Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Mills Hall

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Institution Name: Mills College
Original/Historic Place Name: Mills Hall
Location on Campus: 5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1871original construction S. G. Bugbee and Sons
1906damage from earthquake; removal of fourth floor cupola Unknown
1970renovation Unknown
1987damage from earthquake Unknown
1994major renovation EHDD Architecture
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick (originally); concrete (presently)
Walls: wood
Roof: asphalt shingle
ca. 1871-1860dining hall
ca. 1871-1860residence hall
ca. 1871-1860classrooms
ca. 1960-present (2007)other (guest rooms)
ca. 1960-present (2007)old main
ca. 1960-present (2007)faculty offices
ca. 1960-present (2007)admissions office
ca. 1960-present (2007)administration

Landmark designation:
National RegisterMills Hall (1971)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Mills Hall is the oldest building on campus and originally housed all campus functions for the college when it was completed in 1871. Designed by S. C. Bugbee and Sons, it was located in an open meadow between two creeks, Leona Creek and Chimes Creek. Mills Hall is a 46,000 square foot structure of three floors plus a partial fourth floor residential quarters area. The Mills family lived in the building throughout their residence on campus.

Built in the Second Empire style, Mills Hall is symmetrical and massive: four-stories, flanked by a three-story volume, are topped topped by a mansard roof of wood shingles punctuated with circular arched windows. The bays at each end of the building have symmetrically placed bay windows. The windows on the rest of the building are articulated by shallower arch and are topped by decorative elements. On the main facade, the central portion of the building is visually and functionally connected to the wings with covered porches. Bay windows also flank the sides and a short wing that extends northward off the rear of the building. The exterior walls are made of wood siding.

The building survived the 1906 earthquake but the cupola on top of the fourth floor was removed soon afterward. Later, it was heavily damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was fully renovated with partial funding by FEMA in 1994 by EHDD Architecture.

Mills Hall currently houses administrative offices, classrooms and guest rooms for campus visitors. The structure has been designated a national register site, and has also been noted on the City of Oakland Preservation Study List.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Hein, William J. Mills Hall [Mills College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1971.

Landscape Heritage Master Plan. Getty Foundation Campus Heritage Initiative, forthcoming September 2007.

Mills Hall [Mills College]. Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, after 1933.

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

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Last update: November 2006