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Located on the campus of Hebron Academy, Sturtevant Hall offers a superb example of John Calvin Steven’s late-nineteenth-century eclectic architecture, combining Romanesque and Colonial revival styles. An eminent Maine coeducational college preparatory school located in the town of Hebron, near Lewiston-Auburn in Oxford County, the school and town have intertwined histories. Hebron Academy originated in 1804 by an act of the General Court of Massachusetts, although it struggled for its first sixty years. In 1885 Dr. William E. Sargent became principal, and during his ambitious tenure in 1885–1922 the school prospered and grew. A committee appointed in 1886 had raised $50,000 within three years, with the largest share from Benjamin F. Sturtevant. Stevens was hired to design not only Sturdevant Hall (1891), but also the Principal’s House (1889) and Atwood Hall (1910).
Sturtevant Hall is a brick, two-and-a-half-story, hip-roofed building marked by a dominant four-story tower with belfry. From the late eighteenth century onward, towers became an architectural feature distinguishing academic buildings from domestic ones. Here the tower is capped by a steeply pitched hip roof; the belfry is open on all four sides. Below the belfry on the front side is a circular clock face with Roman numerals. The third-story tower front features a Palladian window, under which is a thematically similar three-part window with an ornamental stone plaque featuring the building’s name below it. The first story of the tower contains the main entrance to the building, a shallow portico above which rises a semicircular ornamental brick arch, typical of the Romanesque Revival.
The building is rectangural in plan, with paired chimneys at either end. The basement level, partly above ground, consists of cut and laid stone. From the roof story projects seven dormers with double windows and gable roofs: one on either side of the tower on the main facade, three at the rear of the building, and one at either end of the building between the chimneys. On the second story are eight two-over-two windows, four symmetrically spaced on the left side, but irregularly spaced on the right. The first floor has similar fenestration although on the left side is a centrally located bay window. At the rear of the building is a first-story apse leading off a reading room.
When it opened in 1891, Sturdevant Hall accommodated not only the administrative offices of the Head of School, but also the school’s library, chapel, science laboratories, and a host of classrooms. Today, much of Sturdevant Hall’s usage remains unchanged. The 1891 first-floor chapel now functions as the Hamlin Reading Room, a large multipurpose room for lectures and other assemblies. Although the school’s science laboratories have been moved elsewhere, classrooms still occupy the building’s second and third floors. Much of the building, as before, still houses administrative offices, including the Head of School.
Beard, Frank A., “Sturdevant Hall,” Oxford County, Maine. National Register of Hilstoric Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1977. National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.
Hansen, Janet. “The Architecture of Maine’s Schools.” In Maine Forms of American Architecture, edited by Deborah Thompson .Camden, ME: Downeast Magazine, 1976.
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