East end of East Hall

East end of East Hall.

East Hall was the last and largest building of the Seminary campus of Shimer College, constructed between 1875 and 1877 and nearly doubling the space available. It faced Seminary Street on the north, adjoining Center Hall on the west. The piazza that ran along the front of all the Seminary campus buildings ran along its north and the exposed portion of its west face.

According to the 1894 Sanborn map, kitchen and laundry rooms were located on the first floor, offices and reception rooms on the second, and sleeping rooms on the third.


  • in The history of Carroll county, Illinois, 1878, p. 352:
    The fourth building, which is just being completed, has on the first floor a kitchen, wash room, dry room, ironing room, furnace room, foul air room, work shop, private rooms for employees, six dry earth closets, slop closet, and dry earth vault and closet, the whole ventilated by the same system as the entire building, and thus kept perfectly free from offence, as any part of a well ventilated building need be. The value of these arrangements, in a sanitary point of view, can not well be overestimated. The second floor has conservatory, principal's rooms, sick and nurses' rooms, bath rooms, and water closets and slop closets on one side of main hall. On the opposite side, the entire length of the building (100 feet) is devoted to parlors and rooms for the musical conservatory, the space being divided into five rooms, each communicating by folding doors, making a most spacious music hall, when thrown into one room. The third and fourth floors are devoted to private rooms for students, all of which are neatly furnished, carpeted throughout with Brussels and three-ply carpets, beds (all with best woven wire mattresses), and all the possible conveniences of drawers, closets, cupboards, etc. Bath rooms, water and slop closets on each floor. The fifth floor has eleven practice rooms for music, a sun-bath room, five trunk rooms, and tank rooms, furnished with a thirty-five barrel tank for hard or well water, and the same for cistern water.
  • in "Mrs. Shimer's Life and Work", Winona Sawyer, 1901:
    In 1876 the third and last addition was completed, being the whole of the present “East Hall,” which again nearly doubled the number of rooms.
    The chef d'œuvre of her executive skill was in 1876, when bids for the construction of the last building were so much in excess of the money resources of the school, and the demand for room so urgent, as to tax to the utmost the ingenuity of the proprietor. The outcome was that the stone was quarried, timber cut, of lumber sawed, and brick manufactured from land which she owned or purchased, by machinery which she bought for the purpose, and by men in her employ. She was the architect, and superintendent of all the details of construction, heating, ventilation and lighting. The building completed cost considerably less than the lowest bid.
  • in "Shimer College History 1853-1950", Rosabel Glass, 1953:
    [Mrs. Shimer's] clock struck twelve when in 1876 bids for the construction of the second or east wing were so much in excess of the school's ability to pay, while the need for expansion was so urgent, that Mrs. Shimer turned architect and building superintendent, had stone quarried, timber cut, lumber sawed and brick made from land she owned or purchased, with machinery she bought and by men she employed. She supervised the details of construction, heating, ventilating, plumbing, and lighting, and completed the building at a cost much less than the lowest bid. One must exclaim, "What a woman!"

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