Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Making It Modern

Academics

Modernist Structures on Upper Campus

Library Browsing Room. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 27 x 35 cm. ca. 1941.The Jackson Wing of the Library. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 27 x 35 cm. ca 1941.

Designed by Caleb Hornbostel and Richard Bennett in 1941, the Henry Clay Jackson Wing was a Modern addition to the west side of Wheaton’s library, which was named for Madeleine Clark Wallace in 1984. Ralph Adams Cram designed the library as the focal point at the southern end of his Court of Honor, opposite the President’s House. The Jackson Wing addition solved the problem of overcrowding, and added Modern flair to the library. The Browsing Room, the top floor of the Jackson Wing, is now the Cole Room, named for former Wheaton President Samuel Valentine Cole. It houses a collection of English literature and poetry based on President Cole’s own collection and it was completed with simple, Modernist furniture, which one can observe in the photograph. Tradition among Wheaton students holds that the library’s resident ghost, “Aunt Mary,” can sometimes be seen emerging from the Cole Room. Today, the room’s Modernist roots can be seen only in the original paneling, fireplace wall, and cove ceiling. The furnishings have taken on a more traditional demeanor, and many students now fondly identify the space as the “Harry Potter Room.”

-Shannon Ryan, Class of 2010

Science Hall Modernist Wing. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 1941.A modern wing was added to Science Hall (later named Knapton Hall) in 1941 to house a new-fashioned laboratory. The picture to the left depicts the entrance to the addition, which was designed by Caleb Hornbostel and Richard M. Bennett.

-Shannon Ryan, Class of 2010

Wheaton Infirmary. Rich and Tucker Associates. Photograph. 10 x 15 cm. 1954.Wheaton’s Infirmary, designed by Rich and Tucker Associates, fulfilled one of President Meneely’s priorities for campus improvement. Built in 1954, it stood at the southwest corner of Upper Campus until 2002, when it was demolished to make room for Beard Hall, a new dormitory. The Infirmary highlights the International Style in its flat roof and long horizontal lines and in its use of simple materials such as polished steel and glass bricks. Later in life, the Infirmary was used for several purposes, including as a Campus Security Office. Prior to 1954, King Cottage, a mid-1800s farmhouse on Howard Street, which was purchased by the college in 1908, was used as an infirmary; after that date, it served as faculty housing.

-Ross Culliton, Class of 2009

Science Center. Toby Pearce. Photograph. 16 x 24 cm. ca. 1987.This photograph captures the Modernist obsession with repetition of forms, particularly of straight lines, which can be seen in the ribbon windows, railings, and even in the stacking of bricks. The parallel lines used throughout the Science Center embody a key tenet of the International Style: “Ornament is a crime.”

-Maria Escudero, Class of 2010

The Campus. Unidentified artist. Ink, paper. 35.5 x 57 cm.This aerial view of Wheaton’s campus from the south to the northeast, depicts the expansion near the southern wetlands. It shows construction of the Science Center and the location of the Infirmary, which expanded the International Style to the southern end of upper campus, behind the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library.

-Andrea Bravo, Class of 2009

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