Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Presser Hall

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Institution Name: Agnes Scott College
Original/Historic Place Name: Presser Hall
Location on Campus: corner of South McDonough St. and "Buttrick Dr."
Date(s) of Construction:
1940original construction Logan & Williams
Designer: Logan & Williams
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: clay block, brick, and limestone veneer
Roof: currently asphalt shingles, slate, and copper replacement (summer 2003)
ca. 1940auditorium (Maclean Auditorium)
ca. 1940chapel (Gaines Chapel and auditorium)
ca. 1940administration (offices)
ca. 1940classrooms
ca. 1940academic department building (music studios)
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium (Maclean Auditorium)
ca. 2004-present (2006)chapel (Gaines Chapel and auditorium)
ca. 2004-present (2006)faculty offices
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (music studios)

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.


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Last update: November 2006