Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Pioneer Hall

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Institution Name: Iowa Wesleyan College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Institute Building
Location on Campus: Center Campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1844-1845original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
ca. 1844residence hall (women's boarding home)
ca. 1844private residence (faculty)
ca. 1844president's house
ca. 1844classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (Division of Language and Literature)

Iowa Wesleyan College grew out of the creation of the Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute, which was established through An Act of Incorporation passed by the Territorial Legislature in 1844, prior to Iowa becoming a state. The history of the building's construction is documented in the daybook of Rev. Aristides J. Huestis. Huestis was hired as financial agent and was responsible for raising the money for the building and also did a great deal of the construction himself. Upon completion he was hired as the first president of the Institute, lived on the second floor with his family, and also worked as a teacher. The Mt. Pleasant Institute opened in January of 1846, making the Institute Building, now known as Pioneer Hall, the oldest or one of the oldest educational buildings west of the Mississippi River still in use.

In 1973 $35,000 was spent on the restoration and improvement of Pioneer Hall. Not much has been done in 30 years and the interior of the building is showing signs of hard use.


Corkhill, Thomas E. "The Birth of Iowa Wesleyan." Mt. Pleasant Iowa Wesleyan, November 30, 1896.

The Day Book of Aristides J. Huestis. Archives, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant, IA.

Haselmayer, Louis A. A Sesquicentennial History of Iowa Wesleyan College (1842-1992). Mt. Pleasant, IA: Iowa Wesleyan College, 1992.

Hutchinson, Greg Stephen, John David Langholz, and Wesley Ivan Shank. Pioneer Hall [Iowa Wesleyan College]. Historic American Buildings Survey report and photos. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.

Iowa Wesleyan University: Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa. Chicago: Acme Publishing Co. 1888.

Waring, Edmund H. "Chronicles of the Iowa Wesleyan University." Iowa Classic (March-September 1874).


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Last update: November 2006