Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Sandefer Memorial Hall

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Institution Name: Hardin-Simmons University
Original/Historic Place Name: Sandefer Memorial Hall
Location on Campus: 2333 Hickory St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1949original construction David S. Castle & Company
Designer: David S. Castle and Wyatt C. Hedrick
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Modern/post-WWII, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, engineering
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: metal post and beam construction
Walls: masonry walls, concrete floors and deck, stone facia
Roof: asphalt
ca. 1949library
ca. 1949-present (2006)other (offices of VP of Academic Affairs, VP of Finance, Business, Accounting, Registrar, Financial Aid, Information Management, Printing Services, Human Resources, Media Relations, and Computer Services)
ca. 1949-present (2006)administration
ca. 1949-present (2006)admissions office

Sandefer Memorial Hall was erected in 1949 at the center of the Hardin-Simmons University campus. The hall is named in honor of the university's longest serving president (1909-1940), Jefferson Davis Sandefer. J. D. Sandefer led major building campaigns, was an important Baptist educator, and was much loved in this West Texas region.

Sandefer Memorial Hall was originally designed by David S. Castle of Abilene, with Wyatt C. Hedrick updating the plans and overseeing the construction by Rose Construction Company. The building was designed to house the library on the two upper floors and the administrative offices on the first floor, with additional offices in the basement.

Ralph Ellsworth, in his book Planning the College and University Library, claims that, "Angus Snead Macdonald, an imaginative pioneer in the field of library construction, began in the early thirties to sense the need for a type of library in which spaces might be used for either storage of books or work space for people. . . . Hardin-Simmomns was the first to use his (hollow column modular) system of construction. . . . This concept has come to be called modular planning."

From its opening in 1949 until 2001, this building housed the Office of the President. The library was removed to a new building in 1976 to provide both additional library space and administrative space. Sandefer Memorial Hall continues to be an administrative hub for the university.


Ellsworth, Ralph E. Planning the College and University Library Building. Boulder, CO: Pruett Press, 1968.

Hardin-Simmons University Facilities Master Plan. [n.d.] Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX.

Richardson, Rupert N. Famous Are Thy Halls. Abilene, TX: Abilene Printing & Stationary Company, 1976.

Stackhouse, Yvonne. Hardin-Simmons University, a Centennial History. Abilene, TX: Hardin-Simmons University, 1991.


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Last update: November 2006