Hogue Hall once occupied the center of the campus for Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois. For 150 years it stood as a symbol of the college.
Its history could be called revolutionary. In 1855, Almira College for Women was founded by Reverend John Brown White and Stephen Morse. In the 1850’s women’s colleges and a favorable opinion of female education were predominately East Coast ideals. Almira College was one of the earliest iterations of that as far west as Illinois. The college taught young women for 23 years. “Old Main,” which housed the college, was built between 1855 and 1864. In 1892, the school was sold to the Free Methodist Church and became Greenville College. Old Main’s name changed to Hogue Hall, in honor of the first president of the school, Wilson T. Hogue. During its lifetime, the building housed administrative offices, dorm rooms and classrooms.
In 2008, the building met the wrecking ball due to severe structural concerns. Almost a decade later, BR&P was faced with the task of memorializing the iconic building for the newly named Greenville University. Two distinct design approaches were considered, a modern interpretation of the tower and a reconstruction of a portion of the original structure.
A modern approach was looked at initially. BR&P proposed a painted steel frame, with a smaller steel frame outlining the tower’s windows. Ultimately the committee made up of Greenville University community members appreciated the effort, but felt it lacked the presence called for on such an iconic building. We agreed. Our other approach called for invention within convention. Much like the original, the tower would be constructed out of masonry, size and proportion would be based upon the original as much as possible, the structure would be designed to be long-lasting and would weather gracefully.
Construction began over the summer, with an opening ceremony set for September 20. The memorial sits on the original quad on the original axis of Hogue, and features the same bell that once rang from its bell tower. The University will use the memorial as the setting for the traditional ivy cutting ceremonies for incoming and graduating students. There is also a time capsule placed under the center of the slab with a school crest cover plate.
Tim Rosenbury, BR&P Partner in Charge, found the clients’ response to our work especially rewarding. “They were with us every step of the way, raising thoughtful questions and offering constructive feedback.” Nick Banner, BR&P Intern Architect, thought his favorite part was being able to follow the construction process through the live camera feed provided by the university. “It was extremely rewarding to witness the construction executed in such a way that accurately reflected the drawings and made the design a reality.”
Overall, the tower design reflects the memory of the original Hogue Hall, but is a long-lasting monument to the past, present and future of Greenville University.
Looking to create a memorable project to last for years to come? Call us at 417-865-6100 or visit brpae.com for more information.