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Pawlings Hall consists of two sections. The northern section was built in 1843-1844 as a dormitory for men studying for the Baptist ministry. According to the original design, Pawlings was a two-story, very high ground floor building three by five bays in design, constructed in somewhat unembellished Greek revival style with a small Gothic portico sheltering the north entrance. All walls were laid in Flemish bonds with contrasting mortar. Two chimneys pierce each side of the gable roof, and it is pedimented at both ends. In recent years the north facade received a new front of contemporary design which provides an entrance foyer and a sitting area on the second floor.
The southern, Italianate front block of the building, built in 1877-1878, eclipsed the 1843-1844 component in size and scale, rendering the older part to an ell. The main facade is a broken nine bays three stories high with overhanging eaves carried by paired brackets. The portico is supported by grouped neoclassical colonettes mounted on square brick piers. At the time of the Italianate addition's construction, the ell received paired brackets beneath the eaves.
Pawling Hall's significance derives from its role in housing students for the Baptist ministry at Georgetown College, the first Baptist College west of the Appalachians. It was built to provide housing for young men who otherwise would not have been able to attend college. It is remembered for its long time use as a men's dormitory for Georgetown College, for the exemplary Victorian Italianate architecture of its front block, and for the role played by the women of the community to raise funds for its construction. The Georgetown student body was all male prior to the merger of the Georgetown Female Seminary, a college affiliate, with Georgetown College proper in 1892. But the women of the community were active in raising funds for the addition to the men's dormitory. President Basil Manly proposed the building, estimated to cost $6,000, in 1878 to increase the number of boarding rooms to 48; three local women, Mrs. Basil Manly, wife of the college President, Mrs. Danford Thomas, wife of the professor of languages and letters, and Mrs. James F. Robinson, wife of the former governor, took on the role of traveling about the area to raise $5,000 toward the cost.