Dedicated 2PM Monday, October 16, 1905, the Woman's building shared its dedication with the installation proceedings of incomming University President Edmund Janes James. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, one of the most famous firms in the United States at the time, the building features a red brick and white stone exterior with dormer windows and a central colonnade flanked by twin towers. The towers are topped with low-rising domes with pineapple spires.
The building has undergone numerous renovations and repurposings over the years, including a 1913 addition that added the building's distinctive east colonnade, along with twin smaller ones bracing the north and south sides of the inner courtyard.
The building originally served as the women's dormitory and even housed a pool and locker rooms on its lower level and a 92 by 50 foot gymnasium on its second story. Modern students who have grown up with the notion of coed housing would find the social standards of 1905 extremely draconian. It was not until 2 years later, in 1907, that the social rooms of the house were open to casual use on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Friday and Saturday evenings, and then to women students only.
By 1946 the building largely housed the home economics department and so on April 17, 1947 it was renamed Bevier Hall in honor of Isabel Bevier. The Director of the Department of Home Economics from 1900 to 1912, Bevier believed that "home economics has a chance to teach something of the beauty of life and the unity of life, to teach that there is an art in a well-ordered home and a well-ordered life". However, ten years later the new Bevier Hall had been constructed and the English department had taken over the old building, leading to its renaming as the English Building in 1956.
In 1977, Governor James Thompson signed Public Act 80-241, establishing the "% for Art" program to "promote and preserve the Arts of Illinois by placing art in locations that are used by and accessible to a great number of people, to enhance the architectural environment while providing an ongoing historical recording of art in Illinois". In 1979 the English building joined the Agriculture Engineering and Veterinary Medicine buildings as the first three sites on the UIUC campus to become a part of the program.
|Selected Images of the English Building|
Below is a selection of images of the English Building. These images may be viewed for personal use only and may NOT be republished in any form. To use one of these images in a U of I presentation or Web or print publication, please click on the "download" link beneath each image to download the image free of charge.|