Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Maxcy Hall

Maxcy Hall was built in 1895 as the University’s answer to the need of more dormitory rooms and also more recitation rooms. The building designed for this mixture of purposes and erected directly east of Wilson Hall was 84 by 50 feet and cost $43,744. On its second, third and fourth stories were 36 rooms with accommodations for 72 students. The basement was fitted up for a botanical laboratory and the first floor was given over to recitation rooms. Part of the plan was that, when recitation rooms were available elsewhere, the recitation rooms could be made into dormitory rooms. What really happened was that botany expanded to occupy the first floor and recitation rooms expanded to the second and third floors. In 1907 the Engineering Department was using the second floor. In 1913 the Bureau of Plant Industry of the United States Department of Agriculture was given space for a branch laboratory for forest pathology. In return for its hospitality the University received the use of some of the government’s apparatus and a number of lectures by the resident pathologist. In 1938, after the construction of the Metcalf Chemical Laboratory, the Botany Department inherited Chemistry’s old quarters in Rogers Hall, and Maxcy Hall was turned into a dormitory. The necessary changes were made – bathrooms on all floors (there had been none on the first or second) and fire-stairs to replace the old common stair in the center of the building. As President Wriston said at the time, “Nothing that could be done would make Maxcy Hall beautiful.” Graduate students who had been living in the two upper floors moved out to Ames House, and Maxcy Hall became an undergraduate dormitory. Maxcy Hall continued to be used as a dormitory until 1959. It is now occupied by the Department of Sociology and its related centers.