Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old College Hall

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Institution Name: Pacific University
Original/Historic Place Name: College Hall
Location on Campus: 2043 College Way
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1850original construction Unknown
1975-1980restoration Staehli, Alfred
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: wood
Roof: none specified
ca. 1850chapel
ca. 1850classrooms (especially science classes and labs)
ca. 1850other (housed Tualatin Academy)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (meeting place for faculty, staff, and students)
ca. 2004-present (2007)museum (Pacific University Museum)

Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterOld College Hall/Tualatin Academy (1974)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Old College Hall, Pacific University's first classroom building, was erected in 1850 for the Tualatin Academy, the forerunner of Pacific University. It is one of the oldest educational buildings in the western United States and is the oldest structure in Washington County, Oregon. Old College Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Due to its historical significance, the building was completely restored between 1975-1980 under the direction of Architect Alfred Staehli of Portland.

In its 153-year history, College Hall has yielded its space three times for campus expansion. To make way for Marsh Hall, College Hall was moved in April 1894 to the present site of Washburne Hall (the University Center) and was renamed "Science Hall," although the students soon nicknamed it the "Chem Shack." In 1947, the science labs moved to Warner Hall, and shortly thereafter the "Chem Shack" acquired the name "Old College Hall." In June 1963, the building was relocated east of Trombley Square to allow for construction of Washburne Hall. Old College Hall moved once again in July 2003 to its current site, leaving space for the new university library.

The Pacific University Museum is located on the second floor of Old College Hall and interprets the history and cultural influence of Pacific University and Tualatin Academy. A common misunderstanding stems from the belief that the Academy turned into the University; in reality the two operated together until 1915 when the Academy was terminated. The University actually started as a "collegiate department" of the Academy in 1854.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Archaeological Investigations Northwest. Tualatin Academy [Pacific University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.

Miranda, Gary, and Rick Read. Splendid Audacity, The Story of Pacific University. Forest Grove, OR: Pacific University, 2000.

Old College Hall [Pacific University]. Historic American Buildings Survey report and photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1938.

On Your Own Two Feet, A Self-Guided Tour of Our Historic Campus. Pamphlet. Forest Grove, OR: Pacific University, 2003.

Walton, Elizabeth. "A Note on William W. Piper and Academy Architecture in Oregon in the Nineteenth Century." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 32 (October 1973): 231-38.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices
Other: Washington County Historical Society

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Last update: November 2006