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Presser Hall, which houses the college's music department, is one of several Collegiate Gothic Revival buildings making up the south border of the campus's main quadrangle. Built in 1940, the three-story building was named for Theodore Presser of Philadelphia, who established the Presser Foundation, an agency that contributed $65,000 toward the building. The total cost of the building was $275,000, a sum raised through a late-1930s cooperative campaign with other area colleges.
The original design by Logan and Williams called for the construction of a separate chapel in memory of Frank H. Gaines, Agnes Scott's first president, but in the final plans the chapel and music facility were combined. The original drawings also called for removal of a giant dogwood tree growing on the site, but President James Ross McCain had the plans altered to save the tree. McCain said this change in the plans cost an additional $10,000 and the tree thus became known as the $10,000 dogwood. Although age eventually claimed the tree, it has been honored in art: one of the limbs was crafted into four wood-turned bowls. Presser Hall was dedicated on November 1, 1940, and the Gaines Chapel dedication occurred in January 1941. One of the most important features of the chapel is the four-manual 3,000-pipe Austin organ.
McNair, Walter Edward. Lest We Forget: An Account of Agnes Scott College. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1983.
Sayrs, M. Lee, and Christine S. Cozzens. A Full and Rich Measure. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1990.
Sharp, Leslie N. South Candler Street--Agnes Scott College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1994.