Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Peirce Hall

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Institution Name: Kenyon College
Original/Historic Place Name: Peirce Hall
Location on Campus: 201 College-Park St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1928-1929original construction Granger, Alfred
Designer: Alfred Granger
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance:
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone
Roof: slate
 
Function:
1929-presentdining hall (auxiliary spaces include lounge, student organization offices, and faculty apartments)
 

Narrative:
Alfred Granger, the architect of Peirce Hall, was a Kenyon alumnus who did further study at MIT and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Although he designed numerous railroad stations and some fine buildings on other campuses (especially at Lake Forest College), Peirce Hall - with its Collegiate Gothicism filtered through an Arts and Crafts sensibility - may be his masterpiece. Both outside and in, it is meticulously detailed in both stone and wood, nowhere more so than in the soaring Great Hall, which was inspired by dining halls at Oxford and Cambridge. Each of the beautiful windows in the Great Hall contains stained glass medallions by Charles Connick that refer to works of American and British literature. In the spaces between the windows, the walls are hung with portraits of early benefactors and presidents. On the landings of the stairwell in the building's great tower, two three-part sets of stained glass windows, also by Connick, relate the history of the College's founder, Philander Chase.

This building is remembered by alumni for having been called "the last Kenyon will ever need" by then-president William Foster Peirce, for whom it is named. The figure of a berobed scholar atop the weathervane that surmounts the building's tower is said to have been modeled on Peirce himself.

Although most of Peirce Hall's public areas have been well maintained over the years, the building is about to undergo a thorough renovation and restoration, much of which will focus on its outdated kitchen and storage areas, its dearth of restrooms, and the inaccessibility of much of the building to people with physical handicaps.
 

References:

Greenslade, Thomas Boardman. Kenyon College: Its Third Half-Century. Gambier, OH: Kenyon College, 1975.

Siekkinen, George. Kenyon College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1975.

Stamp, Tom. "This Will Do." Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin 22, no. 1 (Spring 2000).

 

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Last update: November 2006