Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Samuel Mather Hall

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Institution Name: Kenyon College
Original/Historic Place Name: Samuel Mather Hall
Location on Campus: 203 North College Rd.
Date(s) of Construction:
1924-1925original construction Garfield, Abram
Designer: Abram Garfield
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone
Roof: composite (hidden behind a high cornice)
ca. 1925academic department building (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
ca. present (2006)faculty offices
ca. present (2006)other (laboratories)
ca. present (2006)classrooms
ca. present (2006)academic department building (Psychology, Neuroscience)

Kenyon's first building solely for the study of science, Samuel Mather Hall was completed in 1925. Designed by architect Abram Garfield, a son of U.S. President James A. Garfield, the building was hailed at the time as the most modern facility of its kind in the country. Although designed to harmonize with other Collegiate Gothic buildings on campus, it is in many ways a very modern structure, with a striking rear façade made up almost entirely of windows. On the interior, the single row of supports has allowed the building to be reconfigured several times to keep pace with changing modes of research and teaching in the sciences.

Samuel Mather Hall stands as a lasting testament to the lifelong friendship of two of the Midwest's premier industrialists of the early twentieth century, Samuel Mather and Henry Dalton, partners in the Cleveland firm of Pickands Mather. Funds for the building were provided by Dalton, who insisted that it be named for Mather. Both men were long-time trustees of the College.

Samuel Mather Hall is in fine condition both outside and in, as a result of a thorough renovation of the building completed in 2002. A 1960s building that was appended to the hall's north side was demolished at that time, and the stone and windows on that side were restored to their original appearance.


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

Klauder, Charles Z., and Herbert C. Wise. College Architecture in America and Its Part in the Development of the Campus. New York and London: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929.

Knox College. Memorials in American Colleges. Galesburg, Ill.: Knox College, [1930?].

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