Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Hamilton College
Original/Historic Place Name: Hamilton College (Oneida Academy)
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1793-present (2007)original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Building group
Style(s) of majority of buildings: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival, Contemporary
Style(s) of minority of buildings: not applicable
Building group type: Informal; Irregular; Quadrangle; Modern
Relationship to landscape:
none specified
Ideas associated with building group:
none specified
1812-present (2007)master plan (campus)

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterHamilton College Chapel (1972)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Hamilton College campus is located amongst 1,300 acres of woodlands, open fields, and glens overlooking the Oriskany and Mohawk Valleys of Central New York.

The college had its beginning in a plan of education drawn up almost 200 years ago, with campus buildings representing numerous architectural styles over this period. The oldest building, the Azel Backus House, was constructed as a boarding house for students in the late part of the 18th century. The first stone building, Buttrick Hall, was originally built in 1812 as a student dining hall, the year Hamilton College was chartered. The beautiful Chapel, designed by architect Philip Hooker, was completed in 1827 and is thought to be the only remaining example of a three-story church in America.

The campus developed with the prevailing design trends in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, and by the 1950s had the appearance of a traditional small northeastern college. In the 1960s, Kirkland, a planned campus, was established as a coordinate college for women. It is one of the best examples of college modernist architecture and is the last campus designed by Ben Thompson Associates.

I. Bibliographic sources:

The Chapel, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. Clinton, NY: Hamilton College, 1954.

Dober, Richard P. Campus Design. New York: John Wiley, 1992.

Hamlin, Talbot. Greek Revival Architecture in America. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1944.

Klauder, Charles Z., and Herbert C. Wise. College Architecture in America and Its Part in the Development of the Campus. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929.

Pilkington, Walter. Hamilton College--A History. Clinton, NY: Hamilton College, 1962.

Reig, Johanna Ruby, and T. Robins Brown. Hamilton College Chapel. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1972.

Schuyler, Montgomery. "The Architecture of American Colleges: IX. Union, Hamilton, Hobart, Cornell and Syracuse." Architectural Record 30 (1911): 549-73.

Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.

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

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