Matt Locke Ellis Hall
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Noted architect Charles L. Thompson designed this home for the president of Hendrix College at the request of Dr. John Hugh Reynolds, who became president of Hendrix in 1913 and held that position for 32 years. Reynolds accepted the presidency after receiving assurances that, among other things, a residence worth at least $8,000 would be built for him and his family on the Hendrix campus. The structure, which was completed in 1914, cost $16,517.85, including furniture, and was financed in part by gifts from alumni.
During his long tenure, Reynolds led the institution in the expansion of its campus. Hendrix College, A Centennial History by James E. Lester, Jr., reports: "Almost immediately upon his arrival, Reynolds hired John Nolen, a well-known Boston landscape architect, to plan a general building concept for the growth of the college. According to the Western Methodist, this move placed Hendrix at the forefront of a few progressive collegiate institutions like George Peabody College in Nashville, the University of Alabama, and Southern Methodist University, which were 'planning broadly for their future buildings.' The general plan that emerged incorporated the ideas of Grant C. Miller, a landscape architect from Chicago, and called for a new dormitory, a science hall, a gymnasium, and a new home for the president."
Although many things have changed on the Hendrix campus over the years, the basic layout of the institution envisioned by John Hugh Reynolds and the architects he worked with has remained in place.
The President's House has been used as office space--primarily for the Office of Admission and Financial Aid--since 1980. It was renamed Ellis Hall in honor of Dr. Matt Locke Ellis, who was president of Hendrix from 1945-1958.
Lester, James E., Jr. Hendrix College, A Centennial History. Conway, AR: Hendrix College Centennia Committee, 1984.
President's House [Hendrix College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1982.