Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Van Wickle Hall

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Institution Name: Lafayette College
Original/Historic Place Name: Van Wickle Memorial Library
Location on Campus: S. College Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1899-1900original construction Harris, John McArthur
Designer: John McArthur Harris (Philadelphia)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: rough-cut stone
Walls: Pompeian brick
Roof: tile
ca. 1900library
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (geology)

Lafayette's only remaining Romanesque revival building is Van Wickle Hall, built as the college library in 1899. It is similar in many ways to the small-town public libraries designed by H.H. Richardson (the Ames Memorial Library in North Easton, Massachusetts, and the Crane Library in Quincy, Massachusetts), although not quite so rugged. Signature features include the Richardsonian arched entryway, the high, horizontal bands of windows, and the eyebrow dormers (unfortunately removed at some point). The building is also distinguished by its fine terra-cotta decoration, which includes floral motifs, gargoyles, and open books.


Mattison, Robert Saltonstall. Lafayette College Architecture: In Context. Easton, PA: Friends of Skillman Library, 1991.

Narbeth, Pamela S. "Historical Survey of the Buildings of Lafayette College." Online (2006). Lafayette College, Easton, PA.

Shear, George. Architectural Style and the Lafayette Campus. [Easton, PA: Lafayette College], 1983.

Skillman, David B. Biography of a College: Being the History of the First Century of the Life of Lafayette College. Easton, PA: Lafayette College, 1932.


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Last update: November 2006