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Introduction

Origins

The City

Collegeville (1887, 1895)
College Delta (1898, 1899)
Oakwood (1899)
Cedar Banks (1900)
College Grove (1903)
Fairview (1904, 1905)
College Heights (1904)

Charter of 1907

Avondale (1913)
Bungalow Knolls (1916)
Chesterfield Hills (1916)
Ardson (1919)
Ridgeley Park (1921)
Strathmore (1925)
Glen Cairn (1926)

The Campus

Chronology

1855–1870
1871–1885
1886–1900
1901–1915
1916–1927

 

Interactive Map

Sites on the National and State Historic Registers

Complete list of
Significant Structures

Sources

The Three Wells Halls

All three versions of Wells Hall were named for Judge Hezekiah Griffith Wells (1812–1885), the first President of the State Board of Agriculture.


Judge H. G. Wells. Photo Credit: Beal, p. 342.

Wells Hall the First (1877—1905)


First Wells Hall. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.

After Saints’ Rest was destroyed in late 1876, the State Legislature granted a $25,000 appropriation to replace it. The result was this larger and much more elaborate design by architects Watkins & Arnold. The first Wells Hall was built in 1877 and was located to the south of College Hall, on a site now occupied by the east wing of the Main Library. The first Wells Hall met the same fate as the building it replaced, when it burned down on February 11, 1905.[Lautner, p. 46. Beal, p. 270]


First Wells Hall burns, 11 February 1905. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.

 

Wells Hall the Second (1907—1966)


Second Wells Hall. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Physical Plant.

The second Wells Hall was designed by E. A. Bowd, who started working almost before the collapsed walls had cooled on first Wells. The board authorized a $55,000 appropriation and contracted with Chittenden & Skinner of Lansing to build it on the site of its predecessor.[Minutes, 30 Aug 1905, pp. 298–302] Construction began in 1906 and was completed the following year. It too was a student dormitory and consisted of six units, or wards, separated by brick partition walls that were intended as a means of fire prevention—a design that might have saved the building when nearby Engineering caught fire in 1916. Until the 1920s the dormitory lacked hot water, and men “warmed their shaving water by conducting steam through a rubber tube from the radiator.”[Kuhn, p. 325] Second Wells lasted until 1966, when it was demolished to make room for the new East Wing of the Main Library.


Second Wells Hall smoulders next to ruins of Engineering, 5 March 1916. Photo Credit: M.S.U. Archives.

Wells Hall the Third (1967)

Today’s Wells Hall is an office, classroom, and lecture hall building in the International style. It was built in 1967, with the D-wing added in 1970. At the time, B-108 Wells was said to be the largest lecture hall on campus. A major addition to the B-wing was finished in 2012 to accommodate units of the College of Arts and Letters that moved from soon-to-be-razed Morrill Hall.