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Designed by noted architect Charles L. Thompson, Martin Hall opened in August 1919. The four-story brick building with Carthage stone trimming was designed to house more than 100 male students. The structure was modernized in 1957, with new tile on the floors, new furnishings and doors, and a new electrical system, and the facility has been regularly updated since that time. It was considered "one of the finest dormitories in the Southwest" when it opened and is the most popular male residence hall on the Hendrix campus today. The residents refer to themselves as "Martin Men." In the early 1930s, different floors of Martin divided into competitive groups that became the basis of intramural competition at Hendrix for more than 50 years.
Martin Hall was named in honor of Capt. W.W. Martin, who was instrumental in convincing Hendrix College to relocate from Altus, Ark., where it was founded in 1876, to Conway, Ark., which has been its home since 1890. During the early days of the College in Conway, Capt. Martin is known to have paid faculty salaries from his own pocket to keep the struggling institution alive. He was a noted civic leader in Conway and a long-serving member of the Hendrix Board of Trustees. Capt. Martin is buried on the Hendrix campus.