Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Alden Hall

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Institution Name: Allegheny College
Original/Historic Place Name: Alden Academy
Location on Campus: east side of North Main St. (north of Cochran Hall)
Date(s) of Construction:
1915original construction Charles W. Bolton & Son
Designer: Charles W. Bolton & Son (Philadelphia)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: gray vitrified brick and terra cotta
Roof: asphalt shingle
pre- 1915other (preparatory school)
ca. 1915academic department building (chemistry and biology)
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (laboratories and offices; geology and computer science)

The site where Alden Hall now stands was originally occupied by Alden Academy, the Preparatory School associated with the College. When it closed in 1912, the Chemistry Department moved in, only to be displaced due to a fire on January 15, 1915. The new building, erected in 1915, retained the old name in honor of the College's founder, Timothy Alden, and funds were provided by Sarah B. Cochran and Andrew Carnegie. Much of the planning work was undertaken by biology professor Chester A. Darling. This expansion was achieved by tearing away the former chapel part of the building and adding a 70-foot extension to the east. The east-west axis of the building was enlarged to 120 feet long, with the main entrance relocated from North Main Street to face south onto George Street. With its original red tile roof, proportions, and details of its Beaux-Arts classical style, Alden Hall harmonized with nearby Cochran Hall. The building retains much of its original interior decoration, including the oak floors and wide entrance hallway with several display cases intended to serve as a museum. Over time, settling of foundations would create a fault line between the older and newer sections and a small difference in elevation; the wave it creates in the main hallway is now appreciated by the building's inhabitants not as a deficit but as a lovable peculiarity. It is an irony frequently remarked upon that one of the oldest buildings inside houses the newest discipline of Computer Science.


Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates. Deferred Maintenance and Building Renovation Cost Study [Allegheny College]. Report. [Pittsburgh, PA: Burt Hill Kosar Rittelman Associates], 1999.

Celli Flynn Brennan. Campus Master Plan. [Pittsburgh, PA: Celli Flynn Brennan], 2002.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates. Allegheny 2000. Master Plan. 1987. [Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates], 1987.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates. Heart of the Campus Report. 1987.[Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates], 1987.

Helmreich, Jonathan E. Historic Campus Tour. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, 2001.

Helmreich, Jonathan E. Through All the Years: A Browser's History of Allegheny College [working title for publication celebrating College Bicentennial]. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, forthcoming.

"Old Allegheny." Allegheny College Bulletin (January 1922).

Rolland/Towers. Campus Master Plan [Allegheny College]. [New Haven, CT: Rolland/Towers], 1992.

Smith, Ernest Ashton. Allegheny College--A Century of Education. Meadville, PA: Tribune Publishing Company, 1916.

Stephens, D. M. Old Allegheny: A Handbook of Information. Meadville, PA: Allegheny College, 1921.

Stotz, Charles M. The Early Architecture of Western Pennsylvania. New York: William Helburn, Inc., for the Buhl Foundation, 1936.


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