University Hall, Providence

University Hall, Providence

University Hall is the first and oldest building on the campus of Brown University in Providence. Built in 1770, the building is one of only seven extant college buildings built prior to the American Revolution. According to architectural historian Bryant F. Tolles Jr., the structure is "one of the genuine icons of early American collegiate architecture."

The building occupies a central part of the university's front campus and is framed by the Van Wickle Gates.

Built in 1770, University Hall was originally known as the College Edifice. The building was constructed on a piece of land that had belonged to the original Brown family ancestor and co-founder of Providence, Chad Brown (c. 1600–1650).

University Hall is a four-story, seventeen bay structure. The building's largely rectangular form measures approximately 150 long and 46 feet wide. The central three bays of the building project an additional ten feet forward, forming pedimented pavilions measuring 33 feet across. The structure's hipped roof is decorated with an ornamental balustrade and features a central cupola.

Designed in the late Georgian style, the building is constructed of red brick and decorated with white-painted, wood trim. The facade of the structure is relatively unornamented with the exception of plain brick belt courses which mark the building's stories. Brick segmental arches frame the structure's evenly spaced, double sash windows.

Compared to coeval academic buildings, University Hall is of modest and utilitarian character.

During Independence War, the building was used to house French and other revolutionary troops led by General George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau during the wait to commence the celebrated march of 1781 that led to the Siege of Yorktown and the Battle of the Chesapeake.

The building has been used for many different purposes at the University over the years. It currently houses the office for the president of Brown on the first floor, facing the middle campus in space first occupied by the Commons, along with other administrative offices.

The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, recognizing it as an excellent example of 18th-century academic architecture, and as key place in the life of educator Horace Mann (1796–1859), who graduated from Brown in 1819 and taught there until 1821, before embarking on a career of educational reform.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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University Hall on Map

Sight Name: University Hall
Sight Location: Providence, USA (See walking tours in Providence)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Providence, Rhode Island

Create Your Own Walk in Providence

Create Your Own Walk in Providence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Providence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Providence Introduction Walking Tour

Providence Introduction Walking Tour

Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island. Founded in 1636, it is also one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was settled by Roger Williams who was a strong proponent of separation of church and state.

Providence is well known for being the home of Brown University. One of the oldest higher education institutions in the country, Brown continues to remain a high-profile, Ivy...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Providence Historical Buildings Tour

Providence Historical Buildings Tour

Providence is a beautiful city that was founded on the banks of the Providence River in 1636 by Roger Williams. The city is nearly as old as the United States themselves. It has many interesting historical and architectural landmarks. Take this self-guided walking tour to visit some of the Providence's historical buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Brown University Walking Tour

Brown University Walking Tour

Founded in 1764, the prestigious Ivy League Brown University of Providence, Rhode Island is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, chartered before the American Revolution.

Brown's historic campus offers a classic New England college experience among brick quadrangles, scenic greens, soaring modern architecture, renovated centuries-old structures,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles