Chapin was the first brick building at Wheaton, and the first structure to be placed according to the campus plan devised in 1897/8 by architect Ralph Adams Cram (the first of many campus plans he would design for such institutions as West Point, Rice University and Princeton).
The money to build Chapin Hall came from Mrs. Wheaton's annual gifts of $10,000: it cost $25,000 furnished. Chapin was dedicated on March 7, 1901, and was one of the first named buildings on campus.
The interior of Chapin was rebuilt in 1934 (repiped, rewired, replastered, repainted, refloored). In 1986 it was remodeled into offices for the Filene Center for Work and Learning. Chapin became a residence hall again in 1989-90 when CWL moved to the Admissions building.
The building was named in 1901 for the late Samuel Austin Chapin, brother of Mrs. Wheaton, and a Trustee from 1889-1890.