Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Davis Memorial Hall

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Institution Name: Washington and Jefferson College
Original/Historic Place Name: Reed Residence; Reed Dormitory; Davis Memorial
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1847original construction Reed, Alexander
1947renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: sandstone
Walls: brick (exterior); plaster (interior)
Roof: standing-seam metal
ca. 1939residence hall (dormitory for 33 male students)
ca. 1942academic department building (electrical engineering)
ca. 1947-present (2007)academic department building (English)
ca. 2004-present (2007)faculty offices (for English department)

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

Built in the colonial style in 1847 by Alexander Reed, a college trustee, this white-painted brick structure is one of the area's most appealing examples of architecture of that period. At one point in time, Davis was a final stop on the Underground Railroad.

The Reed Home, as it was once known, was acquired by W&J in 1939 for use as a dormitory for thirty-three students. In the early 1940s, Davis was converted to the Electrical Engineering Building to accommodate the students' interest in engineering.

The name of the building was changed to Davis Memorial in 1947 in honor of Harry Hamilton and Tillie Wilkinson Davis, who provided the funds for major remodeling at the time. Following the renovation, the building became the home of the English department, offering classroom space and faculty offices. English department offices are still located at Davis.

Davis marks the lower limit of the campus, separating the college from the Old National Road (Route 40). The original cast iron fence, in good condition at the time of the acquisition, was used to cast the fencing that now runs along the southern end of campus.

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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