National Administrative Office at Mulberry Hill
Located on the western edge of Lexington, Virginia, it is one of the town’s chief historic homes and forms a scenic backdrop for the Lexington Historic District and Washington & Lee University.
Mulberry Hill, a five-bay, two-story brick dwelling with a four-room, doublepile, central passage plan, contains outstanding examples of late Georgian interior woodwork and represents at least four different building periods that range from the late 18th to the early 20th century. One of the great manor houses of the region, it is scenically sited on a ridge and surrounded by nearly eight acres of rolling lawns and trees. Mulberry Hill evolved from a 36’ by 37’ stone plantation house (circa 1777) to a 36’ by 63’ brick, story and a half manor house. The house was enlarged to a two-story gable roof design just prior to the Civil War. Subsequent owners gave it today’s appearance without changing the original rooms, each of which contains a fireplace.
Rev. William Graham, a Presbyterian minister and rector of Liberty Hall Academy (the predecessor of Washington & Lee University), built the original plantation house. Rev. Graham was a Princeton University classmate and friend of General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee of Revolutionary War fame and the father of Robert E. Lee. Harry Lee attributed his graduation from Princeton to Rev. Graham because he allowed Harry to study with him. Rev. Graham is buried on the Washington & Lee campus, adjacent to Lee Chapel.
Mulberry Hill was purchased in 1797 by Andrew Reid, the first clerk of court in Rockbridge County, who built a one-story, double-pile brick house. Reid later left the home to his son, Samuel Reid, who was the county’s second clerk of court. The younger Reid was a senior trustee of Washington College for 50 years, a founder of The Franklin Society and a colonel in the militia. Reid was an amateur architect responsible for commissioning Thomas U. Walter to design the Rockbridge County Jail, which housed our National Administrative Office until 2004. Walter would later design the U.S. Capitol Dome.
On September 18, 1865, Robert E. Lee arrived at Mulberry Hill as a guest of Col. Reid to begin the preparations for assuming the presidency of Washington College and to meet with the trustees of the College. General Lee would spend four nights at Mulberry Hill in the days prior to his inauguration as president of the College. From 1931 until the recent KAOEF purchase, Mulberry Hill was owned by the Tyree/Grigsby family. Lewis Tyree Sr. was professor of law from 1919 to 1927 and responsible for constructing Mulberry Hill’s walled garden. Many members of the Tyree and Grigsby families attended Washington & Lee.
The KAOEF purchased the property from Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Tyree Jr., who inherited the property from his mother and father. Mulberry Hill is a Virginia Historic Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and subject to a historic preservation easement to the State of Virginia. With Rockbridge County set to condemn surrounding property to expand the current county courthouse, the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation was forced to sell the former National Administrative Office in Lexington in October 2004. Prior to this action, the Order and KAOEF researched several locations that would provide an appropriate and functional facility to honor our rich tradition, while being a cornerstone for the future of the Order. The purchase of Mulberry Hill was made possible through the sale of the former National Administrative Office, which had been acquired through the support of the Order’s alumni during the successful KA Headquarters Campaign in 1991-1993. With 7.7 acres, Mulberry Hill provides the Order a unique opportunity to create a headquarters site that will provide the necessary office space to properly house current staff and meet future staffing needs.
Past locations of the Order’s
National Administrative Office include: 2004-Present
Mulberry Hill, Lexington, Va.
Rockbridge County Jail, Lexington, Va. with interim location at office park
3379 Peachtree Street, Lenox Square area, Atlanta, Ga.
1967, Mitchell Property purchased in Lexington, Va. but sold in 1973
1964, Barclay House purchased (May) in Lexington, Va. only to be sold shortly thereafter
1252 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Ga. (effective August 1, 1961)
830 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Ga. (move in August)
303 Martin Brown Building, Louisville, Ky.
Palmer Building, Five Points, Atlanta, Ga. (opens April 1, 1940)
Maison-Blanche Building, New Orleans, La. (First Central Administrative Office authorized by 1933 Convention)
Above, from top to bottom:
1. Mulberry Hill on a summer day, with KA Official Flags flying
2. Mulberry Hill circa 1930s-1940s
3. Mulberry Hill during a recent winter snow