Connecticut Hall

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Connecticut Hall, Yale University
Connecticut Hall, Yale University.jpg
Connecticut Hall
Location 1017 Chapel Street
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Coordinates 41°18′29.25″N 72°55′46.13″W / 41.3081250°N 72.9294806°W / 41.3081250; -72.9294806Coordinates: 41°18′29.25″N 72°55′46.13″W / 41.3081250°N 72.9294806°W / 41.3081250; -72.9294806
Built 1750 (1750)
Architect Francis Letort, Thomas Bills
Architectural style Georgian
Restored 1952
Restored by Douglas Orr
Governing body Yale University
NRHP Reference # 66000806[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL December 21, 1965[2]

Connecticut Hall (formerly South Middle College) is a Georgian-style building on the Old Campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Built between 1750 and 1756, it is the only surviving 18th-century structure on the Yale campus, and the second-oldest building built in New Haven for Yale College. It is the last surviving member of the Old Brick Row, the rest of which was demolished after the American Civil War.[3]

History[edit]

Connecticut Hall as a residential building, 1934

When Yale College moved to New Haven in 1718, the town had constructed a wooden building known as the College House for its occupancy at the corner of College and Chapel Streets.[4] By 1747, the College House held less than half of the college's enrolled students, and college president Thomas Clap announced that funds would be raised from the Colony of Connecticut for a "new College House" of three stories.[5][6] The money used to fund the project came from the sale of a French ship, a lottery, and a grant from the Connecticut Assembly. Construction, completed by 1752, was headed by Francis Letort and Thomas Bills; the latter later helped to build the college's First Chapel.[4][6] The new building was built 100 feet (30 m) long, 40 feet (12 m) wide, three stories tall, and, because President Clap instructed the builders to follow plans he received from Harvard University, appeared nearly a duplicate of the latter's Massachusetts Hall, completed in 1720.[4][7] In its original incarnation, just under one hundred rooms were fit under its gambrel roof.[5]

Connecticut Hall at left and McClellan Hall, built in 1925 as a replica of Connecticut Hall, at right.

Connecticut Hall became the anchor and template for Old Brick Row's building pattern, and became known as South Middle College as buildings were added to its north. When Old Brick Row was slated for demolition in the early 20th century, Connecticut Hall was saved by a group of alumni led by Professor Henry W. Farnam.[6] In 1925, Yale broke ground on McClellan Hall, a student dormitory intended to be a symmetrical model of Connecticut Hall.[7] At the time, many students and faculty felt Connecticut Hall was a vestigial structure that marred the campus' beauty, and objected to the administration's sudden plans to erect a facsimile building to balance its presence on the Old Campus. [8] They dubbed McClellan "Hush Hall" and staged a "Pageant of Symmetry" to oppose its construction.[8]

Architectural significance[edit]

Connecticut Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Connecticut and the only remaining example of colonial-era architecture built at Yale. The building has been renovated several times and appears substantially different from its early appearance and function. A 1797 addition swapped it for a fourth story and a pitched roof.[7] In 1905, a restoration led by Grosvenor Atterbury rebuilt the gambrel roof, bringing the building closer to its original form.[7] In 1952, a project funded by Paul Mellon and designed by Douglas Orr and Richard A. Kimball gutted the structure and rebuilt it as an academic building. Today it contains the offices of Yale's Department of Philosophy. The Faculty Room, where the Faculty of Arts and Sciences holds its meetings, is located on the second floor. There is also a computer cluster in the basement.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.[2][3]

The first two residence halls at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, originally dubbed "Yale of the Early West", are modeled after Connecticut Hall.

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Connecticut Hall, Yale University". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b Higgins Schroer, Blanche; Snell, Charles W.; Bradford, S. Sydney (December 6, 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Connecticut Hall, Yale University". National Park Service.  and Accompanying photo from 1974 and etching from 1807/1910
  4. ^ a b c Franklin Tolles, Bryant (2011). Architecture and Academe: College Buildings in New England Before 1860. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. pp. 26–29. ISBN 1584658916. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Davis, Harold H. (1936). Connecticut Hall (Report). New Haven: Historic American Buildings Survey. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ct/ct0200/ct0207/data/ct0207data.pdf. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Schiff, Judith Ann (February 2001). "Nathan Hale Slept Here". Yale Alumni Magazine: 104. 
  7. ^ a b c d Mills Brown, Elizabeth (1976). New Haven: A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 122. 
  8. ^ a b Pierson, George W. (1955). Yale: the University College, 1921-1937. Yale University Press. p. 79. 

External links[edit]