Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Olmsted Administration Hall

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Institution Name: University of Evansville
Original/Historic Place Name: Administration Hall
Location on Campus: South Oval
Date(s) of Construction:
1921-1922original construction Miller, Fullenwider & Dowling
Designer: Miller, Fullenwider & Dowling
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: Indiana limestone
Walls: Indiana limestone
Roof: clay tile
 
Function:
ca. 1922old main (multipurpose, was sole university building until 1947)
ca. 1981-present (2006)administration
 

Narrative:
Founded in 1854, the Methodist affiliated Moores Hill Male and Female Collegiate Institute of southeastern Indiana was moved to Evansville in 1919 and renamed Evansville College. The Administration Hall was completed in 1922 for $315,000 and was the only building until 1947. Slowly, other buildings were built and the first building's function was gradually devoted to administration. Named the Olmsted Administration Hall (after Ralph E. Olmsted, the college's long-time business manager) in 1981, it remains at the head of the South Oval.

[from National Register Report]: The focus of the University of Evansville campus is the Administration Hall. Contructed of clay tile with Indiana limestone ashlar, the Collegiate Gothic style favored by the college's trustees and their architect- Miller, Fullenwider, and Dowling of Chicago- is apparent in the building's Tudor Gothic moldings, carved stonework, Middle Decorated tower, and informalized surface treatment. Originally used for classrooms and faculty and administration offices, the rectangularly massed structure contains a rear wing which once housed an auditorium for the college. The 1922 hall has been variously remodeled over the years. All in all, however, the building has enjoyed a high degree of sympathetic maintenance, and the current administration regards the integrity of the building as a priority.

The Administration Hall is sited at the terminus of an axis created by the main entrance to the campus on Lincoln Ave. and by the vista allowed by the large open space to the south of the building known as the Circle. This landscaped area was regarded as the institution's centralizing feature in the 1921 plan, and to a large degree this purpose has been observed. The Circle of the University of Evansville acts not only to heighten the visual impact of the Administration Hall and other buildings around it, but also to promote interaction among members of the collegiate community in the manner of the quadrangles of Yale or the Academical Village of Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia. Its flat, grassy expanse is encircled by large native deciduous trees.
 

References:

Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development. Evansville College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1983.

Indiana Limestone Quarrymen's Association. Indiana Limestone for School and College Buildings. Indiana Limestone Library, vol. 6, series B. Bedford, IN: Indiana Limestone Quarrymen's Association, 1924.

Klinger, George. We Face the Future Unafraid: A Narrative History of the University of Evansville. Evansville, IN: University of Evansville Press, 2003.

Olmsted, Ralph. From Institute to University. Evansville, IN: University of Evansville, 1983.

 

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Last update: November 2006