Construction of Williams Memorial Hall

Williams Memorial under construction, Trinity Ivy, 1915

Likely taken in spring 1914, these photos show the scaffolding covering Williams Memorial as it was under construction. The space would accommodate the new library on the second floor, with administrative offices on the ground floor. 

The new building cost $150,000, and was entirely funded by J. Pierpont Morgan  (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913), a Hartford native and long time Trustee of Trinity College. The building is named after John Williams, President of Trinity College 1848–1853, and former Bishop of Connecticut. 

 

Sharpshooters, Trinity Ivy, 1915

Page 225 of the 1914 Trinity Ivy touts the expected features of the new building:

"The new addition [...]  contains the administrative offices of the College on the ground floor in that portion of the wing which extends easterly from the main line of the building. On the ground floor are the President's office, Treasurer's office, business office, and office of the Secretary of the Faculty, which communicates with the main entrance stair hall and with the Trustees and Faculty room. These last two rooms will be used in the Fall of the year for registration purposes as well.


The reading room occupies the upper portion of the entire east wing,- is about thirty-four feet wide by eighty feet long, with a timber roof constructed with open trusses in heavy oak. The floor space of the reading room is entirely unobstructed, the walls being lined with books subject to greatest demand, to a height of seven feet from the floor just above which are the sills of the large windows. Direct communication is had with the stack room which extends in a northerly direction prolonging the line of the main building; between the stack and the reading room adjoining the passageway connecting the two is the Librarian's office commanding the entire situation.


Seminar rooms, toilets, stairs, etc., complete the building. The building will be entirely fireproof except for the roof trusses of the reading room. This room is separated by a fire wall from the remainder of the building, and having a fireproof exterior is considered practically immune from fire hazard, as the books which line  the shelves, fifteen feet below the low point of the roof, are practically incombustible. The most modern system of steel stacks will be arranged in the stack rooms, with lifts conveniently located to serve the various levels of the tiers of stacks, of which there will be five.

In designing the building the architect, Mr. Benjamin Wistar Morris, went to the same source of inspiration which it was apparent appealed to the mind of Mr. Burges, the designer of the main buildings of Trinity College. While reference was also made to the actual details of the Burges work, the new extension of the building is bound to reflect the advances which have been made in methods of construction since 1874. It is hoped that a harmonious whole will be the result. Similar materials of construction will be employed in the exterior.

The arrangement of this addition to the existing building was adopted by the Building Committee with a view that when occasion demands it, a corresponding addition can be made at the southerly end forming a balanced composition with Northam Towers as a center. They have gone further in this arrangement which further provides for a proper architectural grouping of any additional buildings that may be required, so that all future work will trend toward the completion of a balanced scheme, all having the possibility of much beauty."