Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Carlsson Hall

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Institution Name: Augustana College (IL)
Original/Historic Place Name: Woman's Building
Location on Campus: 3601 7th Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1928original construction Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton
Designer: Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton (Chicago)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: limestone
Roof: asphalt shingles
1928-present (2006)residence hall (originally women's; from 1960, men's)

Dedicated as the Woman's Building in 1928, this facility was renamed Carlsson Hall after it became a men's residence in 1960. The symmetry of the facade and the composite pilasters which appear to hold up the dominant central pediment reflect the facade design of Old Main. There is a round window in the center of the pediment. The window now contains a stained glass representation of the school seal, presented by students living in Carlsson Hall during its 70th anniversary year. The seal depicts an open book, with Scriptura Sacra (Holy Scriptures) engraved on the left, and Sola Fide (by faith alone) on the right.

The building's original name suggested its purpose: housing the growing number of women students in the 1920s. Its construction was funded largely by gifts from the Women's Missionary Society of the Augustana Lutheran Synod, gifts almost lost because the location--less than three blocks removed from the primary men's residence of the day--was deemed dangerous by Emmy Evald, president of the Womens' Missionary Society.

The manner in which the building's place in the history of American higher education was secured proves Evald's suspicions were not groundless. In 1949, it was the site of the first recorded "panty raid," in which male students--most of them war veterans enrolled under the GI Bill--stormed Augustana's bastion of femininity, locking the house-matron in a closet in the process. The escapade was reported by wire services across the country, and thus a fad was born which continued on college campuses for the next two decades.


Brolander, Glen E. An Historical Survey of the Augustana College Campus. Rock Island, IL: Augustana Historical Society, 1985.

Historical Highlights of Augustana College, A Walking Tour. Pamphlet. Rock Island, IL: City of Rock Island Planning and Redevelopment Division, 2002.


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Last update: November 2006