Monday, April 29, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #96

Neville Hall after it was first built.
 The New Dormitory, the second building added to the original three buildings, was constructed in 1890 at a cost of $14,500. It was remodeled for classes in 1918 due to a report in June of 1917 that described the New Dormitory and the Old Dormitory as "public nuisances." 

On December 18, 1919, the Board of Trustees followed a recommendation of President McVey and the building known as the New Dormitory was named Neville Hall in honor of Professor J. H. Neville who was for many years professor of Latin and Greek and for a time served as Vice-President.
Neville Hall classroom, 1920
In the 1930s, the building housed the departments of Hygiene, Psychology, and the Dispensary. The building deteriorated over the years and in 1937 the Board of Trustees recommended that the building be abandoned and again in 1942.

Room on the condemned 3rd floor, 1955
 By 1955, the building was still in use, housing the Department of Psychology.  At that point the south wall bulged three to five inches out of line.  Classes were being held on the third floor and while there was no immediate danger of the building collapsing, the brickwork was rotten, wood infested with termites, plaster was loose, wiring in dangerous condition, and lighting and plumbing were obsolete. Frank D. Peterson, the University comptroller condemned the third floor. Despite this, use of the building continued as there was no other space for the Department of Psychology.

Maze of wiring, plumbing, and heating pipes, 1955
On January 9, 1961 fire swept through the 71 year old Neville Hall. Seventy students and 10 faculty members were in the building and all got out safely. The wood of the building burned away along with the research of many psychology graduate students. The building was so badly damaged by the fire that destruction was necessary.  It was the first serious fire since the 1956 fire at Frazee Hall (Education Building). After Neville Hall was demolished, the land was used for a parking area and lawn.

Neville Hall being razed after January of 1961 fire

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