Goodell Hall

Constructed: 1934-1935 and 1959

Architect: Morse, Dickinson, and Goodwin, Associated Engineers and Architects, Boston, Mass. 1959 addition: Ames and Graves, Haverhill, Mass.

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Design and Construction

This Neoclassical structure features a double-story entry porch with classical columns and a pair of recessed wings. The decoratively embellished doorway and arched first-floor windows are arrayed in a typically symmetrical style.

The steel bookstack, an unusual design feature, act as structural supports for this former library building. The holdings of the college library were moved from their original location in Old Chapel to Goodell Hall in 1935 and then, in 1973, they were relocated to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Architectural Description

The Goodell Building, originally known as Goodell Library, is a two-story Colonial Revival brick structure that has a hip roof, a cupola, and a projecting two story portico with Ionic columns and a demilune window. The building has a rectangular footprint, with a 7-bay central block that is flanked by 3-bay wings. The Goodell Building has a stone foundation, brick quoins at its corners and wood trim. The roof was in the process of being replaced in September 2008. The central block and the portico, but not the wings, are ornamented with modillions. The four-sided cupola has central louvered panels, a domed metal top and weathervane.

The main entry is within the projecting portico on the east elevation. The portico’s base is three steps above ground level. The entry consists of three doors that have 3/2 panes in their upper half and a rectangular panel in their lower half. The entry ornamentation is elaborate, extending from the top of the doorway to the underside of the portico. This includes three, square, neoclassical transom windows over the doors, which are flanked by scrolled brackets that support a cornice. Above the cornice is an embellished rectangular panel that has a raised decorative shield at its center, which contains the Seal of Massachusetts. The decorative woodwork continues above this, in the form of a classical window frame around the second story’s central 8/8 sash window.

On either side of the doorway, the main block’s east elevation contains three 12/12 sash windows, which are set within arched recesses that have keystones at the top of the arches. The wings each contain three 12/12 windows with brick lintels that have keystones. The main block’s second story has three 8/8 windows to either side of the central 8/8 window, and the wings each have three 8/8 windows on their second story.

The building’s north elevation contains five evenly spaced windows on its first and second stories. These windows match the windows on the wings’ east elevation.

Building #172, a brick and concrete structure, was appended to the west side of the Goodell Building in 1959.

Landscape – Visual/Design Assessment

The Goodell Building is located to the west of the Old Chapel on a flat site. The eastern side of the building faces a bituminous drive and mown lawn. At the northeast corner of the building is lawn with deciduous trees. The lawn with deciduous trees meets a bituminous concrete drive and parking area on the north side of the building and to the west at the back of the side of the addition. At this entrance are evergreen shrubs. A bituminous concrete walkway leads to the main entrance on the east façade. Pole lights are located at the corners of the walkway. The approach includes concrete steps and a handicap ramp with railings. To the left of the entrance are bike racks. Boulders are scattered in the lawn at the northeast corner of the building.

Goodell Building

This structure was built to house the University library, which had outgrown its space in the 1885 Chapel building. Originally known as Goodell Library, the building was named for Henry H. Goodell, who had served as College Librarian, Professor of Modern Languages and English Literature, and eighth President of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Construction of the Goodell Library during the Great Depression was made possible through the Emergency Public Works Administration. Both Federal and State government funds were used for this project.

Landscape Analysis

The buildings to the west of the Campus Pond were historically organized along two circulation routes, neither of which is extant. The eastern façade of buildings closest to the pond, including the Chapel and Memorial Hall, were organized along Olmsted Road/Ellis Drive overlooking an open space indicated as Front Slope on a 1901 campus plan and the Campus Pond. Olmsted Road/Ellis Drive was an historic tree-lined street that curved along the west side of the campus pond, connecting to North Pleasant Street at both its northern and southern ends.

The western façade of the buildings faced an extension of Lincoln Avenue (no longer extant). Historically, the northern terminus of the Lincoln Avenue axis was occupied by North College (no longer extant), which stood on the approximate site of Machmer Hall (1957). The southern axis of Lincoln Avenue was obstructed by the construction ofWhitmore Hall in 1967. Historic buildings along the west side of Lincoln Avenue include South College, Munson Hall, Munson Hall Annex, Hicks Physical Education Building, Hicks Physical Education Cage, Goodell Building, and Machmer Hall.

Historically, Lincoln Avenue was tree-lined and featured some open lots interspersed with athletic fields. In 1934 the Goodell Building was constructed immediately across Lincoln Avenue from the Chapel. Pedestrian access to the building was accommodated by three walks, one on axis with Chapel and two with diagonal approaches from the north and south. The southern access walk is extant, the other two are not. Construction of Bartlett Hall negatively impacted the landscape at the south side of the building. Historically, the landscape to the east of the building was open lawn with a few scattered trees. Early historic photographs show no planting at the foundation of the building, but later historic photographs show evergreen foundation planting, including upright shrubs framing entrance (no longer extant). The landscape surrounding the Goodell Building includes new vegetation and additional paved area from its historic condition.

Naming of the building

The building was named after Henry Hill Goodell, professor of modern languages, the first college librarian, and seventh President of Massachusetts Agricultural College. In 1887, Goodell became the prime mover in the formation of what became the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities which promoted federal legislation to expand the role of the land-grant institutions.


  • From the Massachusetts Historical Commission, UMass Amherst Building Survey (2009).
  • From Three Architectural Tours: Selected Buildings on the Campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, 2000)
  • For additional information, consult the University Archives (RG 36/101).
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