Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Harstad Hall

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Institution Name: Pacific Lutheran University
Original/Historic Place Name: Old Main
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1894original construction Hadie, August T.
1942destruction of cupola and surmounting steeple by fire Unknown
1960addition Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick (exterior); brick (interior); prime Douglas fir (interior)
Roof: shingle
ca. 1894library (and bookstore)
ca. 1894classrooms (with science laboratories)
ca. 1894administration
ca. 1894dining hall (with kitchen)
ca. 1894residence hall (and apartments)
ca. 1894old main (many university functions)
1940-present (2007)residence hall (248 women)

Significance: education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterOld Main (1984)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

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.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Nordquist, Philip A. Educating for Service: Pacific Lutheran University, 1890-1990. Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University, 1990.

Pacific Lutheran University. Old Main [Pacific Lutheran College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service. 1984.

Schnackenberg, Walter C. The Lamp and the Cross: Sagas of Pacific Lutheran University, from 1890-1965. Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University, 1965.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections
Government Offices

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Last update: November 2006