Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Founders Hall

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Institution Name: Haverford College
Original/Historic Place Name: The School Building
Location on Campus: Founders Green
Date(s) of Construction:
1832-1834original construction Seneff, George
Designer: George Seneff
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: fieldstone
Walls: rubble, barn-dashed stucco
Roof: slate with copper fittings
ca. 1834old main
1834-1877residence hall
1834-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration (including president's office)

Founders Hall is the oldest major building on campus. The historical character, the proportions and aesthetic qualities of the building, and the context in which the building stands are important to the rest of the campus.

The historical character of the building rests primarily in the massing and the main facades of the front section. The interior of the building has been changed so much from the original that little remains of historical value. However, the proportions of the exterior, window and door openings, gables, and porches, along with the simple exterior detailing; and the texture and color of the stucco finish, are essential parts of the historical quality of the building.

Simplicity of form is a valuable part of the Founders Hall's aesthetics: the simple masses of the building; the straightforward porches, porch gables, and roof gables and cornices; the unadorned stucco finish of the walls; the lack of ornament on the porch, windows, balusters, and columns; the simple window surrounds and sills; the forthright path of entry; the simplicity of the forms and their messages; and the earthy coloring of the building all express the economy and simplicity of the architecture of Founders Hall. In its original parts and qualities Founders is thoroughly Quaker, perhaps the best Quaker educational structure in the region.


Gaines, Thomas A. The Campus as a Work of Art. New York: Praeger, 1991.

George E. Thomas Associates, Inc. Haverford College Historic Resources Campus Survey. Philadelphia: George E. Thomas Associates, 1999.
Kammerstein, Gregory, ed. The Spirit and the Intellect: Haverford College, 1833-1983. [Haverford, PA: Haverford College, 1983].

Schuyler, Montgomery. "The Architecture of American Colleges V. University of Pennsylvania, Girard, Haverford, Lehigh and Bryn Mawr Colleges." Architectural Record 28 (September 1910): 182-212.


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Last update: November 2006