Ewell Hall Dormitory

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Ewell Hall Dormitory

Acquired by the College: 1859

Previous Names: College Hotel, Old Science

Named for: Benjamin S. Ewell

Renovated: 1912

Demolished: 1927

Map it for me

Note: Location on map is approximate.

Ewell Dormitory, formerly the College Hotel, was a brick building measuring about 57 feet by 40 feet located on Jamestown Road across from the Brafferton. The faculty of the College of William and Mary purchased the building, intending to use it as a College Hotel after the College burned in 1859. The building had belonged to Sherod T. Bowman, Esq. (Williamsburg brickmaker) and was purchased from him for $4,600, $250 of which Mr. Bowman agreed to subscribe to the College Building Fund. While the Wren Building was being rebuilt after the fire of 1859, classes were held in this building. After the purchase of the College Hotel, students no longer resided in the Wren Building.

The College Hotel was used as a residence in 1860 for the steward and about 25 students (the former steward's house became a residence for a professor). During the 1870s, the College Hotel was run by Elizabeth Williamson Harrison. A double porch was added to the exterior of the building between 1892 and 1893, extending along the front of the dormitory. The second story of the front porch was removed circa 1905 and fire escapes were added to the ends of the building.

The building was renamed Ewell Hall in 1894 to honor former College President Benjamin S. Ewell. It was also called Old Science at one point (1906). By 1900, each room in Ewell Hall was equipped with a table, washstand, chairs, bedstead, mattress, and bed clothing. An annex to Ewell Hall was added to the rear of the building in 1912.

There was a dining hall on the first floor of the building from 1905 through 1914. In 1914, the dining hall and kitchen were converted into dormitories at a cost of $5,000. It became a men's dormitory in 1921.

The building was demolished in the summer of 1927.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • 1894-95-William and Mary Catalog, p. 43
  • 1899-Colonial Echo, p. 9; 1901-Colonial Echo, p. 68; 1904-05-Catalog, p. 28; 1906--Colonial Echo, p. 158; (front door and porch); 1912--Colonial Echo, p. 163 (drawing, 2nd story porch removed); 1915--Colonial Echo, p. 136 (2nd story of front porch removed); 1916--Colonial Echo, p. 136 (east facade); 1922-Colonial Echo, p. 24.
  • Catherine Dennis Scrapbook, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.
  • Photograph from northwest showing enclosed stairwell on west end, Miriam Winder Bright Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.


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Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & Mary.

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The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.