Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Founders Hall and Seminary Hall

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Institution Name: Augustana College (IL)
Original/Historic Place Name: Augustana Seminary Hall, Ascension Chapel, Dormitory
Location on Campus: 820 38th St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1923original construction Cerrin & Horn
Designer: Cerrin & Horn (Rock Island, IL)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: brick with limestone trim
ca. 1923library
ca. 1923classrooms
ca. 1923-present (2006)residence hall
1923-present (2006)chapel
1923-present (2006)administration

An open-sided, medieval-like cloister walk joins Founders Hall and Seminary Hall with an arcade of pointed arches. In the Middle Ages, cloister walks were often attached to the sides of churches to form a quiet area for prayer and reflection and to connect the church with other areas of the monastery.

Both buildings share red brick facades with contrasting masonry trim around the doors and windows, common features of Tudor buildings. Grouped windows across the facade and open pierced stone designs at the roof line are other examples of large-scale structures using Tudor designs. An interesting narrow band of low-relief sculpture is often overlooked. Seen best from the enclosed courtyard formed by the cloister walk is a bay jutting out from the wall above the main entrance to Founders Hall. The narrow band of sculpture wraps about the top of the grouped, second-floor windows. Evident in the band is the Chi-Rho symbol for the name of Christ surrounded by intertwined grapevines, symbolizing the blood of Christ partaken during Communion.

Entering Founders Hall via these doors and proceeding to the staircase ahead leads to a stained glass depiction of Augustana's sojourn to Rock Island. The upper left "Springfield" window recalls a brief period when the teachers and pastors who would later found Augustana were part of a nascent educational enterprise which would evolve into today's Illinois State University.

Founders Hall contains Ascension Chapel. Founders was expanded in 1955, doubling the size of the chapel, the name of which derives from the stained glass window at its west end. Below the window are carvings depicting the heraldry of the Apostles.


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