College Hall and green
Photograph by CB Johnson

  Historic view of College Hall
Photograph courtesy of the Vermont Historical Society

Affording a spectacular panoramic view of the Winooski River Valley, College Hall is located at the top of Seminary Hill overlooking the city of Montpelier. This building is an excellent example of the Second Empire style, known for its multi-story symmetrical buildings with projecting center pavilions and mansard roofs. It is also one of Montpelier's most significant landmarks.

Now the center and visual focus of Vermont College, College Hall has continually been used as an educational facility. It was first erected as a seminary for the Vermont Methodist Conference in 1872. Looking for a new centralized location for its seminary, the Conference decided on Montpelier because of its proximity to the capitol and the railroad. The hill-top property chosen for the site of the seminary in 1866 already contained a race track, fairgrounds and the buildings of a Civil War hospital for chronically ill soldiers, which had closed the year prior. College Hall replaced some of the hospital buildings, cleared to create the college green. The college green, bordered by instructional and residential buildings, created for the seminary was a typical site plan for American college campuses at the time. The Vermont Junior College (reorganized in 1958 as Vermont College) began to use College Hall in 1936, sharing with the seminary until that institution withdrew in 1947.

When completed in 1872, College Hall provided offices, classrooms, a gymnasium and chapel. The chapel comprises the entire second and third floors of the central pavilion, a full two stories high. Still in place is a double manual pipe organ from 1884.

College Hall is located at off College St. Today it is used as classroom space for Vermont College and houses the Thomas W. Wood Art Gallery, which is open Tuesday-Sunday noon to 4:00pm. There is an admission charge. Call 802-828-8743.

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