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Built in the popular Queen Anne style of red brick, stone, and wood, Burton Hall was originally constructed as a dormitory for women. It had two floors of student rooms, with a ground level kitchen and dining area. During World War II it housed men training in Denison's V-12 military units, and today Burton provides the Music Department with office and studio space. It has undergone considerable remodeling but is a well-maintained building on Denison's fine arts campus.
Burton was built for women who attended Shepardson College, formerly the Young Ladies Institute. Shepardson women also took classes at Denison, and Shepardson consolidated with Denison in 1900, completely merging in 1927. Beginning in 1833, Granville was an important location for women's education, at one time having several women's colleges, and Burton Hall is part of the tradition of women's education that flourished in Granville. Burton was named for Dr. Nathan S. Burton and his wife, Sarah, founders of the Young Ladies Institute; Dr. Burton also served as acting president of Denison University. Burton Hall later was part of Denison's music conservatory, and in its current use, the building continues a strong association with Denison's mission of high quality music instruction. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of early women's education in Ohio.
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