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Old Main

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1870–1873, Samuel Sloan; 1895, Harry Yessler; 1981–1986, Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown

The college's first building stands atop a hillside outside of the town. As designed by Samuel Sloan, it was something of a confection with a central tower marking the main entrance, flanked by recessed zones fronted with porches and terminated with large wings, not unlike John McArthur Jr.'s contemporary Pardee Hall at Lafayette College ( NO12.1). The visual connection was even stronger when the original mansards that capped the upper levels and the towers were in place. It was extensively modified by Yessler, who replaced the mansards with steep gabled roofs lighted with dormers and crowned the tower with a stepped tower that gives the building the air of a Victorian Independence Hall—with porches. The present reddish color scheme replacing the usual Colonial Revival white initiated during the Great Depression and the weathervane atop the tower are creations of the Venturi office.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Old Main", [Shippensburg, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 369-369.

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