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Built in 1911, Morgan Hall was one of three academic buildings designed by state architect Frank Lockwood as part of the University of Alabama’s 1906 Greater University Plan. Located on the northwest corner of the main quadrangle, just behind the Gorgas House, Morgan Hall housed a much-needed auditorium and classrooms. It was balanced by Smith Hall (1910), almost identical in external appearance, on the northeast corner of the quad, which provided space for the biology and geology departments as well as a large natural history museum located in the center section. Lockwood’s third building, Comer Hall (1910), located on the west side of the Old Quad, was designed to house the college of engineering.
Rejecting the High Victorian Gothic style of the earlier red brick campus buildings, by then regarded as old fashioned, Lockwood designed Morgan Hall as a Classical Revival structure. It consists of a three-story central block flanked by smaller two-story wings. The ground floor, treated as a base, supports in the central section a colonnade of colossal engaged stone Ionic columns. On the flanking wings it supports a colonnade of pilasters on the second floor. Here, and at Smith and Comer halls as well, Longwood employed yellow Missouri brick and gray Bedford stone from Indiana. The architect’s choice of materials did not endear him to Alabama manufacturers, who objected so strongly that subsequent campus structures were built of red Alabama brick. Lockwood’s stylistic choice, by contrast, met with general approval and architects continued to employ various interpretations of academic neoclassicism for the next century.
Mellown, Robert Oliver. The University of Alabama: A Guide to the Campus and its Architecture. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013.
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