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Designed by Samuel Melcher III, the leading builder in the region during the early decades of the 19th century, Massachusetts Hall exemplifies the Federal Style, with its hipped roof, refined detailing at the main entry, roof edge and window surrounds, and the gracious proportions of the overall building. Massachusetts Hall, the first college building in Maine's first college, has had some interior renovation, but the exterior has not undergone a major rehabilitation. 1936 and 1941 renovations served to accommodate the college administration, faculty offices, and classrooms. Today, Massachusetts Hall houses offices of the English and Religion faculty.
Massachusetts Hall served all the earliest college needs: quarters for the president and students, and spaces for recitation and chapel. It later served as general classroom space and a science laboratory. In 1820, the building became the Medical School of Maine, until that school moved to Adams Hall in 1861. It also served as natural history museum for the Cleaveland Cabinet--Bowdoin Professor Parker Cleaveland's mineralogy specimen collection--and other natural history artifacts.