Murray Hall

Murray Hall -- now the east wing of Murray-Dodge Hall -- was the product of the tremendous upsurge in evangelical activity on the campus during the 1870s. it was constructed as the headquarters for the Philadelphian Society, the student religious organization that was at the height of its influence during the McCosh era, and was conceived as a place for members of the Society to meet and pray.[11-66]

Funds for the structure were donated through the estate of Hamilton Murray, Class of 1872, who had died at sea the year following his graduation. As a measure of McCosh's favor for this project, Murray Hall was rewarded with a prime location on the east side of the campus, parallel with Whig and Clio. Construction began in 1878, and the building was completed the following year.

(This location became even more prominent a few years later with the construction of Marquand Chapel. Students attending mandatory chapel services at Marquand passed by Murray, making it one of the most heavily trafficked spots on campus.) [34-17]

Murray Hall was designed in the Romanesque style of the neighboring academic buildings, but it lacked their chromatic contrast. It was a one-story structure composed of two main parts connected by a vestibule. To the south was a large auditorium-cum-prayer hall, with seating for 400. [34-18]
To the north was an octagonal reading room. [34-19]

By the end of the 19th century, the Philadelphian Society had outgrown Murray, and in 1899 built a square, Gothic-style building just west of Murray, and connected the two structures with a 52-foot-long covered walkway. The new two-story building, Dodge Hall, was 85 feet long and 40 feet wide. To harmonize with Murray, Dodge was built of the same brownstone; Murray itself underwent renovations on its roof to appear more "Gothic."

Dodge Hall was named for C.H. Dodge, Class of 1897, another alumnus who had died young. Its most prominent feature was the square 51-foot tower on the northeast corner. As the Daily Princetonian reported, oriel windows placed in the second story of this tower help "neutralize the ecclesiastical effect that might otherwise be produced."

Today, Dodge Hall remains the home of student religious organizations and the offices of the Dean of the Chapel, while Murray Hall has become the home of the secular Theatre Intime.


Go to Sidebars for Chapter 4