Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Slocum Hall - Reading Room

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Institution Name: Ohio Wesleyan University
Original/Historic Place Name: Slocum Library Reading Room
Location on Campus: 75 South Sandusky St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1898original construction Slocum, Charles E.
Designer: Charles E. Slocum
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: clay stone
Roof: clay tile
ca. 1898-1966library
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (study and reading area)
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

Slocum Library replaced Sturges Hall, which had been the OWU library from 1855 to 1898. A heated controversy over the location of the new library erupted between the donor, Charles E. Slocum, and the OWU Trustees. Slocum wanted the trustees to demolish the inadequate Thomson Chapel, which was in disrepair, and build the new library on that site between University Hall and Sturges Hall facing South Sandusky Street. In the end, Slocum prevailed and the library replaced Thomson Chapel.

Slocum Library was erected in Coursed Ashlar rough faced stone with a Renaissance front. The interior was impressive, with an enormous stained glass ceiling over the second floor above the large reading room. Incorporated in the stained glass are portraits of famous people throughout history, including Abraham Lincoln, John Wesley, James Russell Lowell, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, Victor Hugo, George Bancroft, George Washington, St. Paul, Martin Luther, Michelangelo, Moses, Beethoven, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Sir Walter Scott and Julius Caesar.

Slocum served as OWU's library from 1898 until 1966 when the current Beeghly Library was built.


Hubbart, Henry Clyde. Ohio Wesleyan's First Hundred Years. Hammond, IN: Conkey Company, 1943 .

Murchland, Bernard, ed. Noble Achievements: The History of Ohio Wesleyan University--From 1942 to 1992. Delaware, OH: Ohio Wesleyan University, 1991.

Slocum Hall [Ohio Wesleyan University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1985.

Tull, Barbara Mitchell. 150 Years of Excellence--A Pictorial View of Ohio Wesleyan University. Delaware, OH: Ohio Wesleyan University, 1991.

Williams, Judith B. Ohio Wesleyan University Thematic Group. National Register of Historic Places nomination report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1985.


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Last update: November 2006