Crouse College

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Crouse College, Syracuse University
June03 007.jpg
Crouse College is located in New York
Crouse College
Crouse College is located in the United States
Crouse College
LocationSyracuse, New York
Coordinates43°2′18.51″N 76°8′14.08″W / 43.0384750°N 76.1372444°W / 43.0384750; -76.1372444Coordinates: 43°2′18.51″N 76°8′14.08″W / 43.0384750°N 76.1372444°W / 43.0384750; -76.1372444
Built1889; 131 years ago (1889)[2]
ArchitectArchimedes Russell
Architectural styleRomanesque revivalRichardsonian Romanesque
& Other.
NRHP reference No.74001285 [1]
Added to NRHPJuly 30, 1974

Crouse College, also known as Crouse Memorial College and historically as John Crouse Memorial College for Women, is a building on the Syracuse University campus. It was funded by John R. Crouse, a wealthy Syracuse banker,[3] and designed by Archimedes Russell. It is built in the Romanesque revivalRichardsonian Romanesque style.[4]

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[3] It is also one of the historical Comstock Tract buildings on the Syracuse campus. It currently houses Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts. Chiefly, its classrooms and auditorium are at the service of the Setnor School of Music.


Crouse College was home to the first College of Fine Arts in the United States and now is known for both its College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rose, Jules R., and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music.[5]


The first cornerstone for the new college was laid in June 1888, and the building was completed in September 1889 by the Norcross Brothers of Massachusetts at the cost of $500,000 dollars.[6][7] It was a gift from local merchant and banker, John Crouse.[8] The elder Crouse was a trustee of the university and built the college as a memorial to his late wife.[8] The university originally announced that it will be dedicated on June 22nd, but Mr. Crouse showed displeasure that the building would be dedicated before completion and Chancellor Sims backed down,[7][9][10] with dedication taking place on September 18, 1889.[2][11] The architect, Archimedes Russell, was not restricted as to cost by the donor,[2] and cost exceeded the planned budget.[12]

At the time of construction, it was the third building on campus and the highest structure in the city.[13] It was built in the Romanesqueue Revival style "with High Victorian Gothic qualities." The structure is supported by a "stout" granite foundation and the exterior is covered with Longmeadow brownstone.[14] Architectural details include high roofs, gables, dormer windows and rounded arches. The interior is "distinctively" Romanesque and carved hardwood woodwork designs, representative of the period, are displayed throughout.[5][12][15]

The building was intended for use as a women's college and was originally named the John Crouse Memorial College for Women;[5] however, John Crouse died during its construction and his son D. Edgar Crouse opened the institution for use by both men and women.[2]


The Crouse College underwent renovation in 2001,[16] 2004,[14][17] and most recently in 2019.[18] The three cupolas were removed and restored in 2019.[18]


Setnor auditorium and the pipe organ[edit]

An auditorium seating about 700 people was included, although intended at first as a chapel.[5][19] The auditorium underwent a renovation in 1998, which included replacing the seats with wooden chairs reminiscent of the originals, cleaning the chandeliers and organ pipes, and refinishing its hardwood floors.[19][20]

There is a pipe organ in the auditorium which is one of America's most important historic instruments. It was originally installed by the Roosevelt Organ Works of New York city in 1889 and was rebuilt by the Estey Organ Company of Vermont in 1924.[9][12] The Holtkamp Organ Company upgraded the organ in 1950 which incorporated electro-pneumatic controls.[12] The 3,823-pipe organ retains many of the original pipes.[20] It represents a style of American organ building that flourished in the mid-20th century and is closely associated with builder Walter Holtkamp. It is widely considered to be his magnum opus.[5]

Bell tower[edit]

The bell tower of the building housed the first "tower chimes" installed in Syracuse, which is still in use today.[5][15] The original nine bells (now 10)[21] ranged in weight from 375 to 3,000 pounds, and were manufactured by Clinton H. Meneely Bell Company of Troy, N.Y.[22] A student group The Chimesmasters from the Setnor School of Music are responsible for ringing of the chimes regularly throughout the academic year and for special occasions.[23][24] In 2014, they hosted a concert to celebrate the bell towers' 125th anniversary.[22]

Sculpture and stained glass[edit]

Winged Victory, a sculpture that was modeled after the original, which was discovered in the Mediterranean Sea and since moved to the Louvre, is located at the bottom of the main staircase.[25] The building also contains stained glass "associated with religious subject matter and spiritual renewal." The stained glass was designed by Richard Wolff, a former faculty member, and students from the college's School of Art and Design and was installed in 1970.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d "--". The Buffalo Commercial. Buffalo, New York. September 20, 1889. p. 2. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via The John Crouse Memorial College for Women, Syracuse University was formally opened and dedicated on Wednesday in the presence of a great throng of people which included many distinguished Methodists. Addresses were made by Chancellor Sims, Prof. Little, Prof. Riff, Dr. Buckly and others. Francis H. Root President of the Board of the Trusties, accepted the building as a memorial of John Crouse and his wife, from the only surviving son, D. Edgar Crouse. It is built of stone, in the form of an L, four stories high... In this (music) hall is the organ, on the largest in New York state.... the Architect Archimedes Russell was not restricted as to cost by the donor and it should not be surprising.
  3. ^ a b Brooks, Cornelia E. (March 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Crouse College / John Crouse Memorial College for Women". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2008-01-09. and Accompanying 3 photos, exterior and interior, from 1973 Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "History of VPA". College of Visual and Performing Arts. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Crouse College". Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, 2011. Archived from the original on 2017-05-20. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Cost blurb". Buffalo Evening News. Buffalo, New York. July 7, 1888. p. 3. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via The new Crouse Female College to be erected in Syracuse, will cost $500,000 and will be one the finest college buildings in the world.
  7. ^ a b "Pictures from Syracuse". Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express. Buffalo, New York. June 23, 1889. p. 4-5. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via The Crouse Memorial College, is a magnificent structure built by John Crouse Esq., the retired wholsale grocer, as a memorial to his deceased wife. It was begun December 24, 1887, by Norcross Brothers of Worcester, Masss., who finished their work May 15, 1889 The building is constructed of Kibbie Long Meadow red sandstone, after plans by Archimedes Russell, architect, of Syracuse. The extreme length of the building is 200 feet and the extreme breadth 162 feet..... The building was announced to be dedicated on Saturday, June 22nd, but is not yet ready, and its formal presentation to Syracuse University and dedication will not take place until it is complete in every particular. The exact date therefor is not known, but it will probably not be dedicated this commencement.
  8. ^ a b "Syracuse University Enlarged". New-York Tribune. New York, New York. June 8, 1888. p. 3. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via The first part of the exercises in connection with the laying of the cornerstone of the John Crouse Memorial College took place in front of the Hall of the Languages. About 3,000 people, seated on the campus, listened to the speakers. Bishop Warren, Andrew White Dixon of Cornell, Senator Hiscock, and Chancellor Sims were the major speakers.
  9. ^ a b "Syracuse". Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express. Buffalo, New York. June 16, 1889. p. 19. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via
  10. ^ "The College Dedication Must Wait Commencement Week". Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express. Buffalo, New York. June 23, 1889. p. 21. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via
  11. ^ "News Notes". Buffalo Weekly Express. Buffalo, New York. 19 Sep 1889. p. 1. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via The Crouse Memorial College for Women, the gift of the late John Crouse to Syracuse University, was dedicated yesterday.
  12. ^ a b c d "This Week: SU's Setnor School of Music" (PDF). The Rotary Club of Syracuse. September 13, 2019. p. 1. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  13. ^ Lassman, David (11 February 2015). "Central New York Spaces: Crouse College at Syracuse University (photos)". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  14. ^ a b "A Preservation Merit Award was given to Syracuse University, Office of Design and Construction for Restoration of Crouse College masonry and windows" (PDF). The Landmarkers. The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY). Fall 2005. p. 6. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Coeducation Will Win: A Review of its Triumps in the Empire State". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. July 19, 1888. p. 9. Retrieved 18 October 2020 – via ... The John Crouse Memonrial College costing nearly a half million dollars, when finished will be the handsomest and most complete college building in the world. Some idea of its size and completeness may be obtained from noting the facts that it is constructed of Long Meadow brown stone, covers area of 40,000 square feet, and five stories high. It is to be finished throughout in hard woods and with luxuriant furnishings especially designed for it... It might also be added that a pipe organ costing $25,000 and magnificent chime of bells costing $11,000 will complete the facilities of the students of the music.
  16. ^ "Crouse College". MCWB Architects. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Awards » Klepper. Hahn & Hyatt". Klepper. Hahn & Hyatt. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Masonry Restoration Begins on Trio of Crouse College Cupolas". SU News. May 23, 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Setnor Auditorium". College of Visual and Performing Arts. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  20. ^ a b Driscoll, Matthew J. (19 March 2009). "State of the City Program/ History of Crouse College" (PDF) (Press release). City of Syracuse. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  21. ^ Haley, Kathleen (August 23, 2016). "New Bells Added to Crouse College Chimes Expand Repertoire". SU News. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  22. ^ a b Blust, Erica (May 20, 2014). "125th Anniversary of Crouse Chimes to be Celebrated with Concert". SU News. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  23. ^ Mayo Cerqueiro, Pablo (1 July 2014). "Resounding Tradition: For 125 Years, Students have Rung the Crouse Chimes, Providing a Sonorous Soundtrack for the University Community". Syracuse University Magazine. Vol. 31 no. 2. p. 36. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  24. ^ Tulloch, Katrina (8 March 2018). "Peek inside Syracuse University's bell tower (video)". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  25. ^ Blust, Erica (September 16, 2016). "The Gift that Will Last 'Forever'". SU News. Retrieved 20 October 2020.

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