Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Main Memorial

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Institution Name: Westminster College (PA)
Original/Historic Place Name: Old Main Memorial
Location on Campus: 319 S. Market St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1929completion of construction Thayer, Albert
Designer: Albert Thayer
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: local sandstone
Roof: tile
ca. 1929other (offices)
ca. 1929theater (small)
ca. 1929classrooms
ca. 1929old main
1929-present (2006)bell tower
ca. 2004-present (2006)old main (more offices and fewer classrooms than originally, and the theater moved out of the building)

Old Main Memorial is the heart of the college. It was built in 1929, after a 1927 fire destroyed "the college," the original main building at Westminster, which dated from 1862 and had been known affectionately as "Old Main." The dominant feature of Old Main Memorial is a massive tower that rises from the ground floor tower room to a height of 160 feet. In the top of the tower there are bells that automatically strike the quarter hours and a carillon that can provide live renditions of familiar and seasonal melodies. The tower is floodlit at night, and it dominates the old quadrangle both day and night. The college logo has been changed from the college seal to the tower. Extending from the tower across the south end of the building is the Senior Terrace, which is associated with many college traditions, including the Senior Sing, the crowning of the May Queen, and college commencements.


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Last update: November 2006