Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Benson Wood Art Building

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Institution Name: McKendree College
Original/Historic Place Name: Benson Wood Library
Location on Campus: The top of College Hill, west view
Date(s) of Construction:
1918original construction (Fred Ganschinietz, builder) Rinaker
Designer: Rinaker, first name unknown; Fred Ganschinietz, builder
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: brick and cement
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (art)

Benson Wood was the first free standing library building on campus. The structure has two floors. The main floor has large vaulted ceilings with beams and is open in design with the exception of temporary partitions to allow for separate art rooms. The basement is also used for various art rooms. Some of the windows on the main floor contain stained glass designs. Like the other campus buildings, it has a red brick exterior and a slate roof. Benson Wood was the last of the expansion buildings from the 1910s.

As the college library from 1918 to 1969 Benson Wood has fond memories for many alumni. But more than sentiment makes this building important; its unique design and basic purpose speak to an earlier, simpler time. Benson Wood is at the westernmost end of a quadrangle on College Hill, which includes Old Main, Carnegie and another building not included in the historic survey.


McKendree College History, 1928-1978. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing, 1996.

Selected items in College collections (including yearbooks, newspapers, catalogs, clippings). Archives. McKendree College, Lebanon, IL.

Steen, Robert, McKendree College. Lebanon, IL: McKendree College, 1948.

Walton, William A. Centennial McKendree College History with St. Clair County. Lebanon, IL: McKendree College, 1928.


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Last update: November 2006