Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Alumni Hall

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Institution Name: Springfield College
Original/Historic Place Name: Dormitory for International YMCA College
Location on Campus: 263 Alden St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1927original construction Gardner, E. C. & G. C. Olmsted, Frederick Law, Jr. Olmsted, John Charles
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick; stone
Walls: gypsum block
Roof: wood (deck); tar; gravel
ca. 1927residence hall (of the YMCA)
ca. 2004-present (2007)residence hall
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (offices)

Significance: architecture, education, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

In 1927 the success of the Expansion and Endowment Drive enabled the college to construct a new dormitory, Alumni Hall. At the same time, the college also retained Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and John Charles Olmsted of Boston to design the landscape not only for the dormitory but for the whole campus, including future construction. All through the summer of 1927, the Alumni Hall project continued and it was ready for dedication in the fall.

Its architect was George C. Gardiner who, after graduation from MIT, had studied in Europe for three years before opening his office in Washington, D. C. He had come to Springfield in 1892 to join his father's architectural firm, which he headed after his father's death. Gardiner served as chairman of Springfield Planning Board from its formation in 1921 until his death in 1930. His design, both interior and exterior, has distinction. The handsome foyer was named for S. Richard Carlisle, a local trustee who had started the building fund campaign with a contribution of $10,000.

Even before the building was opened, the terrace at its rear was used as a stage for "Physical Education Symphony," composed by Hyde and performed by the freshman class under Prof. John D. Brock. It was "an expression of the growth of civilization, both as neuromuscular and social development."

When John M. Kirby had invited Doggett to dine with him on the Springfield-New York train, it had cost him $5,000. (Doggett loved to tell the story that Kirby had agreed to give the same amount he had just paid for a new Oldsmobile, and that was $5,000.) That was for Marsh Memorial ; for Alumni Hall, he came back with twice that amount to outfit a science laboratory in the basement of the new dormitory. (Kirby worked his Wilkes-Barre dry goods store into a 96-store chain, and merged it into F. W. Woolworth Co., of which he became vice-president.)

I. Bibliographic sources:

None specified.

II. Location of other data:

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