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Eaton Hall was built in 1909 and named for Abel E. Eaton, a prosperous businessman from Union, Oregon. Eaton provided funds for the building, and is thought to have also provided close attention and advice in the design process. The stately four-story building is notable as a Gothic revival/Victorian/Beaux-Art variant of the campus architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson. Medieval references include a rusticated stone foundation, pointed arch entrance, lintels that offset brick walls, and embedded tower elements (originally topped by short cone-shaped spires) at the corners of the north (main) facade. The building is significant architecturally for its vernacular response to Richardsonian medivalism and to a Beaux-Arts interior program. In its physical relationship with Waller Hall (immediately to the east) and the Art Building (farther to the east), Eaton Hall is integral to the main axis of the campus that eventually evolved to become the university's distinctive State Street row of buildings.
During the 1980s, the building's original wood frame windows were replaced with metal ones that retain the proportions of the originals. In 2001, the attic level was remodelled to include classrooms and offices for the anthropology and rhetoric departments. The building is currently in good condition and currently entirely houses humanities departments.