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Harstad Hall is the oldest large building in the Parkland area and one of the oldest in Pierce County. It is an imposing, five-story brick structure, 190 feet long and 82 feet wide, with a full basement with solid masonry and whose architecture can be closely traced to the English Renaissance period. The main entrance of the building uses cut sandstone in the arch, at the base of the building, and at the outside corners. The building has the same exterior appearance today as when it was constructed. The only exception is that the cupola and veranda on the roof were destroyed during an earthquake. Structural engineers have studied the building on several occasions, and it is expected that the structure will stand and be in use for many decades.
Harstad Hall has played a significant role in the history of Pacific Lutheran University. When the University opened for classes in 1894, the entire institution was housed in the building, and the building was the center of campus activities for many years. The large, imposing structure was known as Old Main until 1960 when it was renamed Harstad Hall in honor of the late Rev. Bjug Harstad, 1848-1933, who founded the institution.
Harstad Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 1984.