stairs with wrought iron railings, its distinctive colonnade with crested capitals featuring the letter “V”, the Church Street Marquee, 8th Street balcony, and its exterior lighted rooftop and corner blade signage.
The hotel has hosted numerous public and private events with many esteemed guests including Ronald Reagan in 1957. The hotel struggled in the 1960s and finally closed. In 1972 the building was used as the first dormitory for Lynchburg Baptist College, now Liberty University. In 1983 the upper floors were renovated for low-income housing and the large elegant first floor spaces were enclosed and used for storage.