While Pendleton Hall changed function from a motel to guestrooms for accommodating Government executives receiving training at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) in 1968, physically it remained largely unchanged and has maintained all the key features and elements. The only major change to the exterior is the installation of fiberglass fascia at the balcony spandrel beams. The two exterior metal stairs were replaced in kind in 2006. Aluminum storm windows as well as mechanical HVAC louvers were added. The original carpeted floor finish within the porches and balconies was also removed and currently the floors are bare concrete. Updates to finishes have been made within the guestrooms to modernize them. These minor modifications have not changed the parti of the architectural design.
Pendleton Hall is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C as a structure that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represents the work of a master architect, or possesses high artistic value.
The former Thomas Jefferson Inn and its annex, built in 1951 and 1956 respectively, were designed by a prominent Charlottesville architect, Milton LaTour Grigg (1905-1982). Grigg was born in Alexandria, Virginia and studied architecture at the University of Virginia (UVA) in the late 1920s. The architecture program in the UVA was steeped in Beaux Arts influence and laid great stress on architectural history and on the architectural works of the University's architect and founder, Thomas Jefferson. Grigg did not complete the architectural program to receive his degree and left the university in 1929. Between 1929 and I933 he worked on restorations at Colonial Williamsburg with the Boston firm, Perry, Shaw & Hepburn. Grigg established his own firm in Charlottesville in 1933 and met with early success in his professional life when he received recognition as a bronze medalist in the Better Home in America competition for his design for the Everard Meade House. In 1936, he added Floyd Johnson as partner. That partnership lasted through 1940 after which time Grigg associated with William Newton Hale, Jr. Grigg's firm was known as Grigg, Wood & Browne by 1977. He died in 1982.
A large part of Grigg's body of work involves the restoration of historic buildings including Monticello, portions of Montpelier, and Edgemont. In the 1930s and 1940s he was also involved with the rehabilitation of several old country houses in Albemarle County, which were enlarged and converted into neo-classical country estates. One of these, the Ramsay, is listed in the National Register. He also repaired and restored several churches. Grigg was one of the premier architectural restoration/preservationists of his time and was one of the founding members of the National Council for the Preservation of Historic Sites and Buildings (now the National Trust for Historic Preservation).
In spite of his vast contribution to the field of preservation, Grigg did not consider himself to be a restoration architect and the range of his design work clearly reflects his interests beyond preservation. Grigg's designs were, however, always rooted in the Jeffersonian tradition. Like Thomas Jefferson before him, Grigg took inspiration from historic buildings and architectural motifs, absorbing and reinterpreting the principles embodied in them to fit contemporary needs. Grigg was a prominent residential architect in Central Virginia. His residential designs brilliantly combined Jeffersonian details with southern plantation house vernacular with its Georgian-derived influences to produce domestic structures that were graceful, elegant yet intimate. Grigg designed hundreds of churches in Virginia and throughout the country. A large portion of Grigg's portfolio also included municipal buildings such as the Alexandria City Hall (1946), the Alexandria City Prison (1947), and international assignments such as the extension of the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, begun in 1957. Grigg completed a number of commercial projects which included shopping centers, cultural centers and office buildings. Grigg not only worked as an architect, but he was also a dedicated civil servant. His architectural skills were put to work as the civilian Chief of the Design Section of the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C. During his time in the nation's capital he administered the Master Plan for Walter Reed General Hospital, Master Recreation Plan for the Development of the Potomac River Basin, and the Expansion of the National Airport facilities. He was also was a member of Public Advisory Panel on Architectural Services for GSA (Region 3) from 1969-71. At a local level, he served on the Charlottesville Planning Commission from 1946 to 1964 and on the architectural review board. He had also served as President of the Albemarle County Historical Society.
The former Thomas Jefferson Inn, along with its annex, are the only hotel structures known to have been designed by Grigg. The design of the inn reflects many classical Jeffersonian design motifs that were a feature of Griggs work including the use of a partially below-grade lower level to add a sense of intimacy to the structure, strong indoor/outdoor relationship, symmetrical wings, colonnaded front entrances and use of bay windows, arched openings and lunettes.
The design of Pendleton Hall is influenced by colonial classicism and Jeffersonian style. Grigg's architectural education at the UVA had predisposed him to the classical styles of architecture and his extensive experience in architectural restoration gave him a strong understanding of classical details and design principals. Grigg was uncomfortable designing in a Modern style. Instead, he used this knowledge to design buildings that were filled with classical charm while adapting the details to suit modern needs, spatial requirements, and materials. In the Thomas Jefferson Inn and annex we see this clear marrying of Jeffersonian details with practical considerations of cost, layout, simplicity, and scale. The parti of the design included motel-style rooms facing porches and balconies and with parking lots located close by for easy access to automobiles. Staircases were located on the exterior so guests could access their rooms directly from the exterior parking areas.
The FEI is also potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A upon reaching 50 years of age in 2018 as a district/government complex associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of history. Within the GSA's national context, the Main Building and Pendleton Hall, or the former Thomas Jefferson Inn, are connected with the founding of the FEI in 1968 as the first home of the institute and are associated with the development of the first residential executive training program for high ranking government employees. The year that the FEI was founded is a significant year for public administration. While the nation was facing multiple crises, including race riots, the demonstrations and dissension at the National Democratic Convention in Chicago, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Government and its administrative arm came under pressure for a range of issues from civil rights to social welfare. The capacity of the Government to respond to those issues was questioned, particularly by academics in the field of public administration. The field of public administration was trying to redefine itself as the discipline had lost a sense of purpose. In 1968, Dwight Waldo, a leading academic in the area of public administration, sponsored the Minnowbrook Conference to begin dialog on a new public administration - one that stressed normative theory, philosophy and activism, with an overriding moral tone contemplating values, ethics, and the development of the individual within the organization. The FEI was founded during these times, impacting practitioners and providing innovative training experiences. The first training sessions held in the buildings were largely experimental in nature and through interactions between the faculty and the first groups of trainees the training programs took concrete form and an innovative executive development program was established. The FEI represents the Governments, and in particular the U.S. Civil Service Commissions, early efforts to improve upon the leadership skills of senior career government executives to enhance their individual performance and in turn the performance of government agencies. The faculty at FEI has contributed a great deal to research in the areas of public administration and political science through publication of several books and papers in the area. A large part of the success of the institute and its alumni lies in its picturesque and serene design, planning and landscaping, which renders itself well to research and collaborative projects. As a result, the entire campus, in particular Main Building and Pendleton Hall, is eligible for listing under Criteria A as a complex associated with the founding and continued success of the FEI.