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.