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Vassallo: Ventress Hall Most Charming of Ole Miss Buildings

Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain, courtesy of UM Communications
Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain, courtesy of UM Communications

I have told friends through the years that if I could live in any building worldwide, it would be Ventress Hall.

In addition to the location, location, location…this building’s beauty and architecture are only trumped (not the Donald kind) by its history. It is for this reason that intrigues me the most as it was its Southern history that lured me to Ole Miss in 1965.

Constructed in 1889 at the unbelievable cost of $35,000, Ventress was restored in 1993 at the cost of $1M. The restoration was completed in 1998. The building has served many purposes through its 126 year history and for those few who do not know where it is located, it’s only a few yards northeast of the Confederate monument in the circle.

Initially serving the need for the university’s library, Ventress has also doubled for the School of Law; the state’s Geological Survey; Dept. of Geology; Dept. of Art; and the College of Liberal Arts.

The Victorian splendor of this magnificent structure is breathtaking. Especially at dusk the beauty of the building in the shadows of the setting sun has been the catalyst for many a teary-eyed alum. Ventress is part of the uniqueness and mystique of Ole Miss that only the Ole Miss family can truly understand.

The primary interior feature of Ventress is the Tiffany stained glass window which serves as a memorial and tribute to the University Greys. These windows were sponsored by Delta Gamma sorority and the Alumni Association. Ventress is reported to be haunted. Suspects include Confederate soldiers, former administrators and yellow fever victims.

My guess if it is, the likelihood is probably the brave students comprising the Greys as their casualty rate at Gettysburg was 100 percent. The next time you visit our beautiful campus, take a few extra minutes to stop by Ventress Hall and read the memorial plaque outside. And if time allows, also look inside. You will be looking into the heart of history and one of the many reasons

Ole Miss is beloved and cherished by those of us who chose to commit their undergraduate years here as well as post graduate. I wanted to begin this tour with my favorite building as we wander around the campus this summer reflecting on the history and natural beauty that make the University of Mississippi exceptional!

I owe special thanks to the University of Mississippi for providing the info for this article.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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