Storied Walls & Hallowed Halls

By Middlebury Campus

Painter Hall

The oldest college building in the state, Painter Hall was constructed in 1814 for $8,000. The Colleges’ original library, the first bathrooms on campus, and a two-story gymnasium occupied the building in its first years. Newly constructed, the building’s chimney malfunctioned in the fall of 1817 and beloved Professor of Greek and Latin Solomon M. Allen climbed to the roof to fix the problem. But during the climbing, the scaffolding below Allen gave way, and he fell to his death.

Mummy in the West Cemetery

Middlebury’s West Cemetery, which abuts the College, is not just the final resting place for former Vermonters: Egyptian Mummy Amum-Her-Khepesh-Ef is also buried there. The two-year old son of Sen Woset, third king of Egypt, was acquired in the late 1870s by Middlebury resident Henry Sheldon, collector and proprieter of the Sheldon Museum. Apparently, when the mummy arrived, it was in such poor condition that Sheldon decided to store it in his attic instead of displaying it in the museum. In 1945, a curator at the museum George Mead found the mummy and decided to give it a Christian burial. The mummy was cremated and buried in the cemetery under a tombstone with an image of a cross, an ankh and a bird.

Golf Course Tree House

Middlebury’s repertoire of social spaces used to include a Tree House on the Golf Course. The two-story Tree House was built by David Stone ’74 and some members of the Sig Ep fraternity, the “ski fraternity,” on funds provided by Dean Erika Wonnacott. Kate Troast ’76 says, “I remember the full moon parties with twenty plus people up in the Tree House looking at the moon and listening to Bob Dylan. It was so cool!” Unfortunately, the Tree House burned down in an accidental fire in 1977.

Emma Willard House

This National Historic Landmark is the site of the first girls’ school that offered female students an education equal to – and arguably better than – that of young men. A trailblazer in women’s education, Emma Willard opened a school in her Middlebury home in 1812. Willard later moved her family and her school to Troy, New York, and the College purchased the building in 1959 and used it as the Admissions Office.

Twilight Hall

Built in 1867, Twilight Hall, then called the Academy Building, first housed students of the Grammar School of the town of Middlebury. On Easter Sunday in 1904, a fire destroyed the entire inside of the building, but it was soon reconstructed to math its original internal architecture. For the next eighty years, the building served as the College Street Graded School for children of the town. The College purchased and renovated the building in 1984 and gave it its current name, in honor of Alexander Lucius Twilight (class of 1823), the first African-American US citizen to graduate from college.

McCullough Gymanasium

Ex-governor of Vt. John G. McCullough funded the majority of what is now McCullough Student Center in 1912. For 37 years, the building functioned as a gymnasium for men only. In 1949, the gymnasium was opened to women. The Arthur M. Brown Swimming Pool (whose tiles are still visible outside of Midd Express) was constructed at the rear of the building. But in 1988, the College consolidated its athletic facilities in their present location, and McCullough became the center for the dance program for two years before undergoing a full remodel into the current Student Center. It was not until 2000 that the pool was converted into the Grille, and McCullough became the building we know today.

Main Quadrangle

The main quad of campus (i.e. the space between Old Chapel and Mead Chapel) used to be home to athletics, before Battell Beach became the main destination for sports teams. While paths now intersect the area to connect Munroe to Voter and McCulough, it used to be a large patch of uninterupted grass, perfect for practice and games, conveniently located next to the gym.

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