Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Boiler House Theatre

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Institution Name: Davis & Elkins College
Original/Historic Place Name: Boiler House
Location on Campus: 100 Campus Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1924original construction Martens, Walter F.
Designer: Walter F. Martens (Charleston, WV)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: limestone, sandstone
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
1924-1971facility management building (main source of heat for the college)
1971-present (2006)theater (seats 115)

The boiler house was erected as the main source of heat for the college, providing steam heat for the two classroom buildings, Liberal Arts Hall and Science Hall (now Albert Hall), when they were constructed in 1924.

In 1971, when individual gas boiler units were installed in the various campus buildings, the huge boilers were cooled for the last time and eventually removed. The building was still structurally sound and was transformed into the Boiler House Theatre. Although the original character of the interior was retained, theater lighting was installed along with flexible seating arrangements allowing a variety of stage configurations. A new ceiling, lights, showers, and a restroom were built in the area which had earlier been utilized for the coal bin.

Today, seating accommodates 115 persons, and there are dressing rooms and storage space for costumes and props. On the exterior, the 100-foot smokestack, slate roof, cupola, and colonial trim have been retained so that the facility emits a rustic character.


Ross, Thomas Richard. Davis & Elkins College: The Diamond Jubilee History. Elkins, WV: Davis & Elkins College, 1980.

Ross, Thomas Richard. Henry Gassaway Davis: An Old-Fashioned Biography. Parsons, WV: McClain Printing Co., 1994.


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Last update: November 2006