Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Miller Hall

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Institution Name: Waynesburg College
Original/Historic Place Name: Miller Hall
Location on Campus: College St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1879-1899original construction
1963-1971interior alterations
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: standing seam metal; slate-type shingles
 
Function:
1899-present (2006)alumni center
1899-present (2006)chapel
1899-present (2006)library
1899-present (2006)administration
1899-present (2006)classrooms
1899-present (2006)old main (classrooms, laboratory, rotunda, president's office, library, chapel, Alumni Hall, and the literary society halls of Philo and Union)
 

Narrative:
Miller Hall was named in honor of Alfred Brashear Miller, President of Waynesburg College, who promoted the building's construction. It was constructed on a pay-as-you-go basis, and funds accumulated very slowly. Hence it took twenty-five years to construct and furnish. In 1874 the trustees approved the plan of the building designed by J. W. Drumm, an architect from Pittsburgh. Though the cornerstone was laid in 1879, the building was not dedicated until 1899, when all debts, totaling $65,000, had been paid.

Many of the characteristics of Miller Hall conform to what is known as the "Second Empire" style of architecture, so named for the French Second Empire, the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870). As more and more Americans became fascinated by the Paris of the Second Empire, French influence ushered in the "Age of Elegance" lasting from 1872 to 1913. Chief features of the style included high mansard roofs, elegant dormer windows, chimneys, colored glass, towers, elaborate ornamentation, and great height. The objective was ostentation in a "rash of jig-saw ornament."

Made chiefly of bricks baked near the site and of sandstone obtained from a quarry a short distance south of Waynesburg, Miller Hall has a high mansard roof with elaborate dormer windows on three sides and five chimneys. The arched windows were originally all of stained glass; those on the first two floors were replaced with clear glass during the 1963-1971 renovations. The most striking feature of the building is its elaborate entrance tower.

The building was designed to be a complete educational facility. On the first floor were classrooms, a laboratory, a spacious rotunda over the central portion, and the only administrative office - that of the President. On the second floor were classrooms, the library, and a chapel. The third floor contained Alumni Hall and the elegant halls of the literary societies - Philo on the west side and Union on the east. Heating in the early years was supplied by natural gas fireplaces in the President's office and the library. Elsewhere in the building, coal and wood ovens were used. Floors, doors, baseboards, balustrades, banisters, interior moldings of doors and windows, and paneling were of wood. The elaborately ornamented wooden ceilings were very high, reaching eighteen feet on the first floor, much higher in the literary society rooms, and still higher in Alumni Hall.

The main administration building of the campus, Miller Hall houses administrative offices, the education department, the chapel, and two conference rooms. In 1971 a new and attractive conference room was installed on the second floor and named "The Martin Room" after Edward Martin '01, governor of Pennsylvania, United States Senator from Pennsylvania, and Major General in the U.S. Army. The building also houses the Paul R. Stewart Museum, named after Paul Rich Stewart, president of the college from 1921-1963.

Miller Hall has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years. These renovations and restorations have been done tastefully, preserving the historic character of the building on both its exterior and interior. The building's 1999 exterior cleaning, repainting, and masonry restoration won an award for Restoration and Preservation from the International Masonry Institute.
 

References:

Wendel, Robert A., William H. Dusenberry, Edward A. Marotta, and Jerry L. Beasley. Miller Hall [Waynesburg College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1979.

 

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Last update: November 2006