Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Humphreys Hall

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Institution Name: St. John's College (MD)
Original/Historic Place Name: "The Boarding House"
Location on Campus: front right, facing College Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1835-1837original construction Long, Robert Cary, Jr.
Designer: Robert Cary Long, Jr.
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
ca. 1837academic department building (science)
ca. 1837-present (2006)residence hall
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (bookstore)

Humphreys Hall was the second campus building, and the first to be erected specifically for college use. Named for the Rev. Hector Humphreys, college principal from 1831 to 1857, Humphreys was built to serve as a dormitory and boarding house for out-of-town students.

Designed by Baltimore architect Robert Cary Long, Jr., and built by Elijah Wells, Humphreys Hall is an excellent example of castellated Gothic Revival, notable for its octagonal towers at the corners. In the early twentieth century, the structure, now too antiquated to serve adequately as housing, was renovated for use as a science building. In 1958 the interior was again remodeled as a dormitory. The college bookshop in the basement displays the original center support of the building, a foundation wall of brick culminating in a row of round-headed arches.


Dunbar, Florence T. Humphreys Hall [St. John's College]. Historic American Buildings Survey report and photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1964.

Tilghman, Tench Francis. The Early History of St. John's College in Annapolis. Annapolis, MD: St. John's College Press, 1984.

Trieschmann, Laura, and Kim Williams. Humphrey's Hall, St. John's College. Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties report. Crownsville, MD: Maryland Historical Trust, 2000.

Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.


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Last update: November 2006