Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
John Jefferson Flowers Memorial Hall

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Institution Name: Huntingdon College
Original/Historic Place Name: John Jefferson Flowers Memorial Hall
Location on Campus: 1500 E. Fairview Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1909-1911original construction Warren, H. Langford Smith, F. Patterson
Designer: H. Langford Warren; F. Patterson Smith
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: brick and cement
Walls: custom made, rough-faced brick
Roof: slate
 
Function:
ca. 1911-1990chapel
1911-present (2006)classrooms
1911-present (2006)administration
ca. 1912other (swimming pool in basement)
1912-1930library
ca. 1990-present (2006)other (print shop)
ca. 1990-present (2006)faculty offices
 

Narrative:
In the early 1900s, it was decided that in order to continue expansion, the College (then the Alabama Conference Female College) would need to relocate. The College was renamed the Women's College of Alabama, and in 1907 a 58-acre tract of land was purchased in the Cloverdale community of Montgomery, AL. The family of a prominent Alabama Methodist, Mr. John Jefferson Flowers, wishing to make a generous gift to Christian education in honor of Mr. Flowers, agreed to finance the construction of John Jefferson Flowers Memorial Hall, the first building on the Montgomery campus of the Women's College of Alabama. The College commission hired H. Langford Warren of Warren and Smith in Boston, as architect on the project. Warren was a professor of architecture at Harvard University and held the Chair of Architecture until just before his death in 1917 (Rhoda Coleman Ellison, History of Huntingdon College: 1854-1954 [Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1954],
148-150, 153-154).

Flowers Hall represents the "visually commanding building" referenced by former Auburn University professor Anne Henderson as central to many of the Olmsted firm's campus plans of the time period. The location of the building influenced the location of all subsequent buildings, drives, and paths, as well as placement of the main entrance to the Huntingdon College campus.

Flowers Hall is designed in the Collegiate Gothic style. The 3 ½ story brick building has an 11-bay wide front facade that is divided in half by a projecting, gabled bay and also has gabled bays which project at either end of the building. The central bay displays an arched frontispiece and an arched "tympanum." The bay also has a centrally located, three-sided bay window flanked by two statues. The rear elevation is dominated by a 2 ½ story central wing with a gabled roof crowned by a steeple. Hip roofed dormers with casement windows punctuate the roof on all elevations.

After its completion in 1911, Flowers Hall housed the administrative offices, as well as classrooms, improvised dormitories, and a kitchen and dining room for its residents. Flowers Hall was also the location of the College's chapel, which would later receive an extensive renovation in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The opening of the Julia A. Pratt Residence Hall in 1912 freed much needed space for additional classrooms in Flowers Hall. The removal of the improvised dormitory bedrooms also allowed for the college's library to expand to fill the newly vacated east wing of the first floor of Flowers Hall (where it remained until the construction of the Houghton Memorial Library in 1930). The kitchen and dining hall were also relocated to Pratt Hall, allowing the construction of a swimming pool in the basement of Flowers Hall (Ellison, 170-71).

John Jefferson Flowers Memorial Hall underwent an extensive renovation in the late 1990s and today houses most of the College's administrative offices, including the Office of the President and the College Provost, the Office of Admissions, and the Office of Institutional Advancement. The second and third floors of Flowers Hall house student classrooms and faculty offices, and the basement houses additional classrooms and the College's print shop.
 

References:

Ellison, Rhoda Coleman. History of Huntingdon College: 1854-1954. Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1954.

Enzweiler, Susan, and Trina Binkley. Huntingdon College Campus Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 2000.

Grandison, Kendrick Ian. "Negotiated Space: The Black College Campus as a Cultural Record of Postbellum America." American Quarterly 51, no. 3 (1999): 529-79.

Memorandum to Melanie Betz from Anne Henderson, November 30, 1992. Montgomery, AL: Alabama Historical Commission.

Olmsted, Frederick Law, Jr. Report on Methodist College for Women, Montgomery, Ala. [Brookline, MA: Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects], 1908.

 

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Last update: November 2006