Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Hascall Hall

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Institution Name: Colgate University
Original/Historic Place Name: Chemistry Building (also Old Bio)
Location on Campus: Central Quadrangle
Date(s) of Construction:
1885original construction Butler, C B.
1906addition Harding & Seaver
1975-1977renovation Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects
Designer: C. B. Butler (Troy, NY), Harding & Seaver (Pittsfield, MA); Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone, brick
Roof: slate
1885-1930academic department building (chemistry, science)
1930-1975academic department building (biology)
1977-present (2006)academic department building (philosophy and religion)

Along with Eaton Hall (1884-1886), the Chemistry Building, now Hascall Hall, introduced the Romanesque to the campus; and its brick detailing also introduced polychromy to the campus palette. The Richardsonian characteristics of Hascall (a heavy, polychrome masonry shell and bold roof planes) defined one of the important architectural styles of the campus, echoed in James B. Colgate Hall (1889-1891) and the late twentieth century contributions of Herbert Newman (the 1980 Case library addition as well as the Drake/Curtis Complex of 1995).

As the first building set in front of a row of structures defined by West Hall, East Hall (1832) and Alumni Hall (1859-1862), the Chemistry Building initiated the campus's move to a quadrangle organization that was elaborated in the first decades of the twentieth century. The location may have been a response to a visit of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. in October of 1883.

The structure was the first exclusively academic building on campus, and its dedication to science reflected the growth and specialization of academics. Physically it provided a symbolic complement to the concentration of the Seminary in Eaton Hall (1884-1886). It entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.


The Colgate University Centennial Celebration: 1819-1919. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1920.

Levy, Steven S. Old Biology Hall [Colgate University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1973.

Williams, Howard. A History of Colgate University, 1819-1969. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969.


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