Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Montgomery Gymnasium

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Institution Name: Allegheny College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Gymnasium
Location on Campus: N. Main St. (east side, facing Ruter Hall)
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1896original construction Church, M. H.
1997restoration of east wall Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: rock-faced Cleveland sandstone
Walls: local stone; local brick
Roof: slate (original); asphalt shingle (current)
ca. 1896other (YMCA)
ca. 1896other (armory drill hall for military department)
ca. 1896other (instruction of physical culture)
ca. 2004-present (2007)gymnasium (including dance studio)

Significance: education
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Montgomery Gymnasium, built as an armory and as the center for College instruction of "physical culture," is a Romanesque revival with a medieval three-story tower accenting the off-centered western entrance. It originally contained a playing floor, locker rooms, showers, a trophy room, and offices. The gym was also used as a drill hall for the military department, and the second floor was used by the Young Men's Christian Association.

Montgomery Gymnasium's exterior appearance, since the 1997 restoration of its east wall, is striking. Located on the main street that runs through campus, it is highly visible to all campus residents and visitors. The building currently houses a gymnasium and dance studio and is used primarily for dance classes and performances. It is situated just south of Cochran Hall, built in 1908.

Montgomery Gymnasium is named for Dr. James Montgomery, who served the College for his entire professional life. There is no question that Dr. Montgomery was a key factor in the alumni loyalty that made Allegheny distinctive among small liberal arts colleges at the onset of the twentieth century. It is perhaps fitting that the only building on campus named for a faculty member (other than those who were also presidents) carries his name. Montgomery Gymnasium continues to stand as a tribute to stu spirit, to the connection between liberal arts and physical fitness and to the stu ties that remain a cen feature of the Al expe.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates. Deferred Maintenance and Building Renovation Cost Study. Report. [Pittsburgh, PA: Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates], 1999.

Celli Flynn Brennan. Campus Master Plan [Allegheny College]. [Pittsburgh, PA: Celli Flynn Brennan], 2002.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates. Allegheny 2000. Master plan. [Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates], 1987.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates. Heart of the Campus Report. [Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates], 1987.

Helmreich, Jonathan E. Historic Campus Tour. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, 2001.

Helmreich, Jonathan E. Through All the Years: A Browser's History of Allegheny College [working title for publication celebrating College Bicentennial]. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, forthcoming.

"Old Allegheny." Allegheny College Bulletin (January 1922).

Rolland/Towers. Campus Master Plan [Allegheny College]. [New Haven, CT: Rolland/Towers], 1992.

Smith, Ernest Ashton. Allegheny College--A Century of Education. Meadville, PA: Tribune Publishing Company, 1916.

Stephens, D. M. Old Allegheny: A Handbook of Information. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, 1921.

Stotz, Charles M. The Early Architecture of Western Pennsylvania. New York: William Helburn, Inc., for the Buhl Foundation, 1936.

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

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