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Carroll University

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1887–1923. College Ave. between N. Barstow St. and N. East Ave.
  • Main Hall (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Chartered in 1846, Carroll was Wisconsin’s first college, beating Beloit (RO2) by three days. Though forced to close several times, it gained an endowment in 1881. In 1885, Main Hall burned down. Undaunted, the trustees hired Stephen V. Shipman to design a new Main Hall (1887) on the East Avenue site. Built of rock-faced limestone, the two-and-a-half-story Richardsonian Romanesque edifice features two gabled pavilions and an off-center octagonal tower crowned by a polygonal roof with shed dormers and a pyramidal cupola. Round, pointed, and segmental arches frame the hall’s windows. Nearby, the original women’s dormitory, Voorhees Hall (1906), recalls the Tudor Revival style. A false half-timbered, gabled wall-dormer, flanked by pavilions with shaped gables, rises above a wide porch with pointed arches. Also built in 1906, Rankin Hall of Science was named after President Walter Rankin, who oversaw Carroll’s late-nineteenth-century revival. Rankin Hall echoes Voorhees’s shaped gables and symmetrical composition, but a prominent cornice and ribbons of segmental-arched windows add horizontal emphasis. Even more horizontal is Ganfield Gymnasium (1923). It features limestone walls with a wide band of brown brick defining the upper level, a red tile hipped roof, and a wooden cupola. A portal with a curvilinear parapet and an oriel window defines the entrances at each end.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Carroll University", [Waukesha, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 198-199.

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