Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Bexley Hall

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Institution Name: Kenyon College
Original/Historic Place Name: Bexley Hall
Location on Campus: 301 Gaskin Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1839-1843original construction Roberts, Henry
1904construction of Colburn Hall (library attached to original structure) Schweinfurth, Charles
1913interior renovation and addition of chapel Schweinfurth, Charles
Designer: Henry Roberts; Charles Schweinfurth
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Significance:
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick; stone
Roof: composite (hidden behind a high cornice)
 
Function:
1843-1968other (headquarters of Bexley Hall seminary with classrooms and residential facilities)
presentacademic department building (Art Department, with classrooms, studio spaces, and faculty offices)
 

Narrative:
Because Bexley Hall housed an Episcopal seminary on the College's campus for well over a hundred years, it has a special place in Kenyon's history. One of the earliest seminaries in the Midwest, it was the scene of many doctrinal disagreements during the mid to late-nineteenth century, most of which pitted evangelicals against tractarians. Some of these disagreements spilled over into the College, which as a result suffered a loss of students, faculty members, and a president in the years immediately following the Civil War.

Although some undergraduates took courses in the seminary, most never set foot in the building until it was turned over to the College in 1968, when Bexley Hall seminary became a part of the Colgate-Rochester group of divinity schools. Nevertheless, it is an important landmark for all alumni, serving as it does as the northern terminus of Middle Path, the nearly one-mile-long gravel walk that runs in a straight line through the middle of the campus to the front door of Old Kenyon on the south end.

While the exterior of Bexley Hall is in good condition, the interior - which has for three decades been used by the art department - is sorely in need of renovation. Kenyon recognizes the value of the building as one of the few remaining examples of architect Henry Roberts's work, and perhaps the only one in the United States.
 

References:

Bodine, William Budd, ed. The Kenyon Book. Columbus, Ohio: Nitschke Brothers, 1890.

Bush-Brown, Albert. "Image of a University: A Study of Architecture as an Expression of Education at Colleges and Universities in the United States between 1800 and 1900." Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1958.

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

Johannesen, Eric. Ohio College Architecture before 1870. [Columbus?]: Ohio Historical Society, 1969.

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

Sears, Robert. A Pictorial Description of the United States, Embracing the History, Geographical Position, Agricultural and Mineral Resources, Populations, Manufactures, Commerce and Sketches of Cities, Towns, Public Buildings, etc., etc., Interspersed with Revolutionary and Other Interesting Incidents Connected with the Early Settlement of the Country. Boston: John A. Lee, 1873.

Smythe, George Franklin. Kenyon College: Its First Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924.

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

 

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