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Parker is the second oldest building at Bates College and was one of the first coeducational college residence buildings in the nation. It anchors the northwest corner of the main campus quad.
Built in 1857, Parker Hall was the first dormitory on campus. Named for Judge Thomas Parker of Farmington, ME, who contributed $5,000 towards its construction, it housed both male and female students. It was divided into two complexes of apartments, with men on the north side and women on the south, sharing a common dining room in the basement. Each room was furnished with a bedstead, spring bed, mattress, stove, table, chairs, wardrobe, mirror, sink, wash bowl, and wood box for a room fireplace/stove.
Renovations over the years brought many changes, including electricity and central heat. At one time a baseball cage, used for indoor practice, was located in the basement. In the summer of 1963 a fire which started in a top floor storage area caused about $100,000 in smoke and water damage to much of the dorm and destroyed the top floor. A renovation in 1967-1968 added two stair towers and interior improvements. Over the years the roof line was altered when the individual room fireplace chimneys were removed and a shed dormer replaced older gable dormers.
During World War II, Parker Hall was used to house some of the men of the Navy V-12 program.
Selected collections. Campus survey, aerial photographs, archival photographs. Bates College,
Tolles, Bryant Franklin. "College Architecture in New England before 1860 in Printed and Sketched Views." Antiques 103 (March 1973): 502-509.
Tolles, Bryant Franklin. "College Architecture in Northern New England before 1860: A Social and Cultural History." Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1970.
Tolles, Bryant Franklin. "Maine State Seminary: Gridley J. F. Bryant and Antebellum Architectural Master Planning." Old-Time New England 78 (Spring-Summer 2000): 41-55.