William Bay Irvine Administration Building
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Marietta laid the cornerstone for its first library building in 1906. Coincidentally, the location of the college library had come full circle. When chartered in 1835, the College gained a library which occupied a room in Old Dorm, erected by the College's predecessor in 1833. The library moved north on campus row to the Chapel Building in 1850. Twenty years later, the library occupied an entire floor in the new Alumni Hall. With plans for a library building, the trustees decided to raze Old Dorm in order to construct the new building in the center of campus. The three-story building, including the basement, was built of red brick with white stone trim, a hipped terra cotta roof, and broad front steps leading up to the entrance from campus row. Beyond the small entrance hall with stairs to the other floors was the main reception area with a wooden circulation desk. A wooden balustrade defined the second floor balcony around the reception area, and a stained glass dome filtered light into the first floor. Two large reading rooms, each with six alcoves formed by tall book stacks, extended from either side of the reception area. A closed stack room, thoroughly fireproofed and fitted with three stories of steel shelving, was built at the rear of the library, creating a T-shaped building. With the opening of a new library building in 1961 and the excellent structural condition of the old library building, President W. Bay Irvine decided to convert the old library into a central administration building. After extensive remodeling, including the addition of an entrance on the mall/street side of the building, the William Bay Irvine Administration Building, which perpetuates the name of the 12th president and 1917 alumnus, opened in 1963.
Several years before construction of the 1906 library building, the waning literary societies voted to merge their collections with the college library. The need for more library space was becoming evident. Andrew Carnegie is more commonly associated with public libraries, but for Marietta, Carnegie is connected its first library building. Through the efforts of W. W. Mills, trustee and benefactor, the 1906 library was constructed in part with a gift from Carnegie. Generations of students entered its doors to study and/or gathered on the broad steps to discuss issues of the day both serious and social. The Marietta College library was one of eight academic libraries in Ohio funded by Carnegie. It has recently been reported that all eight buildings have been renovated for other campus uses, attesting to their sturdiness of construction.
Armentrout, Mary Ellen. Carnegie Libraries of Ohio: Our Cultural Heritage. Wellington, OH: Privately printed, 2003.
Beach, Arthur G. A Pioneer College: The Story of Marietta. [Chicago]: Privately printed. [John F. Cuneo Company], 1935.
Larson, Jens Frederick, and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933.
McGrew, Vernon E. In the Various Branches of Useful Knowledge. Marietta, OH: Marietta College, 1994.