Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Stockham Woman's Building

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Institution Name: Birmingham-Southern College
Original/Historic Place Name: Stockham Woman's Building
Location on Campus: south of Academic Quad
Date(s) of Construction:
1931original construction Miller & Martin
Designer: Miller & Martin
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: limestone
Walls: brick
Roof: flat
 
Function:
ca. 1931other (originally designed for co-ed activities and programs; incl. women's physical education dept. and rooms for women's organizations such as YWCA and sororities)
ca. 2004-present (2006)alumni center (and development offices)
 

Narrative:
The Stockham Woman's Building, a gift of Mrs. William Herbert Stockham, is a significant physical addition to the Birmingham-Southern College campus and continues to be a focus of alumni activities. Like Munger Hall, the President's House, and Simpson Preparatory School, the Stockham Woman's Building was built during the administration of Guy Everett Snavely, who sought to expand the College's curriculum beyond the classical and ministerial studies that had been the thrust of the College's predecessors, Southern University and Birmingham College. Stockham Woman's Building was part of that effort.

Stockham Woman's Building is a two-story, neoclassical structure of varitone red brick with limestone trim, the brick laid in staggered columns of stretchers and headers to create a pattern. The "Piano nobile" basement foundation is of coursed limestone ashlar. The colossal gabled portico on the south facade is supported by four Ionic limestone columns; on the north facade the gabled central bay is defined by projecting sides of brick as in the Phillips Library, with a central entry loggia and two massive limestone Ionic columns "in antis." The main building entry is on this side, with double doors, flanking limestone pilasters and entablature above and a fanlight in the transom panel, a small iron rail above, and a large pendant lantern hanging from the ceiling.

Primary windows are nine-over-nine wood sash in the basement level, likewise on the main level with the exception of the French doors with transoms in place of windows under the south portico; on the second level they are primarily four-over-four sash, and on the ends they are six-over-six sash. End gable walls are decorated with blind limestone cartouches, and there are secondary entrances at the main level.

The Woman's Building was conceived as a venue for women's activites and programs, and when opened it housed the women's physical education department in the ground level basement and reception rooms and offices for the YWCA and other women's organizations on the main floor. The upper floor contained suites for sororities, predating the individual houses. The building is now primarily an alumni office, although the main reception room, Stockham Parlor, is still used for campus events and gatherings.
 

References:

Nelson, Linda, and Michelle Crunk. Birmingham-Southern College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1999.

Parks, Joseph Howard, and Oliver C. Weaver. Birmingham-Southern College, 1856-1956. Nashville, TN: Parthenon Press, 1957.

Stayer, Samuel N., and Robert G. Corley. View from the Hilltop: The First 125 years of Birmingham-Southern College. Birmingham: Birmingham-Southern College, 1981.

 

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Last update: November 2006