Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Edwards Gym

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Institution Name: Ohio Wesleyan University
Original/Historic Place Name: Edwards Gymnasium
Location on Campus: 105 South Sandusky St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1906original construction Yost, J. W.
Designer: Widow and sons of late John Edwards; J.W. Yost
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: finished brick
Roof: tile
ca. 1906-present (2006)gymnasium (also athletic department c. 2004)

Edwards Gymnasium's groundbreaking ceremony on March 28, 1905 was performed by acting-President Whitlock holding a plow drawn by about 100 students. A Gift of the widow and sons of the late John Edwards, the building was dedicated February 22, 1906 and replaced the 1888 Fairbanks Gymnasium. Built of brick, some term this building the most beautiful on campus. Originally, there was a brick archway over the entrance drive which was presented by the class of 1908; it was later torn down. This building, along with the Pfeiffer Natatorium (late 1940s) and the large Branch Rickey Physical Education Center, dedicated in 1976, now serve as the physical education and sports facilities of the campus.

From National Register report:
Another reform of this period was the introduction of standardized physical education at the turn of the century, replacing informal sports and military drill. Edwards Gymnasium, built in 1905, was the first significant athletic facility on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. Its construction provided a focus for "physical culture" at the University. Athletics was given another major boost at OWU with the construction of Selby Field in 1929, one of the outstanding stadiums of its day to be built in Ohio. Both structures reflect their utilitarian function in the design that was selected.


Edwards Gymnasium/ Pfieffer Natatorium. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1985.

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

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

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