Morrill Hall

Morrill Hall was the first building on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. A three-story “Second Empire”-style edifice, the building was constructed in 1885 after the relocation of the University of Nevada from Elko to Reno, a process that began in 1884. Relatively few Second Empire-style buildings remain in Reno, making this a rare local example of this particular type of Victorian architecture. The cornerstone was laid on Sept. 12, 1885, and the building was ready for occupancy on Feb. 15, 1886.

Designed by Reno architect M.J. Curtis, Morrill Hall was built for the then-astronomical sum of $13,500. It originally housed the entire State University, including offices, classrooms, living quarters, a museum, and the library. At the time it was built, Nevada was little more than a collection of rough mining camps and railroad towns. The new University hall symbolized the determination of the people of Nevada to provide educational opportunities for themselves and their children. The building was named after U.S. Senator Justin S. Morrill of Vermont, author of the 1862 Land-Grant College Act that made the founding of the University of Nevada possible.

Morrill Hall was extensively remodeled in the 1970s and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Today it is home to the University's Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

Images

1886

1886

The lone State University building is surrounded by pastures and alfalfa fields in a view looking northeast. The shed seen beside the building sheltered students' horses, which they rode to school before motor vehicles were prevalent. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Cadets, 1892

Cadets, 1892

ROTC Cadet Corps formation in front of Morrill Hall in the post arms position, 1892. Stewart Hall and the Agricultural Experiment Station flank Morrill Hall. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Entrance gate, ca. 1893

Entrance gate, ca. 1893

Wrought iron gates and a stone wall flanked the grand University entrance, with Morrill Hall in the background. The gates were a gift to the university from the class of 1899. By 1921, for safety and improved access, the gates were removed, the pillars moved back, and the road paved. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Horses and buggies, 1898

Horses and buggies, 1898

A large crowd of people with their horses and buggies gather outside of Morrill Hall in 1898. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Graduates, ca. 1908

Graduates, ca. 1908

Commencement Day Procession on the sidewalk in front of Morrill Hall and the President's House, ca. 1908. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Drawing class, 1908

Drawing class, 1908

Students of the Normal School in a drawing class in front of Morrill Hall, 1908. The President's House and Stewart Hall are visible behind them. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Gateway to the university, 1910

Gateway to the university, 1910

A colored postcard from 1910 titled, "Gateway, University of Nevada, Reno." Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Cane Rush, 1911

Cane Rush, 1911

The 1911 Cane Rush took place in front of Morrill and Stewart Halls. The Cane Rush was an annual homecoming competition between the freshman and sophomore classes where the classes would collide and combat each other with canes to decide who would face the humiliation of wearing small blue beanies for the rest of the school year. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Lake Street entrance, 1920

Lake Street entrance, 1920

The Lake Street entrance to campus, with Morrill Hall and Hatch Hall (to the left), 1920. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Morrill Hall office, 1932

Morrill Hall office, 1932

Alice Terry and an unidentified co-worker in their office in Morrill Hall in 1932. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Automobiles, 1932

Automobiles, 1932

With the arrival of cars on campus, Morrill Hall gained a small parking lot for convenient access. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Interior staircase

Interior staircase

The graceful lines of the staircase bannister, 2003. Photo by Ted Cook. Courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

A new roof

A new roof

Extensive remodeling at the turn of Morrill Hall's second century included a newly-tiled roof, shown in this 2006 photo. Photo by Matt Thielan. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amanda Buell and Reno Historical Team, “Morrill Hall,” Reno Historical, accessed April 24, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/71.
Tour navigation:  Tour Info | Next

Share this Story