Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Prather Hall

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Institution Name: Dakota Wesleyan University
Original/Historic Place Name: Prexy Lodge and then, Music Hall
Location on Campus: NW corner of campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1906original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: Sioux quartzite
Walls: Sioux quartzite; wood
Roof: wood; shake shingle
1906-1936president's house
1937-1983academic department building (music)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (Campus Minister's Office)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (Campus Nurse's Office)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (Campus Life Office)

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterDakota Wesleyan University (1976)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Constructed in 1906 as a home for the president, Prather Hall originally was known as Prexy Lodge. Because of its architecture and size (9000 square feet) it was considered a showplace in Mitchell. There were 10 rooms, many of which were used for elegant receptions and parties. Six presidential families lived in Prexy Lodge from 1906 through 1936.

In 1937, it was renovated to house the vibrant and popular School of Music, and the building was renamed Music Hall. A formal opening of the School of Music was held December 1, 1937. The music department was eliminated in 1983, and the interior of Music Hall was remodeled in 1984. The building has housed various campus offices since then.

Music Hall was renamed Prather Hall in 1996 after the late Dorothy Prather, a 1925 graduate of DWU. It is now home to the campus life offices. Interior and exterior renovations were completed in 1997. Over the years, the decorative railings were gradually removed from the building until none were left. In 2002, most of the railings were restored in a project funded in part by the South Dakota State Historical Society through the Deadwood Fund grant program.

Prather Hall is a contributing (historically significant) building within a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Coursey, O. W. A History of Dakota Wesleyan University for Fifty Years (1885-1935). Mitchell, SD: Dakota Wesleyan University, ca. 1935.

French, Edith M. Dakota Wesleyan University. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1976.

Goering, Violet Miller. Dakota Wesleyan University: Century I. Sioux Falls, SD: Pine Hill Press, [n.d.].

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

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Last update: November 2006