Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Francis Bailey Hall

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Institution Name: Urbana University
Original/Historic Place Name: Bailey Hall
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1850-1853original construction West, W. Russel
Designer: W. Russel West
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Italianate (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick covered with stucco
Roof: asphalt
ca. 1853-1865old main
ca. 1865-1985academic department building (science)
ca. 1985-1996other (not in use)
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms (6)
ca. 2004-present (2006)museum (Johnny Appleseed Museum)

Urbana College was founded by the Swedenborgian minister Reverend James Stewart, who in 1849 solicited Colonel John H. James for support. James contributed ten acres of land with the stipulation that the grant be matched by $2000 and that a building be erected within three years. Completed in 1853 and open for classes that fall, Bailey Hall was designed in an Italianate style by W. Russel West, also the architect of the Ohio State Capital Building in Columbus.

The building was named after James' father-in-law, Francis Bailey, a revolutionary soldier under George Washington, printer by trade and the first American man to receive the Swedenborgian faith. The official printer for the Continental Congress, Bailey published the Freeman's Journal and printed the Declaration of Independence, the treaties with Great Britain and many other important documents associated with the Revolution. He was later hired by Washington to invent a method to guard against counterfeiting money. Bailey was also a great friend and contemporary of Benjamin Franklin and was a signatory to Franklin's will. Franklin frequently attended the religious reading sessions held in the Bailey home.

As a Swedenborgian, Bailey also printed the True Christian Faith papers that Johnny (John Chapman) Appleseed distributed during his missionary work throughout his life. In fact, Johnny Appleseed made an offer of land he owned in Ohio to the Swedenborgian Church to use for a school in return for more Church literature. That transaction was never consummated, but his offer provided inspiration to the eventual founding of Urbana University some years later. Because of this connection, the Johnny Appleseed Museum and Education Center was established in Bailey Hall in 1997. At the time, the building had not been used since 1985, and the University was without direction on how to get support to preserve Bailey Hall and its sister building Barclay Hall. The Museum helped us raise over $1,000,000 and is currently undergoing a complete renovation/restoration. The Museum has been housed in a downtown storefront during this construction period and will be moved back into Bailey Hall upon completion.

Bailey Hall is listed on the National Historic Registry as part of the "Historic Buildings of Urbana College."


Gannon, Loren S., Jr. Urbana CollegeHistoric Buildings. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1980.

Higgins, Frank. The Will to Survive--Urbana College (1850-1975). Urbana, OH: Urbana College, 1977.

IMLS and the Department of the Interior. Steven McQuillin, assessor. Conservation Assessment Program Report [re: Urbana University, Urbana, OH]. February 2001.

Weisenburger, Francis P. A Brief History of Urbana University. Pamphlet. [Urbana, OH: Urbana University], 1950.


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Last update: November 2006