History of the Restoration
The original restoration of the Rotunda occurred after a devastating fire destroyed nearly all of the structure on October 27, 1895. Faulty electrical wiring caused a blaze that swept through the Rotunda and its annex, leaving only a charred brick shell where the magnificent Rotunda had stood. The plans for restoration were created by Stanford White, a renowned architect of the time who modified Jefferson's original design in many ways. In 1973, architecture professor Fredrick D. Nichols initiated a campaign to restore the Rotunda to Jefferson's original design. The restoration cost $2.3 million and the newly restored Rotunda was dedicated on Jefferson's birthday in 1976.
After two years of extensive renovation, the Rotunda is again open to UVA students and visitors. The most significant renovation since 1895, the 50.6 million-dollar project was funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the support of alumni and donors and events like the Restoration Ball.
A Symbol of the Restoration
The logo that appears on our web pages and promotional materials has roots that go back as far as the original Rotunda restoration.
Found on University of Virginia materials dated near 1900, it shows a gold phoenix on a blue and orange shield. While little can be found on the exact origins of this image and its use, it would make sense for the University to use the image during the time of the original Rotunda restoration. The mythical phoenix, who was born again from the ashes of its predecessor, was a perfect symbol to use at a time when the University was quite literally recreating itself from a pile of ashes. We believe that this logo is a beautifully simple way of conveying the message that our Rotunda should live on eternally, just like the phoenix, no matter how may times it needs to be reborn and restored.