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Goodnow Hall is the oldest building on the Grinnell College campus. An excellent example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, it was built in 1885 as a library and is named after philanthropist, abolitionist and women's education advocate Edward A. Goodnow. The building was constructed with rusticated pink granite stones and sandstone trim, and features a large square tower and arched windows. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it has housed the anthropology department since 1995.

Erected in 1885, Goodnow Hall is the oldest building on the Grinnell College campus.

Plant, Building, Sky, Window

Grinnell College was established in 1846 at a meeting of the Association of Congregationalist Churches of Iowa. It opened in 1848 in Davenport and was initially a college preparatory school. By 1850 it moved to Grinnell and the first college students enrolled that year. In 1857, the first women were admitted and the first woman graduated in 1867. Tragically, in 1882 a tornado destroyed all of the buildings on campus and killed 39 people, including two students. Goodnow Hall is the only remaining building of the four that were erected in the aftermath of the event.

Edward Goodnow was known around the country for is progressive activism. He learned of the tornado through his friend, Reverend D. Mears, who was on the college's board of trustees, and decided to help. He donated $10,000 to build a library that included an observatory on the condition that the college establish ten permanent scholarships for women students. He also requested that the building be named after him. The telescope was housed in the large tower. The library and observatory operated until 1995 when the building was converted into classroom and office space for the anthropology department.

Edward Goodnow continued to support the school. In 1888 he donated $5,000 to build a women's residence building called Mears Hall. He also offered another donation on the condition that the college change its name to Goodnow College. The trustees declined.

"Architectural Treasures Walking Tour." Grinnell Chamber of Commerce. Accessed February 17, 2022.

"Historical Timeline." Grinnell College. Accessed February 17, 2022.

Klingensmith, S. J. "Goodnow Hall." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form.

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