Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Phoebe Hearst Memorial Hall

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Institution Name: Oglethorpe University
Original/Historic Place Name: Administration Building
Location on Campus: 4484 Peachtree Rd, N.E. (front of campus)
Date(s) of Construction:
1915original construction Morgan & Dillon
Designer: Morgan & Dillon
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1915administration
ca. 1994faculty offices (top floor)
ca. 1994classrooms (first and second floors)
ca. 1994other (university bookstore on lower level)

Originally named the Administration Building, this hall was built in 1915. In 1947 it was rededicated and given its present name in honor of the mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst, an Oglethorpe benefactor. Hearst Hall is the only historic campus building without a tower form. This first building was originally designed to be all-purpose in its function, according to floor plans in the 1919 Bulletin of the university. On the lower level was a dining hall and storage rooms. On the first floor were classrooms and laboratories, primarily. The top two floors were for student dormitory rooms.

The entrance to Hearst Hall is a heavy recessed Gothic arch, situated off center on the right of the building as one approaches it. Directly inside is the Great Hall, designed as a large living room for students and faculty. It resembles an English country manor and remains much the way it was in 1915.

Directly under the Hearst Hall entrance steps, in the basement of the building, is the much publicized Crypt of Civilization. This sealed chamber is the first multi-millenial time capsule ever conceived and one of the largest in the world. It was a scientific effort to preserve for posterity a complete cross-view of daily life in the twentieth century as well as an encylopedic depiction of civilization since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The chamber was ceremonially sealed in 1940. It is not to be opened until 8113 AD (from National Register report, "Oglethorpe University Historic District" [1994]).


Thomas, Kenneth H. Oglethorpe University Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1994.


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Last update: November 2006