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Radnor Hall

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1886, Cope and Stewardson

When Ralph Adams Cram rejected Bryn Mawr's naive proposal that he make sketches that would be turned into working drawings by young local architects, the commission was given instead to Philadelphians Walter Cope and John Stewardson, veterans, respectively, of Theophilus Parsons Chandler's and Frank Furness's offices. Radnor's L-plan ended the line of secondary college buildings begun by Hutton's Merion Hall ( MO9.2), but with a nod toward specific historical detail. The previous summer Cope had made careful pencil sketches of English architecture during the obligatory grand tour, and a fragment from his study of the Canterbury Gate can be seen in the small tower above the entrance. Within, domesticity reigned with small parlors and a stair hall accented in the yellow oak woodwork of the late Victorian period. The small-scale stonework of the exterior is still Victorian, as is the generally vertical massing. Radnor Hall's importance lies in its role as the first of a line of campus buildings by the American masters of the Collegiate Gothic that would span from Princeton's Blair and Little halls to Washington University's entire Gothic Revival campus in St. Louis.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Radnor Hall", [Bryn Mawr, 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, 194-194.

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