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1804: Geological Hall (Stanhope)

View from east (photo after 1871)

View from east (photo after 1871)

Princeton University. Property of the Trustees of Princeton University.

Source: Princeton University Archives, Mudd Library

Stanhope Hall, the University's third oldest building, was erected in 1803. It originally housed the college library, study halls, and the two literary societies, Whig and Clio, and was called the Library. Later it contained the "geological cabinet" and lecture rooms and was known as Geological Hall. Still later it contained the offices of the treasurer and the superintendent of Grounds and Buildings and, for a time, the meeting room of the Faculty and was called the College Offices and then the University Offices. In 1915 the trustees gave it its present name in honor of Samuel Stanhope Smith, who was president when it was built. In recent years Stanhope has housed the University's communications and security offices.

{Curator's note: In 2006 Stanhope Hall housed the newly created Center for African American Studies. The African American Studies Deparment. created in 2015, moved into Morrison Hall in 2021. Go here for a in-depth history of Stanhope Hall and the Center of African American Studies. Stanhope currently houses the office of the Dean of the Faculty].

Another building, an exact duplicate of the present Stanhope, was also built in 1803 on the other side of Nassau Hall facing the "Library." In its basement were the college kitchen and refectory, on its upper floors rooms for the college's "philosophical apparatus" and for the classes in mathematics and natural philosophy. Known at first as the Refectory it was later called Philosophical Hall. It was here that Joseph Henry conducted his experiments in electromagnetism and in telegraphy. Philosophical Hall was razed in 1873 to make room for Chancellor Green library.

More information on Stanhope Hall

Detailed history of Stanhope Hall

Source: Leitch p. 449