Designed by architecture professor Howard Dwight Smith, Pomerene was built in two phases. The 1922 section contained a gymnasium, where women's physical education classes were held, and social rooms. A second phase in 1927 added a natatorium, lounges, a kitchen and refectory. The Dean of Women's offices also were housed there, as were lounges, meeting rooms and a food-service unit called the Refectory. The building was named after Frank Pomerene, an 1891 graduate and one-time member of the Board of Trustees.
The Refectory's first home had been in Campbell Hall, but it was moved to Pomerene when the second building opened. In addition to serving food, the eatery served as a laboratory for students in the Institutional Management Division of the School of Home Economics. Agnes Skinner Smith managed the Refectory for more than 40 years, until she retired in 1968.
Following the construction of the Ohio Union in 1951, Pomerene Hall lost most of its original functions and purpose, although many of the women's physical education classes were held there until the late 1970s when an addition to the Larkins recreation center was built, allowing for more men's and women's locker room space.
Over the years, the building has housed various University programs and offices, including the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services. That department moved in 2006 to the then-new RPAC building.
In October 2011, the state Controlling Board approved $642,542 worth of renovations to the building, including work on faculty and staff office spaces, the Huntington Archive, and Visual Resource Library. In Spring 2012, the Department of History of Art made the second and third floors its new home.
John H. Herrick Archives: Pomerene Hall