Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Hyatt Hall

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Institution Name: Widener University
Original/Historic Place Name: McInvain Family Residence
Location on Campus: 700 E. 14th St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
ca. 1825original construction Unknown
1999renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: stucco
Roof: tar; crushed stone
ca. 1820sprivate residence (of the McInvain family)
ca. 1917residence hall (for preparatory school boys, owned by Hyatt family)
ca. 1932private residence (of institution's Commandant)
ca. 1950sclassrooms
ca. 1957-present (2007)academic department building (Center for Education)

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

Built in the mid-to late-1820s, Hyatt Hall is one of the oldest buildings in the area. According to local history, it was built for the McInvain family, who were prominent members of Chester society at the time. The property changed hands numerous times before it was sold to Charles Hyatt in 1917. Hyatt was then headmaster, like his father before him, of the preparatory school for the Pennsylvania Military Academy, and the building was put to use as a dorm for boys attending the school. In 1932 it became the residence of the school's Commandant. After the death of Hyatt's son Frank, who had taken over as headmaster after his father's retirement, the building was used for classrooms until 1956. From 1957 until 1981, Hyatt Hall has been dedicated exclusively to the Center for Education.

In 1999, the interior of Hyatt Hall was renovated, but the exterior architecture was preserved. Structural changes included the construction of a three-story addition (without disturbing the architectural integrity of the main section of the building), the replacement of the heating and air conditioning system, and the installation of an elevator. The upgrade has enabled most of the Center for Education faculty to reside in a central location.

I. Bibliographic sources:

"History of Hyatt Hall." Bookmark. 2000. Widener University, Chester, PA.

Moll, Clarence R. "A History of Pennsylvania Military College, 1821-1954." Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1956.

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

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