From Special Collections Research Center Wiki
Revision as of 10:35, 10 March 2009 by Acschi (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Old Gymnasium at the College of William and Mary was located southwest of the Wren Building, in line with the west end of the chapel side of the building, and 100 feet from the chapel.

Old Gym, circa 1916

Constructed: 1900

Opened: November 1900

Demolished: 1931

In 1888 the newly appointed President Lyon G. Tyler ordered $50 to be applied to the erection of a gymnasium. At a June 1892 meeting of the Board of Visitors, Tyler again recommended that "A pavilion should be erected for a modest gymnasium near the college building." A committee was appointed by the Board of Visitors in 1896 to raise the funds necessary for construction. Richard Y. Cook of Philadelphia offered to donate $1,000 for equipment and architect Marion J. Dimmock of Richmond, Virginia, offered to prepare plans and specifications for the building.

The building was originally intended as a memorial to Tazewell Taylor, as mentioned in a letter from Richard Y. Cook to the fundraising committee in March 1897. At a June 1899 meeting, the Board of Visitors decided that as soon as they raised $3600 that construction should start on the Tazewell Taylor building, "to be located as an annex to the physical laboratory wing of the College building (Wren) but separated therefrom by a fire proof wall." The fundraising committee was then empowered to hire an architect and contract work, with the building cost not to exceed $5,300. According to a fundraising letter sent out by R.M. Hughes on August 15, 1898, "The family of the late Tazewell Taylor, of Norfolk, made a large contribution on condition that it should be called "The Tazewell Taylor Gymnasium." Marion J. Dimmock's plans were accepted in 1900 and the committee awarded the contract for building to W.H. Sweaney of Williamsburg for $6074. Work was to be completed by November 1, 1900.

There was a YMCA club room in the gym in 1917 and an armory for the Students' Army Training Corps, which was on campus during World War I in 1918. The gym turned into a lecture room building in 1922 and was used by the School of Business Administration, the Marshall-Wythe School of Government and Citizenship, and the School of Journalism. Six classrooms, professors' offices, the Law School, and the Law Library were also part of the building in 1923. The Law Library was transferred to new stacks in the College Library (the current Tucker Hall) in 1929. Citizenship "A" was converted to a post office in 1929, employing students instead of Federal Post Office employees. The post office was large enough for packages and served both men's and women's dormitories, replacing the former dormitory post office system. The U.S. Government intended to establish an official Post Office in the Citizenship Building in October 1929, but this was delayed until January 1, 1930.

The Flat Hat, the student newspaper, offices moved to new rooms in 1929 (Citizenship Number Two) and the business department occupied the old editorial and news office. Station A, the College Post Office, was set to be discontinued on December 31, 1930 and students had to start receiving their mail from the city Post Office.

The gymnasium was demolished in 1931.


  • 1901-Colonial Echo, p. 69
  • 1905-Catalog, p. 40
  • 1906-Colonial Echo, p. 72
  • 1907-Colonial Echo, p. 112
  • 1909-Colonial Echo, p. 126
  • Taps, p. 29; interior, p. 9, 23

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

To search for further material, see Finding Materials in the SCRC for an introduction to the SCRC Collections Database, card catalogs, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, etc.

Questions? Contact the SCRC at or 221-3090, or come into the Special Collections Research Center (hours).


  • University Archives Buildings File (2007), Old Gymnasium (1900), Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's access tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.