Victorian Architecture – T.J. Collins

In 1890 Thomas Jasper Collins, moved from Washington, DC to Staunton, and over the course of twenty years, he designed and remodeled nearly 200 buildings in Staunton and many other areas in Virginia, including Harrisonburg, Lexington, Waynesboro, and Orange County.

When T.J. moved to Staunton he started the T. J. Collins & Son Architectural Firm, and his firm was responsible for many prominent structures in the Shenandoah Valley. The firm designed the walls and gatehouse for Thornrose Cemetery, St. Francis Catholic Church, Augusta County Courthouse, the C & O Train Station, the Dixie 4 Theater, and many other commercial and residential buildings.

Collins and his son experimented with the various styles of “Victorian Architecture,” and they loved to incorporate Romanesque arches, Corinthian columns, Tiffany skylights, terra cotta mosaic tiles, brick turrets, and false balconies into their designs.

If you’ve ever been to the Shenandoah Valley you’ve probably seen some of T.J. Collins’ work. For example, in downtown Harrisonburg, VA, Collins designed the Romanesque/Renaissance Revival style Courthouse that dominates the town’s central square. Collins’ buildings have defined the Valley’s landscape for over a hundred years and his designs introduced a high level of sophistication to the Valley.


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