Albion Interactive History / Central Building

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Buildings / <Albion College

Central Building, 1841

    Destroyed by Fire

Block +
US Census Block # 34-118

Historic Designation +
Albion Area Historical Architectural Survey, 1985

Despite its simplicity of exterior outline, the new structure must have been an impressive sight to the visitor to this tiny village. It faced west, occupying a 100 by 50 foot space atop a rise of ground called “the hill.” It was built of brick, but its exterior was covered with stucco to make it look like stone, and it rose three stories above a shallow basement just as Robinson Hall does now. Gildart, 41

The Central Building measured 40 by 100 feet and was sometimes referred to as “Ladies’ Hall.” It was three stories high (exclusive of a fine basement for Steward’s Rooms and the dining hall)” and contained a reception room, rooms for the “preceptress,” or forerunner of the dean of women, and “enough well furnished and neatly furnished rooms toaccommodate 60 lady students, and Rooms for the Conservatory of Music.” Gildart, 87

The structure provided space for chapel, dormitories, “boarding hall” in the basement, and classrooms, and was the institution’s only building for more than ten years.The college announced through the catalog of 1905-1906 intention to rebuild this first college structure. For more see Robinson Hall.

Early print of Central Building showing portion of Bell House in rear.

In 1923 the Central Building was gutted by a second disastrous fire.

The Central Building, the first building on the Albion campus, was remodeled and renovated in 1906 and became known as Robinson Hall. This picture shows what the building looked like shortly after the renovation. But Robinson Hall was ravaged by fire December 16, 1922, and was rebuilt to appear as it does today.

Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.


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