Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Old Dorm 1833-1905

Marietta College's first building was completed in 1833, when the school was still known as the Marietta Collegiate Institute and Western Teachers Seminary.  Originally three stories high and featuring a tall belfry in the center of the roof, it was located on the site of the present Irvine Administration Building.  The structure was nearly destroyed by fire in 1846, and when repairs were made, a fourth floor was added and the tower was eliminated. 

This was the school's only building until 1850, so for many years the entire business of Marietta College was conducted in what was called "Old Dorm."  The first floor was used for classrooms, chapel, and the library.  Students were housed on upper floors, and a gymnasium was located in the basement. 

When Marietta College received funding from Andrew Carnegie for a new library, it was decided that the most appropriate place to build it was the center of campus, right where "Old Dorm" stood.  Many students and alumni protested the demolition of their former home and wanted the building to be moved. Officials were unable to save the badly deteriorating dormitory, however, and its walls were taken down in October of 1905. A former occupant noted that "if the old place had been given but a little more time it would have crawled away itself."  The salvaged material brought $400.