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Dana Hall School

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45 Dana Rd.

Dana Hall, a day/boarding school for girls and a pioneer in women's education, began as a boardinghouse in an old church but grew into an academic village with a center common. Formed to train women for admittance to Wellesley, it became a K-14 educational system, spawning Tenacre Elementary, Dana Junior School, and Pine Manor College (BR39; 1965 moved to Chestnut Hill). In 1881 Wellesley College founder Henry F. Durant began Dana Hall at the former Dana Farm, the core of the current fifty-acre suburban campus that slopes up from Grove Street into woodlands.

Helen Temple Cooke bought Dana Hall in 1899 from its first headmistresses, Sarah and Julia Eastman, and ran it until her death in 1955. Cooke linked buildings by visible or subterranean corridors, rechanneling Fuller Brook to add Bardwell Auditorium (1929, Henry and Richmond), the only surviving wing of her Shingle Style Dana Main (1902). The current Dana Hall campus, across Fuller Brook from Bardwell, began as Pine Manor College. At Pine Manor, Cooke adopted the Smith College cottage system, buying neighboring revival-style houses or building on a domestic scale. Beveridge (1938–1940, Henry and Richmond), a Greek Revival–inspired frame assembly hall, was renovated from the Dana barn. Pine Manor's brick core was the Classroom Building (1955), by Perry, Shaw, Hepburn and Dean, who also drew up a campus master plan (1962 updated, Sasaki, Walker and Associates).

Most of the three dozen campus buildings are faculty houses, and seven are dorms, including Wheeler (1916), Lathrop (1924), and the four domestically scaled Johnston dormitories (1964, Hugh Stubbins and Associates) with their unifying plaza. In 1966 Dana Hall expanded Beveridge and built the Dining Hall, both Stubbins designs. Mudd Gymnasium (Glewelling and Moody) followed in 1970.

Beginning with a substantial renovation and expansion of the Classroom Building in 1996, by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, Dana Hall centralized as an arc of buildings above the common and pond. In 1998 SBRA designed renovations for the 1950s-era Middle School as well as a new Shipley Science Center and Library, tied to the Classroom Building with a brick link and landscaped courtyard (Tom Wirth, sculpture by Roger Hopkins). Larson Riding Arena (1999), the second on campus, also serves Babson and Wellesley colleges.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


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Keith N. Morgan, "Dana Hall School", [, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 516-517.

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