Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College History



New Seminary Hall / Mary Lyon Hall

The new Seminary Hall, the main classroom building, was constructed in 1849 to replace "The Sem." The Greek Revival style with its Gothic and Italianate details seems to have been the design of the carpenter James D. Hathaway.

Seminary Hall was enlarged in 1878 to include a science wing (south wing), gymnasium and library (west wing), additional classrooms (east wing), grand stairway and cupola. The architect of the addition was Gridley J. F. Bryant of Boston. The grounds were relandscaped by Percy Blake, a civil engineer.

Just prior to the completion of work on Seminary Hall in 1878, a fire began in the basement. The fire was spotted by a breakfast cook and help arrived before much damage was done to the structure of the building. It is believed that the fire began twenty-four hours before the building's construction insurance expired. The charred beams may still be seen in Mary Lyon's basement.

Originally painted tan and dark brown, Seminary Hall was first painted yellow and white in 1900. The fancy weather vane on the cupola was removed after the 1938 hurricane. During the summer of 1939, a greenhouse was attached to the southeast wall of Mary Lyon, and remained there into the 1940s.

This building was named in 1910 for Mary Lyon, a pioneer in American education who acted as a consultant to the Wheaton family at the founding of the Seminary and established the curriculum.

The Woolley Room, originally the Seminary Library, was named through a gift by alumna, Mabel Tingley Woolley, Class of 1925.

The Faculty lounge in Mary Lyon Hall is named for Elizabeth Stoffregen May, Professor of Economics and Dean of the College from 1949 to 1964.

A room in Mary Lyon Hall was named by Ruth S. Berry, Class of 1925, through a gift made for the building's renovation in 1983.

Barbara Coleman Donnelley, Class of 1963, and Thomas E. Donnelley II also donated a room in Mary Lyon Hall.

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