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Thomas Jefferson’s Estimate and Plans for Albemarle Academy/Central College, [ca. 18 November 1814]

Estimate and Plans for Albemarle Academy/Central College

[ca. 18 Nov. 1814]

The walls of the Pavilion are 116.f. running measure.
  Cellar 2. bricks thick, 10 f. high. 24. bricks to a square foot. 24 × 10 × 116 amount to 27,840.  bricks 27[84]0
Upper walls 23.1 f. high, 1½ brick thick. 18. bricks to a square foot. 18 × 23 × 116 48,024  say 53360
the chimney 4,752  4752
6. pilasters 1 134. 1134
81,750.  bricks 87,086
the necessary Appendix, passage Etc2 (61.f. runng measure, 9 f. high. 1. brick thick) 6,588 
each Chamber has 36.f. of wall, running measure.
if 10.f. high & 1. brick thick, 10 × 12 × 36. amount to 4320. bricks.
one half of the chimney (one chimney serving 2. chambers) 656 
2. pilasters 270 
but if the walls be 1½ br. thick there must be added 2160 
20. chambers to each pavilion therefore will require 104,920.  bricks or 148,120
And a Pavilion with it’s 20. chambers will take 192,2584 or 235,[2]06 5

The method of making a rough estimate, in Philadelphia, of the cost of a brick dwelling house, finished in a plain way, is to reckon the Carpenter’s work equal to the cost of the brick walls, and the Carpenter’s materials and the ironmongery equal also to the cost of the brickwalls. but in the present case the carpenter’s materials, (timber) will either be given, or cost very little, and the ironmongery will be little; I believe therefore the cost of the Carpenter’s materials & ironmongery need not be stated at more than half the cost of the brickwalls. reckoning brickwork therefore at 10.D. the thousand, the cost may be roughly estimated as follows.

Pavilion. walls 817. D 50 C Carpenter’s work 817. D 50 C Carpenter’s materials & ironmongery 408. D 75 C = 20[4]3. [75]
Appendix. on the same principles 164. 70
Chambers. each on the same principles costing 131. D 15 C, 20 chambers will cost 2623.
the establishment of a Pavilion & 20. Chambers for each professorship will cost therefore 4831. 45

but if the brickwork costs 13.D. & the other work in proportion a pavilion & 20 Dormitories [will cost 6280.89]6


The estimate above is made on the supposition that each Professor, with his pupils (suppose 20) shall have a separate Pavilion of 26. by 34.f. outside, & 24. by 32.f. inside measure: in which the ground-floor (of 12.f. pitch clear) is to be the schoolroom, and 2. rooms above (10.7 f. pitch clear) and a kitchen & cellar below (7.f. pitch clear) for the use of the Professor. on each side of the Pavilion are to be 10. chambers, 10. by 14.f. in the clear & 8.f. pitch, with a fireplace in each, for the students. the whole to communicate by a colonnade of 8.f. width in the clear. the pilasters, of brick generally 5½ f. apart from center to center.

The kitchen will be 24. by 14. on the back of the building adjacent to the chimney, with 2. windows looking back. the cellar 24. by 10. also, on the front side, with 2. windows looking into the colonnade. the Pavilions fronting South should have their stair-case on the East; those fronting East or West should have the stairs at the North end of the building, that the windows may open to the pleasantest breezes.

Back-yards, gardens, stables, horselots Etc to be in the grounds adjacent to the Square, on the outside.


[View at high resolution (2450 x 1758 pixels)]

[In TJ’s hand to right of preceding drawing:]

there is an error in this Chinese railing the pannels should have been from pilaster to pilaster as is seen in the Pavilion.

the pilasters in front of the Pavili[on] are erroneously placed. the two outer should be opposite the corners & the [four] inner should be equally distanced betw[een] them.


[View at high resolution (1604 x 2049 pixels)]

MS (ViU: TJP); written entirely in TJ’s hand on 21-by-13½-inch sheet of brown, single-sided, engraved, coordinate paper folded in half to form four pages, with cost estimates on p. 1, first drawing on pp. 2–3, and second drawing on p. 4; undated, with some words and numbers faint. Probably enclosed in TJ to Joseph C. Cabell, 24 Oct. 1817.

For the dating of this document, see the Minutes of the Albemarle Academy Board of Trustees, 25 Mar. 1814, with editorial headnote on The Founding of the University of Virginia: Albemarle Academy, 1803–1816, and TJ to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3 Aug. 1817. The elevation has sometimes been identified as an early study for Pavilion VII, the first building constructed at the University of Virginia (Frederick Doveton Nichols, Thomas Jefferson’s Architectural Drawings [1960; repr. 1995], 40 [no. 309]).

In making the estimate above, TJ utilized the left-hand column, which required fewer bricks. If he had used the one on the right and included the missing bricks for the “Appendix, passage Etc” (see note 5 below), the cost to construct a pavilion and twenty student rooms would have been $6,044.85 at $10 per thousand bricks and $7,858.31 at $13 per thousand. Horse lots (horselots) are plots of land on which horses are pastured (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1TJ wrote “26” above this number, which would make the figure in the far right column 54,288, not 53,360.

2TJ here canceled “will take.”

3Preceding two lines interlined.

4Correct sum is 193,258.

5TJ neglected to add the 6,588 bricks for the “Appendix, passage Etc” to this column. Had he done so, the total would have come to 241,794.

6Line added by TJ in pencil.

7TJ wrote “13.” above this number.

Index Entries

  • Albemarle Academy; TJ’s Estimate and Plans for Albemarle Academy/Central College search
  • building materials; bricks search
  • building materials; ironmongery search
  • building materials; timber search
  • Central College; classrooms for search
  • Central College; dormitory rooms at search
  • Central College; gardens at search
  • Central College; kitchens at search
  • Central College; passageways at search
  • Central College; pavilions at search
  • Central College; stables and horselots for search
  • Central College; TJ’s architectural designs for search
  • Central College; TJ’s Estimate and Plans for Albemarle Academy/Central College search
  • gardens; at Central College/University of Virginia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Estimate and Plans for Albemarle Academy/Central College search
  • Philadelphia; construction costs in search
  • Virginia, University of; Pavilion VII search