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Holbrook Hall is one of several buildings on campus that posses significant historical, design, and cultural statements. The three buildings of the Shaw estate represent in their history and design the late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century practice of the building of grand "cottages" and estates driven by the unusual wealth of the time. These houses reflected baronial tastes in design and statement. Particularly in its proximity to Boston, the Shaw estate stands as a good example of the desire and ability of the wealthy--if not eccentric--Shaw family to build this estate. The buildings seek to recreate an English full manor house and outbuildings. The designs are an adaptation of that era to English/baronial roots writ larger by the late nineteenth Century American wealth. While extravagant in their original purpose, the buildings have a level of quality, grace, and grandeur that simply cannot be repeated in this day and age. The grandeur of that era, however, was not sustainable, as evidenced by the College's ability move to the Shaw Estate during the Depression. The Shaw fortune had collapsed and the whole economy could not support such living. As a result, the College took as its new base an estate that was vacant and had gone into decay. The opportunity to transform these grand buildings, Shaw Hall in particular, into the basis of the Mount Ida campus is one of the important factors in the history and uniqueness of the College. It is important that these buildings be maintained and showcased not only for their significance to the College, but as examples of a grand architectural, historical, and cultural, era now past.
Glessner, Richard H. and Sandra J. Glessner. Mount Ida at 100--Tradition Enhanced by Innovation. Chelmsford, MA: Northeast Offset, 2000.