Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Beebe Hall

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Institution Name: Wellesley College
Original/Historic Place Name: Beebe Hall
Location on Campus: Hazard Quadrangle
Date(s) of Construction:
1907-1908original construction Schweinfurth, J. A.
Designer: J. A. Schweinfurth
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: granite block
Walls: brick, white limestone trim
Roof: slate
 
Function:
1909-present (2006)dining hall
1909-present (2006)residence hall
 

Narrative:
From Massachusetts Historical Commission report (1989): Situated in the southwest corner of the Hazard Quadrangle, Beebe Hall, built in 1908, is a mirror image of Shafer Hall, located in the southeast corner. The general plan of the building is similar to that of Pomeroy Hall, with a six-story tower on the southern end, a projecting four-story dormitory wing which forms part of the west side of the quad, and a small residential wing (formerly the servants' quarters) on the westerly side of the tower.

The dormitory is of red brick construction on a granite block foundation and has white limestone trim. The tower of Beebe Hall is the most prominent part of the Hazard Quad when approaching from other parts of the campus. Built into the slope, the tower rises six stories (five above the courtyard of the Quad) and retains similar textural ornamentation as Pomeroy and Cazenove Halls, including stone quoins, stringcourses, window surrounds, brick rustication, polychrome bricks in a diamond or lattice-work pattern, a castellated parapet, and Flemish-style parapeted gables. The four polygonal corner turrets have light green copper curvilinear roofing and well-defined wrought iron weather vanes.

The general interior plan of Beebe Hall is similar to that of Pomeroy and Cazenove Halls. The dining room is located on the first level, down one flight from the main reception area due to the slope at this point. Stained glass inlay on the main entrance hall windows commemorates Captain Beebe's seafaring days with seals of various types of sailing ships.

This is the third dormitory to be built on the Quad. Its style, representative of the Elizabethan Gothic as understood by the architect Julius Schweinfurth and the selection committee, is in keeping with the style determined by Pomeroy, the donor of the first dormitory. The decision had been made prior to the design that a group of dormitories would be built and that they would relate to each other. Leading landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. was consulted regarding the appropriate location and relationship of future buildings.

Beebe Hall was built with an $80,000 bequest from Captain John A. Beebe who was a Nantucket sea captain and father of Alice Beebe, a Wellesley student in 1892. Captain Beebe's donation was an important one for Wellesley College as it served two purposes: the financing of the dormitory, and the completion of the fundraising necessary for the Andrew Carnegie matching grant to build a library. The money came to the College in 1908.

See also Hazard Quadrangle, Cazenove Hall, Pomeroy Hall, Shafer Hall.
 

References:

Fergusson, Peter, James F. O'Gorman, and John Rhodes. The Landscape & Architecture of Wellesley College. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College, 2000.

Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

Schuyler, Montgomery. "The Architecture of American Colleges: X. Three Women's Colleges: Vassar, Wellesley & Smith." Architectural Record 31 (May 1912): 513-37.

 

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