Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Elizabeth Hall

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Institution Name: Stetson University
Original/Historic Place Name: Elizabeth Hall
Location on Campus: 421 N. Woodland Blvd.
Date(s) of Construction:
1892original construction Pearson, George T.
1897addition of outer wings
Designer: George T. Pearson
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian, Colonial revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: continuous brick
Walls: masonry, brick with patterned brick exterior
Roof: composition shingles
 
Function:
ca. 1892library
ca. 1892-present (2006)administration (offices)
ca. 1892-present (2006)classrooms (previously including laboratories)
ca. 1892-present (2006)chapel (currently used as chapel)
ca. 1892-present (2006)auditorium (used as concert and lecture hall)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (digital arts studio)
 

Narrative:
Elizabeth Hall is Stetson University's signature building, a stately building of patterned brick rising three stories, with a four-story central brick pavilion topped by a snowy white cupola. In the early days the tower contained a water tank, which supplied the campus with water until city water became available. In 1915 the Eloise bell chimes replaced the water tank, but they were moved in 1934.

The first major building on campus built by Stetson's early benefactor, Philadelphia hat manufacturer John B. Stetson, it is named for his wife, Elizabeth. The south wing contains a 786-seat chapel, with a magnificent German-made Beckerath 2,700-pipe manual organ surrounded by stained glass windows. The chapel is dedicated to Stetson's son Ben, who died at the age of 6.

Elizabeth Hall was the first campus building to be wired for electricity during construction. Total construction cost for the 1892 central portion and two 1897 wings was $125,000 - more than the combined cost of all other Florida higher education buildings to that date.

The chapel remains Stetson's main concert hall, and is often used by lecturers as well. Those appearing on its stage have included: William Jennings Bryan, Basil Rathbone, Robert Frost, Jimmy Carter, Andres Segovia, Ralph Nader, Desmond Tutu, Drew Pearson, Julian Bond, and Buckminster Fuller. Stetson's School of Music also stages about 100 concerts on its stage each year, and brings a variety of visiting musicians as well, adding greatly to the cultural offerings of the community.

Elizabeth Hall was renovated in 1991 and 2001, and is in excellent condition.
 

References:

Johnston, Sidney. "The Historic Stetson University Campus in DeLand, 1884-1934." Florida Historical Quarterly (January 1992): 281-304.

Lycan, Gilbert L. Stetson University: The First Hundred Years. DeLand, FL: Stetson University Press, 1983.

Shiver, W. Carl. Stetson University Campus Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1991.

A Walk with the Founders: Stetson University Campus Historic District. Booklet. [DeLand, FL: Stetson University/Public Relations Office], 1996.

 

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Last update: November 2006