Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Bemis Hall

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Institution Name: Colorado College
Original/Historic Place Name: Bemis Hall
Location on Campus: 920 N. Cascade Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1908original construction Biscoe, Maurice
Designer: Maurice Biscoe
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: ignimbrite stone (Colorado volcanic rock)
Roof: slate shingles
 
Function:
ca. 1908-present (2006)residence hall
 

Narrative:
Bemis Hall (1908), named for benefactor Alice Bemis Taylor, was designed by Denver architect Maurice Biscoe in the Tudor Revival style. Like several nearby buildings, it was constructed of ignimbrite, a Colorado volcanic rock. Community and college founder William Jackson Palmer contributed to the hall's construction, aiding the college as he had done earlier with Cutler and Palmer halls. Bemis Hall was part of the college's continuing effort to offer safe, attractive quarters for its women students and to include amenities, such as a central lounge, that made the living experience sociable and pleasing. Coeducational from its founding in 1879, Colorado College built several dormitories at the turn of the century to house its women students. On-campus housing for out-of-town women protected them from external threat but also helped them resist the temptations of the world.

Bemis Hall faces a residential quadrangle just west of the main quad (Armstrong Quadrangle) that includes Ticknor, McGregor, and Montgomery halls. This residential precinct, still intact, reflects the college's ties to the traditions of New England and to the examples set by Oxford and Cambridge universities in England.

Bemis has a handsome lounge lined with wood paneling and ceiling beams that is used by women residents and for special college events. An adjoining dining room has a high vaulted ceiling rising two stories that is braced with Gothic wooden beams. High windows line three walls of the dining area. This room has long been a favorite campus dining room and is used for many special occasions.

In the late 1990s the college replaced the hall's deteriorating slate roof, a project funded in part by a grant of nearly $300,000 from the Colorado Historical Fund. The college matched the grant with more than $1 million of its own funds.
 

References:

Abbott, Carl, Stephen J. Leonard, and David McComb. Colorado: A History of the Centennial State. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press, 1982.

Abele, Deborah. Downtown Historic and Architectural Intensive Survey. Report. City of Colorado Springs, 1985.

Brettell, Richard. Historic Denver. Denver, CO: Historic Denver, 1979.

Buildings of Colorado College, Past and Present. 1984. Revised 1988, 1991, 1996. Special Collections. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Dober, Richard. Campus Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992.

Dober and Associates, Inc. The Colorado College Planning Study. [s.l.: s.n.], 1983.

Educational Facilities Laboratories. Bricks and Mortarboards: a Report from Educational Facilities Laboratories on College Planning and Building. [New York]: Educational Facilities Laboratories, 1963.

Freed, Elaine. Preserving the High Plains and Rocky Mountains. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Fuller, Timothy, ed. This Glorious and Transcendant Place. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1981.

Hershey, Charlie Brown. Colorado College, 1874-1949. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1952.

Langford, Roy. "The Buildings of the Colorado College." Revised manuscript. 1994. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Larson, Paul Clifford, and Susan M. Brown, eds. The Spirit of H. H. Richardson on the Midland Prairies: Regional Transformation of an Architectural Style. Minneapolis, MN: University Art Museum, University of Minnesota, 1988.

Loeffler, Bruce. Recapturing the Past: Envisioning the Future. Exhibition panels. Special Collections. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Loevy, Robert D. Colorado College: A Place of Learning 1874-1999. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1999.

Lucas, Andrea J. Bemis Hall [Colorado College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1997.

Lucas, Andrea J., and R. Laurie Simmons. Historic Resources of Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form. Washington, DC: U. S Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1997.

Main Street Design. Design Guidelines: North Weber/Wahsatch Historic District/Prepared for the City of Colorado Springs and the Comprehensive Planning Division, Planning, and Development by Main Street Design. [Colorado Springs, CO]: Main Street Design, 1990.
Manning Architects, John Prosser Architects, and Winter and Company. Colorado College: Historic Preservation. [New Orleans, LA and Denver, CO: Manning Architects, John Prosser Architects, and Winter and Company], 1993.

Michaud, Ellen C. "Alone on the Prairie." Colorado Magazine 4 (1983): 2-17.

Noel, Thomas J. Buildings of Colorado. Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings of the United States series. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects. Plans for planting and grading at Colorado College. [Brookline, MA: Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects], 1924.

Reid, J. Juan. Colorado College: The First Century, 1874-1974. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1979.

Reps, John W. Cities of the American West: A History of Frontier Urban Planning. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1979.

Riley, Gresham. The Colorado College--An Informal History. New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1982.

Sprague, Marshall. Colorado: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.

Sprague, Marshall. Newport in the Rockies: The Life and Good Times of Colorado Springs. Denver, CO: Sage Books, 1961.

Thompson and Rose Architects. Recapturing the Commons: The Colorado College Campus Master Plan: A Vision Through the Year 2025. Report. [Somerville, MA: Thompson and Rose Architects], 1995.

 

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