Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Carroll Hall

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Institution Name: McDaniel College
Original/Historic Place Name: Terrace Hill
Location on Campus: south
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1873original construction Unknown
1937remodeled exterior Unknown
1988renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
1873-1922private residence (of John Lawrence Reifsnider)
1922-1937other (inn)
1958-1964academic department building (home economics)
1964-1988academic department building (education and graduate studies)
1988-present (2007)admissions office

Significance: architecture, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterWestern Maryland College Historic District (1976)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

In April of 1873 John L. Reifsnider, one of Westminster's wealthiest businessmen (and a college trustee), purchased over four acres of land across from the College on which he would build his "villa suburbana," Terrace Hill. Neither townhouse nor farmhouse, the architecture of this house was revolutionary in Westminster. It was so situated that everyone driving up the main street could not help but see it and admire it. When the College purchased the building and grounds in 1922, the home was at first turned into a working Inn. Eventually, in 1937 it was slightly remodeled (the Victorian gingerbread decorations were removed), and Carroll Hall, as it had been renamed, served as the offices of administration until 1958. The stables of the four acre property were also remodeled to become the college maintenance buildings. During this time the bedrooms of the third floor were sometimes occupied by students and/or faculty members.

When the administrative offices were moved to the newly-acquired Elderdice Hall (the former Westminster Theological Seminary), Carroll Hall was turned over to the home economics department, which used it until 1964 when that program was phased out of the College curriculum. The education department and graduate program offices moved into the building and occupied it until 1988, when the building was given a face lift, the various rooms put back to their Victorian splendor, and the house became the admissions offices. Carroll Hall has probably had more different uses during the 80 years the College has owned it than any other building on campus.

Another home on the Reifsnider property became available for purchase in the late 1960s, and it was acquired by the College to serve as an alumni house. The home was slightly remodeled, redecorated, and renamed Harrison House, and still serves as a gathering place for alumni (especially at reunion and homecoming time), for a variety of organizational meetings, and for occasional graduate classes. The second floor bedrooms serve as offices for the College's Department of Communications and Marketing.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Bulletin of the Historical Society of Carroll County, Maryland 2, no. 2 (May 1952).

Chandler, Douglas R. Pilgrimage of Faith; A Centennial History of Wesley Theological Seminary--1882-1982. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press, 1984.

Makosky, John D. "Western Maryland College in the Nineteenth Century." Western Maryland College Bulletin [n.d.].

Schofield, Samuel Biggs, and Marjorie Cowles Crain. Western Maryland College The Formative Years, 1866-1947. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1982.

Weeks, Christopher. "The Building of Westminster in Maryland." Bulletin of the Historical Society of Carroll County, Maryland 2, no. 1 (May 1949).

Western Maryland College Historic District [including McDaniel College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1976.

Zepp, Ira G. "Western Maryland College: The Hill." In A Grateful Memory: History of Baker Chapel. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1995.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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