Memorial Hall Site
Backstory and Context
Architects: James H. Ritchie, Boston, Mass.
The brick walls and sandstone trim of Memorial Hall evoke an Italian Renaissance building design, as do the flat roof, the heavily decorated and bracketed cornices and eaves, and hood moldings over the windows. A grouping of three recessed and balustraded windows is echoed on the roofline.
Memorial Hall was built to commemorate the service of alumni and faculty who died in World War I and to be the center of student social life. Veterans of the First World War and subsequent wars are commemorated by a series of plaques and memorials. At one time, the building housed a variety of student organizations and sported a recreation room, a billiard room, and basement bowling alley. Funded largely from alumni donations and originally owned by the Alumni Association, Memorial Hall was deeded to the University in 1998. It now houses the Alumni and Development offices and is used for campus meetings and presentations.
Images in the University Archives depict plans for an expansion of Memorial Hall. Reference to these plans is also made in the 1950 Student Handbook. This expansion never came to pass as the University opted to construct a new student union instead.
- From Three Architectural Tours: Selected Buildings on the Campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst(Amherst, 2000)
- For additional information, consult the University Archives (RG 36/101).