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Forest Hall, the first building of Wabash College and known only as the college edifice at the time, opened its doors on December 3, 1833, as the Crawfordsville English and Classical High School. The founders' intention was to secure a college charter as soon as feasible. They opened the Wabash Teachers' Seminary and Manual Labor College, which by 1839 was simply Wabash College.
The first building was frame and originally stood in a deep woods overlooking the valley of Sugar Creek (at the corner of what are now Blair St. and Lane Ave.). It had two stories with a basement level which opened out on the back and housed the steward's family. Forest Hall was in use for only about three years before plans were being made to purchase the "new" campus. By the time of the first commencement in early July of 1838, the present campus and new college edifice (Old South Hall) were already in use and Forest Hall had been abandoned.
In the mid-19th century, Caleb Mills bought Forest Hall and eventually gave it to the college. The first principal and teacher of the new school, Mills had also rung the bell to welcome the first twelve students to Forest Hall in 1833. After four moves and many uses, Forest now is the focal point for the historic corner of the College Mall and appropriately houses the Department of Education. The interior has been altered over the years, but many of the original elements are still visible and could be restored.
Montgomery County Interim Report. Indianapolis, IN: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1986.
Larson, Jens Frederick, and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933.
Osborne, James I., and Theodore G. Gronert. Wabash College: The First Hundred Years, 1832-1932. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1932.