ampus architecture before ca. 1905 largely follows common designs used in 19th Century civic buildings. These early buildings were chiefly of brick masonry construction, with designs that reflect their purposes as classroom and laboratory buildings. Murrow East is an example of one such structure. Originally it featured a large roof that expedited the capture of breezes to create updrafts in the chimneys. It was clearly a building for scientific laboratories.

Most buildings that date from ca. 1905 to 1940 reflect the various "revivalist" styles of architecture, chiefly Classical and Georgian. Some, such as Bryan Hall, are highly eclectic and combine several of the styles. These buildings had a variety of uses - again many included labs - and were build employing several structural methods, including masonry, steel frame, and reinforced concrete. Many are the designs of two WSU Professors of Architecture, Rudolf Weaver and Stanley Smith.

The latest building of a revivalist style was Wegner Hall, with a design that basically follows Wilson Hall; it was built in 1941-43. Next to it stands McCoy Hall, built at the same time, but of a "modern" design. All buildings that are newer than these two follow some form of modern, functional lines, beginning with Dana Hall in 1947. Almost all these buildings are fully-stressed reinforced concrete structures, with face brick exteriors, or at least brick panels. Exceptions to the use of brick are several dormitories of painted concrete, the College of Agriculture building group, and three buildings along College Street that have exteriors of off-white crushed rock cast panels.

A portion of the following text is adapted from an unpublished "Historic Survey and Analysis" by the Task Force for Historic Preservation, Washington State University. February 12th, 1985.


Named for Fred Bohler, the nationally known WSU Coach and Director of Athletics who devoted forty-two years to physical education and sports at WSU. Bohler gym has played a significant role in the history of Cougar sports. Housing a basketball court, swimming pool handball courts and offices, it still has an important role in WSU athletics.

This massive red brick building is ornamented with terra cotta and cut stone. The Renaissance Revival window surrounded with alternating plain and broken pediments are surprisingly opulent. The original entrance with sculptural decoration faced west.

The architect, Stanley Smith, was the second University architect. Between 1924 and 1947, he completed fourteen major buildings at WSU. Bohler was the first of the three athletics buildings he built on the north side of the campus including Hollingbery Fieldhouse, and Smith Gym.

Bryan Hall, built in 1909, is symbolically the dominant structure of the historic campus core. Originally built as the principal library and assembly hall, it commemorates Dr. E. A. Bryan, who served as University president from 1893 to 1916 and was responsible for the development of WSU into a major education institution. It was designed by the leading Spokane architect, J. K. Dow, who followed traditions already established at WSU, yet gave the building an individual character. This highly eclectic building is not dominated by a single style. The broad bracketed eaves, the round arched windows link it with the Italianate Style. The tall clock tower is clearly related to the Italian Campanile. Particularly fine is the elaborate bracketing under the eaves which may even have resulted from an oriental inspiration.

Carpenter Hall was one of seven buildings designed by the first University architect and first chair of the Architecture Department, Rudolph Weaver. As a cost-saving measure, it was planned as a twin to Wilson Hall, but because of wartime building restrictions, neither was completed until 1926. First known as Mechanic Arts building, it was named in 1949 after H. V. Carpenter, the first dean of the College of Mechanic Arts and Engineering.

The classical structure southwest corner of the campus core on Spokane Street. Using the first floor as a strong base and uniting the three upper floors by means of giant pilasters between the windows, Weaver has produced a bold effect. A terra cotta cornice caps the façade. The use of ornament elsewhere is restrained. A grand entry at second floor level as at Wilson Hall was planned but never executed. Presumably, the steep slope to the west and its orientation way from the rest of the campus made it impractical. In this building, the Georgian and Classic Revival styles are adapted to the needs of a large university building.

Built under President Bryan as the 'Recitation Hall' in the same year as Bryan Hall, this building further demonstrates Bryan's contribution to the university. Both buildings were designed by J. K. Dow, one of the more distinguished of the architects who worked for the university. However, College Hall is more restrained than Bryan. It draws on elements used a Morrill Hall five years earlier. It is a fine example of Georgian Revival. Interest is added to the façade by the alternation of arched and square headed windows on the three floors and by the decorative use of Flemish bond in contrasting bricks under the eaves. It has a classical cornice and a flat roof.

Old Wooden College Hall
The two classical entrance porticoes are located on the northern façade facing what at one time was the major quadrangle on campus. In 1983, College Hall has rehabilitated with great care for the Anthropology department. The original double hung windows were duplicated, retaining the integrity of the exterior. In the interiors, the original oak detailing was replicated in a manner that evokes the traditional feeling.

Built in 1892, Ferry Hall was the first large building to be constructed on campus. Designed to be a dorm, it housed men and women on separate floors. In 1897, there was a kitchen fire which got out of control and the building burned down. Another building was constructed in the same place two years later. It would keep the name and also serve as a dorm. The building remained until the mid 70's, when it was taken down. A last artifact of Ferry Hall still exists in the form of the Gazebo next to Murrow Hall, which was the old bell tower.


Holland Library was built between 1948 and 1950, and was named after the former Washington State College President Ernest O. Holland. Designed by John Maloney, Holland Library was one of the first buildings to be constructed with modern functional architecture. Maloney also designed other buildings on campus such as Todd Hall, Compton Union Building, and Johnson Tower.

The Library's most distinctive detail is a 30-foot high statue on the West side, near the original main entrance. This statue was designed by Seattle artist Dudley Pratt, and officially named "The Reader." It was carved in Bedford, Indiana, the source of the limestone used on this and several other campus buildings, especially Todd Hall and Smith Gym. The statue has long been known informally as "Nature Boy." The name will be recognized by popular music fans as a famous song recorded by Nat King Cole in 1948.


This building was built in 1929 and named in 1963 for the University's noted football coach from 1926-42, "Babe" Hollingbery. In 17 seasons his teams won 99 games, lost 57, and tied 19. He developed several All-Americans, took his 1930 team to the Rose Bowl, and was instrumental in establishing the East-West Shrine Football Game.

Hollingbery Fieldhouse was the foundation of the Physical Education, Intramural and Recreation programs at the university. It has been heavily used over the years, especially during the winter months as the primary indoor practice training facility, as a drill field for the ROTC Programs and as an intramural field. In World War II, it was used extensively as a drill field and as physical education exercise facility for the armed services.

It is an imposing structure, much less ornate than the adjacent Bohler Gym, almost having the character of an industrial building. Its pitched roof echoes the form of Smith Gym.


Thompson Hall is the oldest extant building on campus, designed by noted Seattle architect, James Stephen and his Chicago trained partner, Timothetus Jesnhans. Their firm was selected over 16 other entries in an architectural competition held by the Board of Regents. Thompson Hall was constructed for less then $50, 000 using local red brick made from clay deposits in back of what is now Stevens Hall.

Until 1968, it served as the Administration building as well as housing a number of other university functions.

It is prominently sited and immediately identifiable by its two large towers, one truncated and one with conical roof. The romantic Victorian Romanesque character of the building s further enhanced by rich variety of windows and entryways and the use of rock-faced granite (quarried near Spokane) for its contrasting trim.

It was rightly described by the Regents at the 1895 dedication as "an excellent piece of work and one that in point of convenience, strength, and architectural beauty compares with any state building."

Today, it has been extensively remodeled inside, but the exterior remains largely intact. It is one of WSU's most notable buildings, an excellent example of an early ideal in education architecture.

Click here to view additional images of Thompson Hall.


White Hall built in 1928 and originally known as the Home Economics Building until it was renamed in 1960 for the nationally known cooperative extension leader, M. Elmina White. Designed by Professor and University Architect Stanley Smith, this Classical Georgian style structure is actually a steel frame building. Another interesting feature was the inclusion of a forced-air ventilation system long before other campus buildings were built or refitted with such equipment. The main entrance of the building faces westerly overlooking the city of Pullman. However, today the major pedestrian flow approaches the building from the east into the back of the structure. The building mass encloses the north side of one of the university's most significant open spaces. The brick building mass is symmetrically balanced, making a cross formation with the central section protruding on the east/west axis.

In 2000, White Hall will be remodeled for use by the Honors College, and will include a dormitory area for the Honors Program Students.


Wilson Hall is the twin of Carpenter Hall and like that building was unfinished for several years. The third floor was added in 1920. It was named for James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture from 1897 to 1913 and it served as an agriculture and horticulture building. In the original design, Weaver proposed a glass-walled stock judging pavilion projecting from the rear of the building, but partly enclosed in the recess formed by the U-shaped plan. This was not completed.

The first use of the unfinished structure in 1917 was to teach vocational skills to soldiers and for a while it served as military barracks. However, after the war it became the headquarters for nine agriculture departments and served the entire Pacific Northwest as an agricultural information and resource center.

Unlike Carpenter Hall, the grand entry to the second floor level was carried out. A flight of steps leads up to an impressive doorway with a broken pediment. This is probably the only feature on campus which could be described as Baroque.

Additions to WSU Historic Buildings Roster, inclusive of construction dated to 1953.

Livestock Judging Pavilion

Built 1933
Architect. Stanley Smith, WSU

One-story, wood frame structure. Wood clapboard exterior, replaced with matching metal siding. Steep-pitched roof. Large windows for interior lighting. Central cupola/ventilator on cross gable section.

Central Steam Plant

Built 1935-36, PWA project
Architect. Stanley Smith, WSU

Steel frame structure with face brick exterior. Matching extension to the uphill side. Sheet-steel second floor addition over the main enterance. Central elevator tower. Large smokestack to the up hill side.

Engineering Laboratory Buildings

Built 1941-42
Architect. Archie Rigg (Rigg and Van Tyne), Spokane

Two one-story brick masonry buildings of a long, narrow footprint. both have a ninety-degree gable roof with "Georgian" false chimney endwalls. The design matches earlier engineering lab buildings, now demolished, and the adjacent Thermal Building.

McCoy Hall

Built 1941-42
Architect. Henry Bertleson, Spokane

Two story brick masonry structure, with steel and wood joists. Flat roof. Flush-wall brick exterior. Metal-frame windows and wood doors. Doorways accented by stone work alternated with brick in a horizontal pattern, commonly called "the stripes." Window ventilation. Originally called Veterinary Clinic, the building remains such but now has many additions to one end and the rear.  Despite the many additions, the original building is little changed. Many room air conditioners extend from windows.

Wegner Hall

Built 1941-43
Architect. Whitehouse and Price, Spokane

Three-story, reinforced concrete with face brick. Exterior design copies older masonry buildings of the Classical/Georgian design, including Wilson Hall and Fulmer Hall.  Remodeled ca. 1985-88 to accommodate forced air vertilation. Exterior trim in limestone featuring carved heads of domestic animals.

L.J. Smith Agricultural Engineering Building

Built 1946
Architect. Stanley Smith, WSU

Concrete block and woodframe structure, with brick and clapboard exterior. Two stories, with sloped roof. West-facing wall is largely glass--actually very large windows--between two massive-appearing brick faced structures. Central area designed for use as a machine shop with natural light. A large addition abuts the rear of the building.

Dana Hall

Built 1946-47
Architect. Whitehouse and Price, Spokane

Long-narrow building, two stories with high attic area now serving as third story.  Reinforced concrete with face brick. Constructed with potential for forced air ventilation, but not installed. Steam radiator heating. Flush-wall brick exterior, with large "industrial" metal-framed windows of many small lites. Distinctive entries with relief craved aluminum featuring engineering themes. These panels are set in an area of limestone panels of vertically oriented fluting. The entryways are sometimes floodlighted for effect. The interior is characterized by green tile walls and rough-finish plaster ceilings.

Largely unmodified, except for the third floor attic and the union where it adjoins later construction at the north end. Room air conditioners protrude from many windows.

Thermal Building

Built 1947
Architect. Whitehouse and Price, Spokane

Large, barnlike building with gable roof and brick ends featuring false chimneys. Steel frame, with brick walls. Built as part of the Dana Hall project for laboratory space to be used by engineering departments and the Physics department. The building is a larger version of other engineering lab buildings.

Todd Hall

Built 1948
Architect. John Maloney, Yakima and Seattle

Four story, reinforced concrete classroom building with flush-wall brick exterior, relieved by large limestone panels, some of which have been removed and replaced by brick. Limestone trim also used at cornices and around some entryways and windows. Much remodeled in ca. 1970. Largely obscured from public view by the Todd Hall addition of 1988-90, which combines design features of Todd Hall with those of the adjoining Wilson Hall and College Hall. The original interior of Todd Hall was one of very long central hallways with classrooms on one side and faculty offices along the other side, brought out into very public position. The remodeled version is more one in which the hallways terminate into office suites part way along the length of the building. At the mid-point in the length of the building, the central hallway is interrupted by a brick feature composed of walls, doors, stairs, mechanical system elements and so on.

The foyer of the original main entry has been retained. It features pink wall tile and aluminum gratework over cast iron radiators. The pink wall tile is also found in the restrooms. A limestone relief statue "prometheus," that originally was located over the main door remains in position inside the building over the entry to the original main foyer.

Compton Union Building

Built 1950-1952, major changes 1957, 1967-68
Architect. John Maloney, Seattle; remodel also Maloney

Originally three story, now four story, reinforced concrete structure.  The building is set on the edge of a cliff-like slope, and the downhill side overhangs this slope in many places. Much changed from remodeling in 1957, and major addition and remodel in 1967-68. Flush-wall one-color brick exterior, with no corner or cornice trim. Sandstone around principal entryways. Some panels of painted concrete. Strip windows in places. The front of the building has mainly glass walls on the lower floor, above which a glass and steel-panel wall constitutes the exterior of the second floor.  The lower glass is from the remodeling of 1957.

At the east end of the building, a large box-like structure without windows houses a theater that was added in the remodeling of 1967. The exterior of this box is largely painted concrete of a terra cotta color.

Regents Hill residence complex

Built 1950-1952
Architect. Paul Thierry, Seattle

Three buildings, two dormitories and cafeteria. Painted concrete exterior with semi-strip windows. Built into the side of a hill, the dormitories are long buildings of three stories of residence space set on "piers" one story above ground. The two building set met at the corner to make a V-pattern at an angle of about 100 degrees. In the open end of the angle, open decks span the two buildings. In the inner side of the angle, a Japanese rock garden--now overgrown-- is placed on a slope through with stairs and walkway lead uphill to the cafeteria building.

Jewett Observatory

Built 1951-1952
Architect. Phil Keene, WSU

Laminated wood bean Structure supporting a plywood dome.

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