Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


McMillan Hall

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Institution Name: Whitworth College
Original/Historic Place Name: Young Ladies Dormitory
Location on Campus: west end of campus loop
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1914original construction Unknown
1988remodeled Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: brick
Roof: composition shingle
ca. 1914other (kitchen)
ca. 1914dining hall
ca. 1914chapel
ca. 1914library
ca. 1914residence hall (women's)
ca. 1918-1919other (U.S. government auto-tractor school)
ca. 1920-1927chapel
ca. 1920-1927classrooms
ca. 1927-1940dining hall
ca. 1927-1940library
ca. 1927-1940old main
ca. 1940-present (2007)residence hall (men's)

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

Originally the Young Ladies Dormitory, the building now known as McMillan Hall was built between May and August of 1914. A dedication ceremony on August 26th of that year took place in the middle of the campus stand of pine trees and included speeches, the placing of documents in the cornerstone, and a blessing of corn, wine, oil, and water.

In 1918, the college closed as a result of a shortfall in enrollment caused by World War I. The faculty was dismissed, and the college leased the hall to the U.S. government for an auto-tractor school. In 1924, the name was changed to McMillan Hall in honor of trustee Hugh McMillan. During the 1920s and 1930s, most of the classes, including chapel, were held within McMillan Hall. When the only other building on campus, Ballard Hall, burned to the ground in 1927, McMillan served as the sole campus building.

As the campus began to expand during the 1940s and 1950s, many of the functions contained in McMillan, which originally housed the library, memorial chapel, kitchen, and dining facilities, were assigned to other buildings. However, the hall has remained an important dormitory, and now, in an era dominated by co-ed housing, has become the last all-male residence hall on campus.

In 1988, both McMillan and Ballard halls were remodeled inside to preserve their unique historic character and original architecture.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Gray, Al. Not By Might: The History of Whitworth College. Spokane, WA: Whitworth College, 1965.

Soden, Dale E. A Venture of Mind and Spirit: An Illustrated History of Whitworth College. Spokane, WA: Whitworth College, 1990.

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

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Last update: November 2006