Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Waller Hall Burns Down For the Second Time: 100 Years Ago Today

During the night of December 16th and into the morning of the 17th in 1919, for the second time Waller Hall burned down.

Constance Fowler, Waller Hall, 1938-40 (reprinted 1969),
wood engraving, 6 ½ in. x 6 in.,
gift of Constance Fowler, FOW92.003.
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Morning paper, December 17th, 1919

After the 1919 fire, looking southeast
about from the corner of State and Winter
(detail, Willamette University Archives)
Evening paper, December 17th, 1919
Originally named University Hall, and the school's first brick building, it was dedicated in October of 1867.  (The afternoon newspaper says 1865, but our current sources all date it to 1867. The story also dates the first fire to 1894. The story is colorful, but not 100% accurate!)

The hall was also unlucky, and first burned in 1891.

After the first fire in 1891
(There are several photos with old Lausanne on the left,
but I think the images are all reversed and Lausanne's tower
should be on the right side of the image.
Willamette University Archives)
First fire, September 16th, 1891
It was then rebuilt with a mansard roof.

Mansarded version, between 1891 and 1919
(Willamette University Archives)
Reconstruction and reversion to earlier roofline
circa 1920
Note construction for new Lausanne in the upper right
(detail, Willamette University Archives)
The reconstruction in 1920 restored the original cross-gable and pediments. In that photo towards the end of the restoration, you can see the first floor and part of the second on the new Lausanne Hall. By proportion, that was a lot of construction on campus right then!

Waller Hall was featured on a 19 cent postcard in 1992 for 150th anniversary of the school and it's still going strong today. On the 150th anniversary of the hall itself a couple of years ago there were some smaller celebrations.

Hopefully it will still be going strong to see the next round of bicentennial celebrations for the school and hall!

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