Man Behind the Buildings

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

It's impossible to walk around one Valley city, without bumping into one of its historic buildings. From its churches to schools to courthouses, the Queen City may not have looked so regal without T.J. Collins and his sons.

"You would have a pretty historic town, but not an incredible visually, architecturally incredible historic town," explained Deneen Brannock, the Collins Collection Manager.

T.J. moved to Staunton in 1889 and later opened his architecture firm.

"Both individuals and business owners and civic leaders looked to them to create designs for buildings they wanted to stand out and of course the town of Staunton is the beneficiary of that," Brannock said.

The firm will close at the end of this year after more than a century of service. But the Historic Staunton Foundation will preserve more than 15,000 of its original drawings.

"The collection has been recognized by experts in the field as one of the top ten historical architecture drawing collections in the county," Brannock added.

And it will live in the city which put Collins on the map and in a building he designed, the new R.R. Smith Center.

The Historic Staunton Foundation will be raising money for equipment to best preserve the collection.


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