Oberlin Then and Now: Ladies Hall the First

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Historic photo of Ladies Hall the First  Present day view of Conservatory of Music

Then: Ladies Hall the First, 1835, Now: Conservatory of Music, 1964, Minoru Yamasaki


Ladies Hall was begun in the summer of 1834, and was completed in the autumn of 1835. It was located at the northeast corner of the lot now occupied by the Wright Zoological Laboratory [Bibbins Hall]. It was a frame building of three stories, with two wings extending toward the south. Its dimensions were 38 by 80 feet and the wings were 24 by 30. This building was the first dormitory for women, and accommodated sixty students. For a year or two after it was built the third story was used as a dormitory for men, and the west flight of stairs was appropriated for their use. Later the entire building was used for the accommodation of women. In addition to the thirty-four rooms for lodging and study, the first Ladies Hall included accommodations for the Steward’s Department, a dining hall seating two hundred, and a reading room for young women. Two literary societies made use of the assembly room at the northeast corner of the second floor. The first Ladies Hall stood until the completion of the second Hall in 1865, when it was divided into five dwelling houses and moved into various parts of the village.

Source: From the 1936 Alumni Catalogue and a set of building cards created by the College Secretary's office, both located at the Oberlin College Archives

Photo courtesy of Oberlin College Archives