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Architectural History of SRU

Exhibit of a history of the buildings on SRU campus.

The First Wave of Brick & Stone Buildings

Dr. Albert Elias Maltby was the second principal of Slippery Rock Normal School, serving from 1890 to 1916. During his tenure, he not only oversaw administrative functions and taught classes, but he also led the school in the first wave of expansion as the construction of new facilities began to better accommodate student needs.

 This wave of development saw the three original wooden buildings replaced with six buildings of brick and stone construction. All of the construction projects of Dr. Maltby's tenure were handled by the architect Mr. Sidney Winfield Foulk of New Castle, Pennsylvania.

Newly Constructed Old Main

The design of Old Main speaks to a simpler time. The administrative hub of the campus, it is the oldest remaining structure still in use today. Old Main is an icon of the university.

(Photograph, sepia, c.1898)

The Library in Old Main

During the early years of the Normal School, the classrooms, gymnasium, and library were all located in Old Main.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1889)

The Renovated North Hall

Dr. Maltby led the renovations of North Hall, the women’s dormitory. The building incorporated Norman and Gothic architectural influences, along with a Turkish tower. North Hall contained 148 rooms, including the dining hall, and housed 300 students and the president and his family.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1900)

An illustration of North Hall

This illustration of North Hall highlights the blend of architectural styles in its design.  

(Illustration, c. 1912)

South Hall

On May 13, 1895, the men’s dormitory known as South Hall burned down. Dr. Maltby ordered the construction of a new dorm for male students the following year.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1904)

A Closer Look at South Hall

The brick, U-shaped structure had three stories and a bell tower. The bell rang to signal meals and other campus activities. In 1971, Slippery State College deemed South Hall too old and demolished it.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1920s)

Inside South Hall

The layout of a dorm room in South Hall. South Hall and North Hall were the only dormitories on the Campus until the late 1950s.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1950)

West Hall_Carruth-Rizza Hall

West Hall

Constructed in 1902 as the area’s elementary school, West Hall provided Slippery Rock Normal School with a “model school.” The model school provided a place for students to observe teachers and gain experience in a classroom setting.   

(Illustration, c.1912)

The Art Department in West Hall

The model school was relocated to the education building in the 1930s, and continued to operate until 1960. West Hall became the home of the Art Department in the 1970s.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1960)


Carruth-Rizza Hall

In 2003, West Hall was rededicated as Paul and Carolyn Carruth-Rizza Hall. Ms. Ethel Carruth donated $2.5 million to remodel the building in honor of her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Paul Rizza and Dr. Carolyn Carruth-Rizza. The project restored the original woodwork and the second story skylight atrium to the then 97-year old building.

(Photograph, color, 2003)

West Gymnasium

Constructed in 1906 of yellow brick, West Gym features a round portico supported by limestone pillars. A pair of lion statues, donated by the Class of 1908, flank these pillars. West Gym served as the gymnasium for the Normal School.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1919)

East Gymnasium

In 1930, President J. Linwood Eisenberg oversaw the construction of an addition to West Gymnasium. The East/West Complex, no longer a place of physical exercise and sport, is projected to be the home of the University's dance department in coming years.

(Photograph, black and white, c.1930)


The Army Air Corp Cadets Swing at SRSTC

During the Second World War, Slippery Rock State Teachers College had cadets from the Army Air Corp on its campus. 

(Photograph, black and white, c.1940s)