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Gurley Hall is sited on historic Sage Park, a public commons that forms an integrated public/private venue for both academic and community events and re-establishes the Historic District as a social and entertainment space. Sage Park is a half-acre public square donated by Dutch farmer Jacob Van Der Heyden to the trustees of Troy in 1796. It had been known as Seminary Park until 1917, one year after the founding of Russell Sage College.
Gurley Hall is one of three original buildings of the Troy Female Seminary. The Seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in 1910 and relocated to their present campus on Pawling Avenue. Russell Sage College for Women was established in 1916 on the former grounds of the Seminary. Built in 1891, Gurley Hall was constructed to accomodate the Seminary's growing enrollment. It served as the main classroom, office, and library building from 1891 to 1915. Originally constructed as a two-story building with a basement, a third story was added around 1919. When Russell Sage College was established in 1916, Gurley Hall served as the College's primary classroom and administration building. In 1960, the interior was extensively renovated by Boston architects Larsen, Bradley & Hibbard and a fourth floor was added. The original exterior fenestration of that renovation was modified in a 2002 renovation restoring more historically appropriate windows and frames.
Gurley Hall continues to serve as the primary classroom and academic office facility on the Troy campus, housing the majority of Sage's academic programs including history, political science, economics, and psychology. The five-story building accomodates 100 courses and over 1,600 students per semester, more than any other facility on either of Sage's two campuses.
Peckham, Mark, and Caroline King. Central Troy Historic District [The Sage Colleges]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1986.