AARON AND SAMUEL MELCHER III
Massachusetts Hall was formally named in 1802 at President McKeen's inauguration. Changes were made almost immediately, the most dramatic being the addition of a belfry cupola. The cupola remained until 1830, although the bell had been moved to the College's first chapel in 1818. The roof had suffered from the added weight. Over the years the original hipped roof has been changed slightly. It is now of a steeper pitch and the peaks are flattened. The chimneys today are shorter than old views show
Built in 1802, Massachusetts Hall is the original home of Bowdoin College and the oldest college building in Maine. Today the building houses the English department, one of the college’s most popular majors, and as a matter of tradition all students are encouraged to take at least one class in Mass Hall during their time at Bowdoin. The building was designated a Registered Historical Landmark in 1971, and the campus became part of the Federal Street Historic District in 1976.
The Department of English approaches literature with an open and eclectic spirit, combining the pleasures of literary reading with the rigors of an intellectual discipline. Students in the department learn about the transformations in English writing across historical periods and in varying cultural contexts, gaining crucial skills in careful interpretation and clear writing, while learning about new ways of understanding literature and culture. English is consistently one of the largest majors at Bowdoin. Graduates include Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.