Bowdoin College is located in Brunswick, Maine, a town of approximately 21,000 population, first settled in 1628, on the banks of the Androscoggin River, a few miles from the shores of Casco Bay.
The 200-acre campus is organized around a central quadrangle. On the north side of the quadrangle is Massachusetts Hall (1802), the oldest college building in Maine, which now houses the Department of English.
The building was designated a Registered Historical Landmark in 1971, and the campus became part of the Federal Street Historic District in 1976.
To the west of Massachusetts Hall, Memorial Hall, built to honor alumni who served in the Civil War and completed in 1882, was completely renovated and reopened in Spring 2000.
The historic building contains the modernized 610-seat Pickard Theater and the 150-seat Wish Theater in a pavilion linked to Memorial Hall by a glass atrium. New support space houses a scene shop, a costume shop and storage, rehearsal spaces, and dressing rooms for the theater and dance programs.
On the west side of the Quad along Park Row, the Mary Frances Searles Science Building (1894) has also undergone a complete renovation. The remodeled facility houses the Departments of Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science.
Adjacent to Searles, the Visual Arts Center (1975) contains offices, classrooms, studios, and exhibition space for the Department of Art, as well as Kresge Auditorium, which seats 300 for lectures, films, and performances.
The Walker Art Building (1894), designed by McKim, Mead & White, houses the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
The building is under renovation and will reopen in 2007. The Harvey Dow Gibson Hall of Music (1954) provides facilities for the Department of Music.
At the southwest corner of the quadrangle is Hawthorne-Longfellow Hall (1965), which houses the main facilities of the College library, including the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives on the third floor.
The offices of the president and the dean for academic affairs are located on the west side of Hawthorne-Longfellow Hall.
On the south side of the Quad is Hubbard Hall (1903), once the College’s library and now the site of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center; the Departments of Economics, Government, and History; some Information Technology offices; and the library’s Susan Dwight Bliss Room, which houses a small collection of rare illustrated books and a temporary display of the ancient art collections of the Museum of Art.
The back wing of Hubbard Hall is connected to the library and contains stacks and a study room.
On the east side of the Quad stands a row of six historic brick buildings: five residence halls—south to north, Coleman (1958), Hyde (1917), Appleton (1843), Maine (1808), and Winthrop (1822) halls—and Seth Adams Hall (1861), that once served as the main facility of the Medical School of Maine and now houses the Environmental Studies Center as well as classrooms and faculty offices.
In the center of this row is the Chapel, designed by Richard Upjohn and built between 1845 and 1855, a Romanesque church of undressed granite with twin towers and spires that rise to a height of 120 feet.
A magnificent restoration of the historic Chapel interior was completed in 1997-98, and restoration of the Chapel towers was completed in 2005. Offices of the Museum of Art staff are currently located in Banister Hall, the section of the Chapel building originally used for the College’s library and art collection.
To the east of the main Quad are two secondary quadrangles divided by a complex comprising Morrell Gymnasium (1965), Sargent Gymnasium (1912), the Sidney J. Watson Fitness Center, the David Saul Smith Union (1995, originally built in 1912 as the General Thomas Worcester Hyde Athletic Building), the Curtis Pool Building (1927), and Dayton Arena (1956).
Whittier Field, Hubbard Grandstand (1904), and the John Joseph Magee Track are across Sills Drive through the pines behind Dayton Arena. The David Saul Smith Union houses a large, central, open lounge, the College bookstore and mail center, a cafe, Jack Magee’s Grill, a game room, meeting rooms, and student activities offices.
To the north of this cluster of buildings, a new multidisciplinary science center (1997) combines 75,000 square feet of new construction, named Stanley F. Druckenmiller Hall in honor of the grandfather of the building’s chief donor, Stanley F. Druckenmiller ’75; and 30,000 square feet of renovated space in Parker Cleaveland Hall (1952), which is named for a nineteenth-century professor who was a pioneer in geological studies.
The new facility is linked to the Hatch Science Library, which opened in 1991. The complex houses the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Geology.
Adjoining the science facilities is Sills Hall (1950), home to the Departments of Classics, German, Romance Languages, and Russian; and the Language Media Center. One wing of Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium, has an auditorium with advanced electronic facilities for film and other presentations.
Kanbar Hall, located at the corner of Bath Road and Sills Drive adjacent to Smith Auditorium, opened in September 2004.
The 25,500-square-foot building houses the Departments of Psychology and Education and the College’s Center for Learning and Teaching, which includes the Baldwin Center, the Quantitative Skills Program, and the Writing Project.
To the south of the athletic buildings and the Smith Union, an area now called the Coe Quadrangle adjoins the Moulton Union (1928), which contains the offices of the dean of student affairs, the residential life staff, and the Office of Student Records, as well as dining facilities, several conference roms and lounges, and the Career Planning Center.
Also in that quadrangle are Moore Hall (1941), a residence hall, and the Dudley Coe Building (1917), which contains student health care offices on the first floor and the Campus Services copy center and the WBOR radio station in the basement. The upper floors house the Office of Off-Campus Study and faculty offices.
On College Street near Coles Tower, the John Brown Russwurm African-American Center (1827), a former faculty residence previously known as the Little-Mitchell House, was opened in 1970 as a center for African-American studies.
Named in honor of Bowdoin’s first African-American graduate, the Center houses the offices of the Africana Studies Program, a reading room, and a library of African and African-American source materials.
The Russwurm African-American Center stands in front of 16-story Coles Tower (1964), which provides student living and study quarters, seminar and conference rooms, lounges, and the Events and Summer Programs Office, Audiovisual Services, and Information Technology offices.
Connected to the tower are new and expanded dining facilities in Frederick G. P. Thorne Hall, which includes Wentworth Servery and Daggett Lounge. Sarah Orne Jewett Hall, the third side of the Coles Tower complex, currently houses several administrative offices.
To the east of the Coles Tower complex are two new residence halls completed in the summer of 1996. A six-story building is named Harriet Beecher Stowe Hall in honor of the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
A four-story building is named Oliver Otis Howard Hall in honor of Major General Oliver Otis Howard of the Class of 1850, first commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau and founder of some 70 educational institutions, among them Howard University.
Chamberlain Hall, named for Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the Class of 1852, was completed in the summer of 1999 and stands on the west side of Coles Tower. Two new student residence halls, currently named East Hall and West Hall, located on the corner of South Street and Coffin Street, opened in 2005.
The building at 22 College Street, which stands to the east of Coles Tower and which housed the Delta Kappa Epsilon and the Kappa Delta Theta fraternities, has been extensively renovated to serve as the Admissions Office.
The building has been named the Burton-Little House in honor and memory of Harold Hitz Burton (Class of 1909, LL.D. 1937), United States Supreme Court Justice from 1945 to 1958; and of George T. Little (Class of 1877), who was for many years a Bowdoin professor, librarian, and College historian and an ardent benefactor of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
The Student Aid Office is located at Gustafson House, 261 Maine Street.
Various offices occupy buildings around the perimeter of the campus, many of them in historic houses donated by townspeople and former members of the faculty.
The Asian Studies Program inhabits 38 College Street. The Women’s Resource Center, at 24 College Street, includes a library and meeting rooms. The Herbert Ross Brown House, at 32 College Street, now houses the Counseling Service offices.
Boody-Johnson House (1849), on Maine Street, is named for Henry Hill Boody, a member of the Class of 1842 and a teacher of Greek and rhetoric at the College, who hired the architect Gervase Wheeler to design the house for him; and for Henry Johnson, a distinguished member of the faculty and first director of the Museum of Art, and Frances Robinson Johnson.
The building was designated a Registered Historical Landmark in 1975. It contains offices of several student organizations as well as meeting and seminar spaces. Chase Barn Chamber, located in the ell, is used for small classes, seminars, and conferences. Ashby House (1845-55), next to Boody-Johnson House, is occupied by the Department of Religion and various faculty offices.
On Bath Road, Ham House and the former Getchell House have both undergone recent extensive renovations. Ham House now serves as the location of the Treasurer’s and Investments Offices, while Getchell House, now the Edward Pols House, contains offices of the philosophy department and faculty in Latin American studies.
The Matilda White Riley House at 7 Bath Street houses the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Surrounding the central campus are various athletic, residential, and support buildings. The largest of these is the athletic complex two blocks south of Coles Tower.
Here are the William Farley Field House (1987) and Bowdoin’s 16-lane A. LeRoy Greason Swimming Pool; Pickard Field House (1937); the new Lubin Squash Center with seven international courts; eight outdoor tennis courts; Pickard Field; the Howard F. Ryan Astroturf Field; and 35 acres of playing fields.
Rhodes Hall, once the Bath Street Primary School, houses the offices of the Departments of Facilities Management and Security.
The former home of Bowdoin’s presidents, 85 Federal Street (1860) was converted in 1982 for the use of the Development Office.
Cram Alumni House (1857), next door to 85 Federal, is the center of alumni activities at Bowdoin. Cleaveland House, the former residence of Professor Parker Cleaveland (1806), at 75 Federal Street, has served as the president’s house and is used for some College functions and guests.
Copeland House, formerly the home of Manton Copeland, professor of biology from 1908 until 1947, provides additional office space for the Development and College Relations Office.
Student residences and fraternity houses, many of them in historic houses, are scattered in the residential streets around the campus.
Several of these have been selected to serve as College Houses as part of the new College House System.
These include Baxter House, designed by Chapman and Frazer and built by Hartley C. Baxter, of the Class of 1878; Burnett House, built in 1858 and for many years the home of Professor and Mrs. Charles T. Burnett; 7 Boody Street, formerly the Chi Psi fraternity house; Helmreich House, formerly the Alpha Rho Upsilon fraternity house and named in honor of Professor Ernst Helmreich; Howell House, the former Alpha Delta fraternity house, now named in honor of Bowdoin’s 10th president, Roger Howell, Jr.; the former Psi Upsilon fraternity house, now named the George (Pat) Hunnewell Quinby House in honor of a former director of theater at Bowdoin (1934– 1966); Samuel A. Ladd Jr., House, formerly Zeta Psi/Chi Delta, at 14 College Street; and the Donald B. MacMillan House, formerly Theta Delta Chi, at 5 McKeen Street.
Additional College-owned student residences include the Brunswick Apartments, on Maine Street, which provide housing for about 150 students; 10 Cleaveland Street; 30 College Street; the Harpswell Street Apartments and the Pine Street Apartments, designed by Design Five Maine and opened in the fall of 1973; the Mayflower Apartments, at 14 Belmont Street, about two blocks from the campus; and the Winfield Smith House, named in memory of L. Winfield Smith, of the Class of 1907.
Bowdoin’s facilities extend to several sites at varying distances from the central campus. A new office building, the McLellan Building, located a few blocks from campus at 85 Union Street, houses the offices of Human Resources, Communications and Public Affairs, the Controller’s Office, art studios, and a large conference room.
Research and field stations, which in some cases also serve as areas for outdoor recreation, include the Bowdoin Pines, on the Federal Street and Bath Street edge of the campus; Coleman Farm in Brunswick; and the Coastal Studies Center, with marine and terrestrial laboratories and a farmhouse and seminar facility on nearby Orr’s Island.
Property at Bethel Point in nearby Cundy’s Harbor has served as a marine research facility and is used as a practice site by the sailing team. The Bowdoin Scientific Station is located on Kent Island, Bay of Fundy, Canada. In 2005, the College acquired two neighboring islands, Hay and Sheep, to preserve the unique environment offered by the Scientific Station.
The architectural history of the campus is thoroughly discussed in The Architecture of Bowdoin College (Brunswick: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1988), by Patricia McGraw Anderson.