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Fernald Hall

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Chemical Hall
1868–1870, Alpheus C. Morse; 1896 addition. Sebec and Munson Rds.
  • (Courtesy of the University of Maine Photo Archives)

The first academic building at Maine State College (later University of Maine at Orono) was Chemical Hall, which housed chemical laboratories, classrooms, and a small library. Architect Alpheus C. Morse modeled the two-story building after the chemistry laboratory he had designed for Brown University in 1862. Bricks used in Chemical Hall’s construction were manufactured on site and student laborers erected much of the building. In 1896 the building was renamed in honor of the second president of Maine State College, Merritt C. Fernald. That same year the one-story ell at the rear of the building was destroyed by fire and replaced with a two-story ell. When the main entrance was relocated from the west facade to the east in 1968, the original location of the entry door was replaced with a window; also at that time a service entrance was added to the north facade and a new entrance and stairwell on the south elevation. The original slate roof was removed in 1984.

The building currently houses the Sociology Department and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, in addition to the Women’s Resource Center and the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center.


Beard, Frank A., and Robert L. Bradley, “University of Maine at Orono Historic District,” Penobscot County, Maine. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1978. National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.

“Fernald Hall.” University of Maine. Accessed October 13, 2016.

Fernald, Merritt Caldwell. History of the Maine State College and the University of Maine. Orono: University of Maine, 1916.

Hansen, Janet, “The Architecture of Maine’s Schools.” In Maine Forms of American Architecture, edited by Deborah Thompson. Camden, ME: Downeast Magazine, 1976.

Smith, David C. The First Century: A History of the University of Maine, 1865–1965. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1979.

Writing Credits

John F. Bauman
John F. Bauman



  • 1868


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John F. Bauman, "Fernald Hall", [Orono, Maine], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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