On the first day of classes in September 1873, the students entered an unfinished University Hall. This first building on campus was a classroom building, library, administrative office building, and it had apartments for faculty and dormitory rooms for male students. [The students moved out when the first dormitory opened in 1874.] It even housed the Geology Museum until Orton Hall opened in 1893. University Hall had a chapel as well, which was originally used for a daily religious service. In the spring of 1968 concern about the building's structural integrity led to a study of its safety. It was determined to be unsafe, and on May 9, 1968, the Board of Trustees instructed the administrative officials of the University to move everything out of the building. University Hall was torn down in September 1971.
Today’s University Hall occupies almost exactly the same spot as the original University Hall (it is slightly east). When original University Hall was torn down, there was a lot of discussion over which architectural style the new building should have. Eventually, University officials decided to make the new University Hall look the same as the original building on the outside. Although less ornamental, and smaller, today’s University Hall is still a landmark on campus. It was completed in 1976.
John H. Herrick Archives: University Hall