Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Van Vleck Hall

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Institution Name: Hope College
Original/Historic Place Name: Van Vleck Hall
Location on Campus: center of campus, bordering the Pine Grove/116 E. Tenth St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1857-1858original construction Van Vleck, John
Designer: John Van Vleck
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Italianate (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone with cement facing
Walls: wood frame with brick fascia
Roof: asphalt shingle on slope; modified bitumen on flat
ca. 1857private residence (principal's residence for Holland Academy, precursor to Hope College)
ca. 1857dining hall
ca. 1857classrooms
ca. 1857chapel
1857-present (2006)residence hall (women)

Van Vleck Hall was completed in 1858 under the direction of the academy principal and the hall's designer, The Reverend John Van Vleck. It served as a "literary institution," providing an education for Dutch immigrant youth. Van Vleck Hall lost its roof to fire in 1980, although the remainder of the hall survived. The hall is of historical significance, since it is one of only two public buildings in the city that survived the disastrous fire of 1871. The Michigan Historical Commission approved it in 1976 as a registered historic site.

This building is significant because it is an effective example of a balanced, well-proportioned Italianate style, sometimes referred to as Bracketed. Few buildings in this style are to be found in this region. Serving as it did all the functions of early Hope College (classrooms, reading room, refectory, chapel, dormitory, and residence for the principal), its educational role has been most vital to the college. It continues in use as a dormitory at the center of the campus, on the eastern side of the Pine Grove.


Bruins, Elton J., and Larry J. Wagenaar. Campus Alive: A Walking Tour of Hope College. Holland, MI: Hope College, 1999.

Stegenga, Preston J. Anchor of Hope: The History of an American Denominational Institution, Hope College. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1954.

Wichers, Wynand. A Century of Hope: 1866-1966. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1966.


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Last update: November 2006