relevent science buildings of late 1800 and early 1900


For this weeks research I sought to compare the construction of franklin and marshall’s new science building with what other colleges were doing at the same time period. These are the buildings that I saw to be most relevant.


Rankin Hall of Science (1906-1907)

Carroll college

Architect: Patton and Miller

Foundation: Waukesha limestone

Walls: Waukesha limestone

Roof: Spanish terra cotta tiles (original);


Funding for the Rankin Hall of Science came largely from a gift of Ralph and Elizabeth Voorhees. This gift was to help with the construction of three campus buildings, including this science building which was named after his friend and former Carroll College (WI) President, Walter Rankin. The building opened for classes in either 1906 or 1907, and the fabric of the building remains much the same today as when it was first built.

It is possible that Rankin Hall of Science was designed by Patton & Miller, because some aspects of the structure’s massing, hip roof, and rusticated stone exterior are similar to elements in the firm’s other buildings. But this attribution is uncertain and requires further research.

The other two buildings funded by the Voorhees’ generous gift were Voorhees Hall, and Voorhees Cottage, a modest president’s house that has since been razed.

Further sources

Langill, Ellen. Carroll College: The First Century, 1846-1946. Waukesha, WI: Carroll College Press, 1980.



Hughes Science Hall (1911)

Dakota Wesleyan University

Architect: Unknown

Foundation: Sioux quartzite

Walls: Sioux quartzite
Roof: wood; slate tiles


Hughes Science Hall is a four-story Sioux quartzite building. The cornerstone was laid on August 1, 1911, and dedication ceremonies marking its completion were held June 5, 1912. Science laboratories and classrooms were on the lower two floors, while the upper stories housed the School of Music and a new chapel.

During World War I the basement of Science Hall was temporarily converted into barracks for the campus Student Army Training Corps. Later, a basement room temporarily housed the library after College Hall burned in 1955.

Three beautiful, large stained-glass windows in the chapel were covered, possibly in the 1940s, and left hidden for decades until 1976, when Science Hall was renovated. Labs and offices were renovated in 1960, and a small greenhouse was added to the south side of Science Hall, just off the door to one of the laboratories, in the late 1970s. The biology labs were remodeled in 1984.

Ambassador George McGovern, the democratic presidential candidate in 1972, is a 1946 graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University and served on the faculty at DWU from 1950-1955. His office was on the third floor of Science Hall.

In 1996 Science Hall was renamed Hughes Science Hall in honor of Dr. Clifford Hughes, a 1927 graduate of the university. The music department has been housed in the basement since 1997, when the music program was restored at DWU. Music and theatre productions are held in Patten-Wing Theatre, which used to be the chapel. The theatre is named after Darryl Patten, class of 1960, a long-time associate professor of communication and theater, and Mary Wing, a former associate professor from the same department who taught for more than 16 years and was also Patten’s teacher.

In 2002, the doors on the north side of Hughes Science Hall were replaced and restored to their original appearance in a project funded in part by the South Dakota State Historical Society through the Deadwood Fund grant program. Hughes Science Hall is a contributing (historically significant) building within a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Follow up sources:

Coursey, O. W. A History of Dakota Wesleyan University for Fifty Years (1885-1935). Mitchell, SD: Dakota Wesleyan University, ca. 1935.



Bio-Physics Building (1889)

Clark university

Original name: Chemical Building; Science Building

Architect: Earle, Stephen

Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick; stone (trim)
Roof: tar paper


The Bio-Physics building is an irregular Victorian brick structure with stone trim around the sills and a stone belt course above the high basement. Robert H. Goddard, the “father of modern rocketry,” used his lab in the basement of the Bio-Physics Building for his early rocketry experiments and construction. This culminated on December 6, 1925 with the rocket test in this building, done on a static rack, which was the first time a liquid-fueled rocket was ever able to exert enough force to lift its own weight. A few months later, on March 16, 1926, Goddard took the rocket out to a farm for the first flight of a liquid-fueled rocket. Furthermore, at the celebration of Clark’s twentieth anniversary, Nobel Prize winners A.A. Michelson, Theodore W. Richards, and Ernest Rutherford gave lectures here.


Bush-Brown, Albert. “Image of a University: A Study of Architecture as an Expression of Education at Colleges and Universities in the United States between 1800 and 1900.” Ph. D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1958.



Mary Frances Searles Science Building

Bowdoin College

Original name: Chemical Building; Science Building

Architect: Vaughan, Henry Woodbury and Leighton

Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: slate


Designed by Henry Vaughn around 1892, Searles Hall put Bowdoin in the forefront of undergraduate science education at the end of the 1800s. Vaughan’s design has been called “Jacobethan” by Henry Russell Hitchcock–“a successful hybrid, a transitional phase of English architecture which includes Gothic and nascent Renaissance elements,” (Patricia McGraw Anderson, The Architecture of Bowdoin College [Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1988], 42)–a style which influenced future college campus buildings. Vaughan composed the principal facade, on the quadrangle, in several interlocking sections. The central portion incorporates two narrow octagonal towers that extend the full height into the projecting gable. To either side is a recessed area four bays wide, each terminating in a straight-sided gable lower than that of the central position. On either side beyond is a projecting four-bay mass, narrower than its neighbor but capped by a generous curved Dutch gable. In turn, these sections are flanked by octagonal crenellated turrets. These substantial and picturesque elements also create a handsome transition to the north and south facades, which contained, respectively, entrances to the Departments of Physics and Chemistry.

In 1998, the architectural firm Cambridge Seven from Boston carried out the renovation and re-use of the Searles, for which they received a 2002 Education Design Showcase Grand Prize Award. They designed a very successful contextual addition visible from Maine Street. The tripartite design Vaughn originally created was no longer functional for 21st century instruction in Biology and Physics. The teaching style it embodied–the lecture with a separate lab–was out-of-date, and so the building was renovated to house modern curricula in computer science, mathematics, and physics. Biology moved to the Druckenmiller Science Complex. Chemistry had moved to Cleaveland Hall in the 1950s.

Follow up sources:

Anderson, Patricia McGraw. The Architecture of Bowdoin College. Brunswick, Me.: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1988

Dober, Richard P. Campus Architecture: Building in the Groves of Academe. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996.




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