Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Porter Gymnasium

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Institution Name: Wesleyan College
Original/Historic Place Name: Porter Gymnasium
Location on Campus: Lane Dr., SW corner of quadrangle
Date(s) of Construction:
1928original construction Walker & Weeks
Designer: Walker and Weeks, Cleveland, Ohio
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: poured concrete
Walls: brick
Roof: shingle
 
Function:
ca. 1928auditorium
ca. 1928chapel (small)
ca. 1928-present (2006)gymnasium (physical education classes, sport events, dance studios)
 

Narrative:
Named by the trustees in honor of the late James Hyde Porter, a Wesleyan benefactor and longtime trustee, the Porter Gymnasium building houses a heated swimming pool, a weight room, and a basketball/volleyball court, as well as a dance studio, classrooms, dressing rooms, showers, and offices. The arena seats 700.

Over the roof of the gym is the weathervane. The design, custom-crafted in 1928 in honor of athletic programs at the first women's college, represents college women engaged in a game of basketball. The two-ton ball and spire blew down in a storm several years ago and was stored in the attic of the gym for some time. A fifty-foot crane and a crew of three men were required to hoist the weathervane back in place.

Before the Porter auditorium was built, all campus assemblies, including religious services, convocations, and student assemblies, were held in Porter Gym. It was next to the dining room, then the primary gathering place on campus.
 

References:

Akers, Samuel L. The First Hundred Years of Wesleyan College, 1836-1936. Macon, GA: Wesleyan College, 1976.

Miller, Margaret. "The Founding and Early History of Wesleyan College." M. A. thesis, University of Georgia, 1935.

Quillian, William Fletcher. A New Day for Historic Wesleyan. Nashville, TN: Printed for Wesleyan College, Publishing House Methodist Episcopal Church, [1928?].

Rees, Frances. "A History of Wesleyan Female College from 1836 to 1874." M. A. thesis, Emory University, 1935.

Thomas, Kenneth H., Bamby Ray, and Lynn Speno. Wesleyan College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 2004.

 

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Last update: November 2006