Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall, a two-and-a-half story brick building named for U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, was built in 1895-96 to serve as a men's residence hall. It replaced the men's Rampasture, which had occupied the top floor of the old wooden Mechanical Building, where the living conditions were appalling, at best. There, the men would sleep four to a bed or even on the floor. When first constructed, the new men's dorm accommodated 95 students, two per room. In its final years as a dormitory, it housed 66 men. Over more than a century of continuous use, Lincoln remained a men's dormitory, tying together several Nevada generations by common experience.

Constructed from plans designed by the San Francisco firm of Percy and Hamilton, the building is an example of the late 19th-century "Eclectic" architectural style, incorporating elements from several earlier styles. It and neighboring Manzanita Hall were the oldest continuously operating residence halls in the western United States until their closure in 2015. The two dorms, along with Morrill Hall, comprise the only three remaining buildings on campus built before the turn of the 20th century.

Between 1942 and 1946, the men of Lincoln Hall moved to either the gymnasium or Manzanita Hall to make room for the pre-flight Cadets of the United States Army-Air Corps who attended the University while waiting for the call to duty for their country or while in basic training.

Lincoln’s second Hall Master was Scott Jamison, who left a mark on Lincoln Hall that continues in the form of the Lincoln Hall Association (LHA). The LHA had a constitution, bylaws and officers who were members of the junior and senior classes. In order to be a member, a man had to live in Lincoln and not be associated with any of the University’s Greek organizations.

Throughout the years, the time-honored LHA has gone through many changes. Disbanding for several years during World War II, it seemed to have disappeared altogether in the 1960s. Over time, LHA had to adapt to a hall government with a president, not a mayor, and the hall master became the resident director, conditions sent down from University administration. During the 1970s, LHA re-emerged as a drinking club which was limited to males 21 years and older. In later years, LHA returned to its lofty traditions of the past, with more involvement from students living in the dorm, in order to strengthen the sense of ownership and pride that came with living in Lincoln.

Following a complete seismic retrofit and interior renovation, the building reopened for the Fall 2016 semester as the new home of the departments of Sociology, Communication Studies, and History.

Images

The Boardwalk, 1896

The Boardwalk, 1896

In 1896 Lincoln Hall had a wooden boardwalk that connected it to cottage-style dormitories and a Dining Hall. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Gathering spot, ca. 1900

Gathering spot, ca. 1900

Male students gather at the steps of Lincoln Hall, ca. 1900. Some are partially uniformed. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Cadet Corps, 1900

Cadet Corps, 1900

Nevada State University Cadet Corps in formation and marching, 1900. Lincoln Hall is in the background. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

The campus in 1904

The campus in 1904

Lincoln Hall is in the center of this panorama. Also pictured are the original Gymnasium, the Hospital Building, Mechanical Arts Building, Morrill Hall, Chemistry Building, and the Agricultural Extension Building. Of these only Morrill and Lincoln Hall are still standing. In the background lies the future location of Sparks and Southeast Reno. The downtown area was already growing, just past the campus. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

University Pond, 1905

University Pond, 1905

In 1905 two boys play on the University Pond, which became Manzanita Lake when a dam was built in 1912, Lincoln Hall in the background. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Front entrance, 1911

Front entrance, 1911

The front entrance of Lincoln Hall in 1911. Peavine Mountain is in the far distance. In the near distance is the Catholic cemetery across Virginia Street, later moved to North Virginia and McCarran when a dormitory was built on the site. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Near the hospital building, 1912

Near the hospital building, 1912

Lincoln Hall and the Hospital Building, which was built in 1902 and demolished in 1960 to make way for Getchell Library. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Dorm life

Dorm life

The images in this collage are from a Lincoln Hall student's World War II era photo album. They are taken in and from rooms 208 and 217. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Governor's Day protest, 1970

Governor's Day protest, 1970

In front of Lincoln Hall. Given "a minute" to get up, graduate student William Copren sits for his full 60 seconds in front of a police car. He blocks the progress of the Governor's Day motorcade in 1970, held the day after the Kent State University shootings. Photo by Ted Cooke. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Lincoln Hall in 1974

Lincoln Hall in 1974

Pictured here in 1974, the exterior of the building has changed very little since it was built in 1896. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

A change in use

A change in use

Lincoln Hall underwent seismic retrofitting in 2016 to repair and reinforce the brick structure. The restoration was done with great care and attention to detail, preserving historical features of the building while gaining space for faculty offices. | Creator: University of Nevada, Reno View File Details Page

Reopening ceremony, 2016

Reopening ceremony, 2016

UNR President Marc Johnson speaks at the ceremony on October 6, 2016 commemorating the reopening of Lincoln Hall as home to faculty offices for the Departments of Sociology, Communication Studies, and History. | Creator: Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Audio

Dr. James Hulse recounts his student days in Lincoln Hall

View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amanda Buell and Reno Historical Team, “Lincoln Hall,” Reno Historical, accessed April 24, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/72.
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