Seminary and Quaker

IV.22 Seminary and Quaker_3Here’s a little blast from the past. See below: a photo taken at the intersection of Seminary Road and Quaker Lane c. 1900.

We had heard that there were one-lane dirt roads around here way back when and this certainly confirms it. We have this picture thanks to Julia Randle, the recently retired archivist at Virginia Theological Seminary, who sent us a copy after we spotted the original at the Dean’s home on the Seminary grounds.

That’s the tower of the campus centerpiece, Aspinwall Hall, rising through the trees on the right. The house with the distinctive hexagonal addition in the far background at left, is “Melrose.” It still stands at 3706 Seminary Road, just shy of the Seminary entrance. It was the home of Rev. Joseph Packard, a Seminary professor from the time he came to Virginia from his native Maine in 1836 until his death in 1902.

For anyone interested in dipping a little deeper into the past, Packard left a posthumous autobiography, “Recollections of a Long Life.” In it, you’ll discover vivid descriptions of the area as it appeared when he first arrived and found the Seminary “embosomed deep in lofty woods which stretched nearly all the way from” Old Town. He also left an indelible image of his house after the Civil War when both the Seminary and Episcopal High School served as Union hospitals. “My own home was used as a bakery and fifteen hundred loaves of bread were baked daily in my kitchen,” he wrote. Indignant that soldiers had raided his orchard, he noted that “They had been “imprudent in eating the apples.” Dr. Packard’s book is available online through “” (See

By Patricia Dane Rogers (Patsy)