Draper Hall

Constructed: 1903

Architects: Ellsworth and Kirkpatrick

Design and construction

<html><div style=“float:right; padding-left:20px; padding-bottom:15px;”> <a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004093.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004093.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004262.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004262.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004103.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004103.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004101.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004101.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0012081.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0012081.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004097.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004097.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> <br /><a href=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004100.png”><img src=“http://scua.library.umass.edu/speccollimages/referenceimages/RG150-0004100.png” alt=“Draper Hall” style=“width:220px; border:1px solid #333; padding:5px;” /></a> </div></html>

Draper Hall is a 2½-story brick structure with a complex and eclectic design that combines Colonial Revival, Federal Revival, Greek Revival and Queen Anne elements. The structure has a hip roof, Colonial Revival brick quoins, Federal Revival recessed entryways with semi-elliptical arches, Federal Revival elliptical windows and leaded glass fanlights, Federal Revival balusters, a Greek Revival pediment and Queen Anne windows with brick lintels and stone keystones. The building is 13 bays wide and ten bays deep. The south elevation is comprised of five parts: a three-bay wide projecting central section that has a brick first story and a covered porch on the second story; two four-bay wide wings that flank the projecting central section; and two one-bay wide sections at the east and west ends of the south elevation, which are set back from the front wall of the wings.

The main entry is in the south elevation’s central projecting brick section, within a deeply recessed archway that has a Federal Revival semi-elliptical vaulted ceiling. The door is a modern double-leaf replacement door, but the doorway retains its fluted pilasters, Federal Revival semi-elliptical leaded glass fanlight and its Queen Anne 4/7 sidelights. A 9/2 Queen Anne window, characterized by a large central pane in the upper sash, is set at either side of the recessed archway in the projecting section’s first story. The projecting section’s second story is a covered porch with four fluted Ionic columns across its front and a fluted Ionic pilaster at the end returns. The porch railings and balusters are Federal Revival. The plain handrail and rounded support panels installed above the Federal Revival rail are modern. The projecting second story porch’s Ionic columns support a Greek Revival pediment that has dentil molding and a Federal Revival elliptical window at the attic level. The brick wall at the back of the second story porch has four 9/2 Queen Anne windows.

On either side of the south elevation’s three-bay wide projecting central section, the wings’ first and second stories each contain four 9/2 Queen Anne windows. These are grouped as pairs of two closely spaced windows. The wings’ attic stories each contain two hip roof dormers, which are symmetrically placed on the roof but are not vertically aligned with the first or second story windows. The style of the windows in these dormers is not consistent. The easternmost and westernmost dormers contain 2/3 casement windows, while the two dormers that are closest to the central pediment contain different styles of sash windows. The dormer on the west side of the pediment has a 6/1window and the dormer on the east side of the pediment has a 1/1 window. Both these sash windows contain air conditioning units. Early 20th century historic photographs on file at Special Collections and Archives, W.E.B Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst show that the dormers all once had 3/3 awning windows.

The south elevation’s one-bay wide end sections each have a recessed entry in their first story and a two-sided covered porch with Ionic columns in their second story. The recessed entries each have a semi-elliptical arch which is similar to the main entry, but without a semi-elliptical vaulted ceiling. In each of these end sections, the first story door is a modern double-leaf door, with a semi-elliptical fanlight, but without any sidelights. The brick wall at the back of the end sections’ second story porches contains a single door, with a single pane in its upper half and a panel in its lower half. The second story doors are framed by Ionic pilasters and sidelights, with a semi-elliptical fanlight overhead. Based on the limited view from ground level, it appears that these second story doors may be original. The west elevation’s first, second and attic story windows match the south elevation’s windows.

The west elevation also has two blind window frames. Early 20th century historic postcards show that the small elliptical blind frame once contained a window that provided light for the end section porch, while the very large round arch blind frame once contained six stepped windows, topped by a semi-circular fanlight. Based on the stepped arrangement of the six windows, the large round arch’s windows must have provided light for an interior staircase. Historic postcards show that the east elevation matched the west elevation.

The north elevation is now partially hidden by Building #88 Draper Annex, but enough of Draper Hall is still visible above the Draper Annex roof to see that the north elevation of Draper Hall has two three-bay wide rear wings that extend off the main block, creating a U-shape building footprint. Each rear wing’s north elevation appears to have had three 9/2 Queen Anne windows in the first story, two similar windows in the second story, and another window in the gable peak. The second story and gable peak windows have been converted to fire escape doors, and at least one of the second story window frames has been blocked with brick.

Landscape – Visual/Design Assessment

Draper Hall is centrally located in open space northeast of the terminus of Campus Center Way. Its gently sloping site lies east of Stockbridge Hall (Bowker Auditorium). Bituminous concrete walkways border all four sides of Draper Hall. Vegetation between the south side (front entrance) of the building and walkway includes deciduous trees, deciduous shrubs, and mown lawn. Lawn areas south of the walks are shaded by deciduous trees. The lawn area to the southeast includes evergreen trees. Stone steps with railings provide access to the building. A granite bench is located to the southeast of the building in a mown lawn. Pole lights provide illumination along the main walkways.

1867-1916: The Early Growth

In the absence of a coordinated plan, the Trustees put existing buildings that were acquired with the campus land into service as agricultural laboratories. Campus development for several decades after 1863 was sporadic and focused on the construction of individual buildings to meet specific functional needs of the fledgling university. It was not until after 1900, during a period of rapid student population growth and resultant new building construction, that the University Trustees again sought proposals for comprehensive campus planning.

In 1912, a professional landscaping publication reported that Warren H. Manning, formerly affiliated with the Olmsted firm, had spent over four years preparing a comprehensive plan for the University Trustees. The Trustees had considered it imperative for the college to plan harmonious development that would conserve the beauty of campus grounds while meeting the needs of a growing student population whose expanding range of activities was unprecedented.

Manning’s plan designated three distinct sections of the campus, the Upland, Midland and Lowland Sections. Each section was intended to be the locus of specific functions, with clusters of purpose-built structures to serve those functions. For example, one section would be designated for faculty, women’s and horticultural facilities. A second section would contain administration, research, science and student life (dormitory, dining hall, and sports) facilities. The third section would be dedicated to poultry, farming and sewage disposal facilities.

Although Manning’s Upland, Midland, and Lowland sections are not fully realized, it is apparent that discipline specific groupings were developed. Building clusters, especially those related to agriculture, administration, and the hard and earth sciences (physics, chemistry, and geology) continued to expand through the present day.


At the turn of the twentieth century, UMass-Amherst remained focused on its core missions: agriculture, education, military preparation, and industrial support. The student population did not grow substantially during these years and individual freshman classes still remained less than a thousand persons strong. Nonetheless, the administration focused during the decade on building upgrades and new construction in order to support expanding curricula. Classroom/laboratory buildings with faculty offices including Clark and French halls, new agricultural buildings such as the Clark and French greenhouses, and the photography laboratory were all commissioned and/or constructed during the decade. The administration also realized that the expanding physical plant was encumbering land with buildings and literally decreasing available agricultural land usable as experimental plots. To counteract this trend, the administration began a program of land acquisition in the 1890s which continued with increasing vigor through the 1920s. In the period from 1900-1910, 128 acres, some with associated farm buildings and one with a cranberry bog, were bought.

Draper Hall

This structure was built as a women’s dormitory and dining hall.

Landscape Analysis

West Experiment Station, East Experiment Station, Draper Hall, Flint Laboratory, Stockbridge Hall, and Goessmann Laboratory were constructed between 1885 and 1922 along the north side of Olmsted Road. Although oriented in an irregular pattern today, historically, the buildings were organized along the northern portion of what used to be Olmsted Road, later Ellis Drive. Historically, Olmsted Road was a street-tree lined road that curved around the west side of the pond, connecting to North Pleasant Street at both its northern and southern ends. Olmsted Road was removed between 1959 and 1973.

To the southwest of the complex were Flint Road (now Campus Center Way) and a ravine that ran to the south of what is now Campus Center Way, draining the Campus Pond. The area to the southeast of the complex was historically open lawn leading to the Campus Pond with a few scattered deciduous trees and desire-line paths. A pedestrian walk led through the open lawn, connecting Draper Hall to the intersection of the cross-campus walk and North Pleasant Street. This walk is no longer extant, obstructed by the construction of the Lincoln Campus Center. The construction of Hasbrouck Laboratory (1950) and addition (1963), Student Center (1957), and Lincoln Campus Center (1970) destroyed the visual connection between the Olmsted Road buildings and the Campus Pond.

Draper Hall (1903) historically featured a direct pedestrian connection to North Pleasant Street near the Waiting Station Shelter through the open lawn to the north of the Campus Pond (no longer extant). Following the construction of Stockbridge Hall, a pedestrian walk was constructed to connect the two buildings. The landscape associated with the building included deciduous and evergreen trees over lawn and a dense foundation planting. Draper Hall Annex was added in 1947 to the north of Draper Hall. Its construction did not dramatically impact the landscape associated with Draper Hall. The loss of views of the Campus Pond, the loss of the direct pedestrian link to North Pleasant Street, the loss of Olmsted Road, and the loss of historic vegetation patterns, primarily consisting of broad, open lawn with scattered deciduous trees has resulted in the diminished integrity of the landscape associated with Draper Hall.

Naming of the building

Draper Hall was named for James Draper, who served as Trustee of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (1898-1910). Draper was involved with MAC campus planning and was made a member of the College’s newly-formed Commission on Grounds shortly after the College hired a professional landscape architect to develop a campus plan in 1902.


  • Massachusetts Historical Commission, UMass Amherst Building Survey reports (2009).
  • Norton, Paul F., Amherst: A Guide to Its Architecture (Amherst, 1975)
  • For additional information, consult the University Archives (RG 36/101).
d/draper_hall.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/03 12:47 by
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