Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


John F. Magale Memorial Library

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Institution Name: Centenary College of Louisiana
Original/Historic Place Name: John F. Magale Memorial Library
Location on Campus: Woodlawn Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1963original construction McKelvy, Aubrey
ca. 2000renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick
Roof: heavy tile
1963-present (2007)academic department building (audio visual rooms, technology center, computer center, computer labs)
1963-present (2007)other (learning resource center, archives, art storage, study rooms, art gallery)
1963-present (2007)faculty offices
1963-present (2007)classrooms
1963-present (2007)library

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

The long-awaited Magale Library opened in 1963 as the crowning point of an aggressive period of campus expansion in the early 1960s. Magale was among the proudest contributions of President Joe Mickle's 20 year tenure at Centenary, during which time 13 of the then 18 brick edifices were built. The Magale building itself is a handsome Georgian revival structure with a front porch of doric columns and lintel. As with the preponderance of campus buildings, its exterior is red brick with a white neoclassic porch, columns, and trim. The roof is heavy tile and peaked by a cupola referred to by some as "the Kaiser's helmet" and recognized by alumni and citizens of the community as the Centenary logo. The cupola also serves as a bell tower with clarion chimes. With the construction of this building, the campus effectively shifted its geographic face to the opposite or eastern boundary, where Magale became the chief focus of campus architectural attention.

Because the Magale building is a library, its contents reflect that primary function. However, classrooms and faculty offices for the departments of political science, history, and sociology have been housed in its basement from the beginning. In the late 1990s the College began locating the campus computing resources to Magale. Interior renovations transformed the lower of the two "above" floors from its previous reference use into a comfortable mixture of reading relaxation/study areas and on-line computer labs. By 2000, the library had evolved into one of the busiest and most-sought-out of campus locations. Magale also displays artwork and exhibits from all over the world, as well as historical and cultural exhibits and works created by students and area artists. Stored within the building are etchings by Piranesi, Raimondi engravings, and a set of Audebon's Quadrepeds. It has become a most eclectic place.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Bryson, Helen R. "A History of Centenary College." M. A. thesis, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, 1941.

Centenary College, The College of Louisiana. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1979.

East Feliciana Parish Records. Clinton and Jackson, LA.

Fay, Edwin W. The History of Education in Louisiana. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1898.

Nelson, William H. A Burning Torch and a Flaming Fire: The Story of Centenary College of Louisiana. Nashville, TN: Methodist Publishing, 1931.

Varnado, Otto W. "A History of the Early Institutions of Higher Learning in Louisiana." M. A. thesis, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, 1927.

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

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