Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Jesse W. Lazear Chemistry Hall

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Institution Name: Washington and Jefferson College
Original/Historic Place Name: Jesse W. Lazear Chemistry Hall
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1939-1940original construction Larson, Jens Frederick
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick (exterior); plaster (interior)
Roof: slate; flat rubber roof
ca. 1940-present (2007)academic department building (chemistry hall)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (facilities for faculty-directed research and main supply room with acid room and hazardous chemical vault)
ca. 2004-present (2007)auditorium (100 seat lecture hall)

Significance: education
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Constructed in the years 1939 and 1949 with donations from alumni and friends of the college, the Chemistry Hall was named in honor of Jesse W. Lazear, class of 1888. Dr. Lazear was a member of the team that discovered that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes. His death, the result of self-experimentation, helped save the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The building was designed in the Georgian style by Frederick Larson of Hanover, New Hampshire.

Lazear Chemistry Hall contains fifty rooms, including a lecture hall with seating for 100 students, two classrooms, a conference room, Troutman Memorial Library, laboratories for instruction and research, chemical storerooms, and faculty offices. The interior floor plan allows for intensified teaching and advising of students. Of secondary importance are the facilities for faculty-directed student research. Faculty offices are located in the front of the building and classrooms and labs are to the sides and back. Special areas include a darkroom, a 100-seat lecture hall with a projection booth, and a main supply room with an acid room and hazardous chemical vault. Endowed areas include research rooms and the Troutman Library, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Troutman, class of 1898. The library for student study features the original doorknob of the homestead "Tara" from the movie set of Gone With the Wind, which was given to the college by David O. Selznick, the producer.

W&J's nationally recognized polymer lab has been specifically designed to accommodate the unique "industrial" or team approach to learning. W&J was the first college in the United States to use this technique, which is modeled after the methods used by research and development teams.

I. Bibliographic sources:

"The Archives: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta." Online (2006). Washington College, Washington, PA.

Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite. Banners in the Wilderness. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1956.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig, and Associates. Washington & Jefferson College: Campus plan 2001. [Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig, and Associates], 2001.

Donnelly, J. B. Venerable W & J at 200. Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College, 1980.

LaQuarta, Jack. Washington & Jefferson College Landscape Master Plan. Pittsburgh, PA: [s.n.], 1983.

W & J: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Washington & Jefferson College. Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College.

W & J Walker Volunteer Manual. Handbook. [Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College, n.d.].

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

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Last update: November 2006