Building Histories

Building Histories


Main Building (Old Main), circa 1906

Old Main

In 1895, $40,000 was appropriated by the Washington State Legislature for construction of a building for the New Whatcom State Normal School. The architectural firm Skillings and Corner of Seattle designed the Italian-style building, and Fairhaven contractor William B. Davey completed the three-story, 30-room structure in 1896 for $34,126.

Rapid growth resulted in the Main Building receiving three annexs - southwest, 1902; science, 1909; Training School, 1914 - within less than 20 years.

Today, Old Main continues to serve as an essential part of the university, housing administration offices, support services, classrooms and a theatre.


Edens Hall

Originally a wooden dining hall built in 1903, the building became the first campus dormitory in 1907, housing 28 women. The next year it was dedicated to Colonel John Edens, one of the university's first trustees.

The beautiful brick structure that stands today was designed in 1919 by T. F. Doan, a Bellingham architect, in a style resembling classic Georgian, and built in 1921. Edens North was added in 1955, and both buildings continued to house women until 1968, when it temporarily became Fairhaven College.

The university closed the aging building by the late 1970s, then reopened it in 1994 as a dormitory after a complete renovation.

The original Edens first housed campus dining

The brick Edens Hall houses students


The building Mabel Zoe Wilson's determination built, circa 1930s


Wilson Library

Bebb and Gould of Seattle designed and C. F. Martin built the Romanesque library for the school in 1928. Its two floors and basement housed 39,000 volumes.

The library underwent renovation in 1947, then gained an addition in 1962 designed by Paul Thiry. Following a campaign supported by hundreds, the college library was renamed the Mabel Zoe Wilson Library on April 15, 1964. Rapid growth required another addition in 1973. Fred Bassetti and Co. of Seattle added 99,000 square feet to hold the then-collection of more than 235,000 volumes.

In 1999, Wilson Library became Western Libraries as another addition annexing Haggard Hall was completed.

Carver Gym

The Physical Education Building, designed by Bebb and Gould of Seattle, was completed in 1936 by the Henrickson-Alstrom Construction Company. It included a 90 x 100 feet gym, a pool, offices, classrooms and shower rooms.

The 1962 addition provided another 54,233 square feet - three gyms, seven offices, two classrooms, a lounge and varsity locker rooms. At its March 30 dedication, the building was renamed Carver Gym after longtime coach Sam Carver.



The Physical Education Building was a vast improvement over the first gym - barely the size of a volleyball court


Miller Hall / Campus Training School

In 1942, the Campus Training School moved out of Old Main and into the Bebb and Jones-designed building built by Horde Construction and Engineering of Seattle. It was dedicated November 7 and home to generationsof schoolchildren. They had input into its design which provided lower sinks, large play areas and wide hallways.

It was rededicated as Miller Hall on October 1, 1969, following a $1.7 million addition of two four-story wings.

The Campus School closed on June 9, 1967. Miller Hall now houses Woodring College of Education, the Psychology Department, classrooms and computer labs.


Learning for all in the Campus Training School