Manhattanville College Campus Buildings
Ophir Farm and Manhattanville College
Manhattanville and the Purchase Environmental Protective Association (PEPA) worked together to preserve Ophir Farm Estate's historic structures and cultural landscape, much of it co-located on the college campus, and created a book to celebrate the land's rich history.Dating back to the 17th century, the story of Ophir Farm combines just the right mix of historical truth and local legend, and serves as a worthy heritage for Manhattanville College, now on the same site. The book provides a glimpse into the history, landscaping and architecture of both and is designed to make the buildings and scenery come alive.Read the book
"The History of Reid Castle"
A new document made in collaboration with the Office of Communications delving into the very interesting story of our castle and campus. Enjoy!View the Document
Campus Buildings – What’s In A Name?
Reid Hall (1892)
The Reids rebuilt under the direction of the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. This home was designed in the style of a gothic castle and built onto the old foundation. The estate was completed in 1892.
A three story addition including the East Library and West Room was completed in 1912. Unfortunately Whitelaw Reid did not live to see its completion, he had passed away a few months earlier while serving as the ambassador to England.
Elizabeth Mills Reid passed away in 1931 and the contents of the house were auctioned in 1935. In 1947 the Reid family placed the estate up for sale.
When Manhattanville College took ownership of the building, the main floor was preserved, however, the upper floors were repartitioned to provide office space for the administration.
The castle was dedicated to Elizabeth Mills Reid September 19, 1969 and formally named Reid Hall in her honor. In 1974 the U.S. Department of the Interior placed Reid Hall on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical and architectural significance.
The Library (1952)
Manhattanville enlisted the New York City architectural firm of Eggers & Higgins to design their new campus. Eggers & Higgins had made a name in higher education architecture, designing the Indiana University Bloomington campus, and buildings at Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The library was built to hold over 200,000 books and maintained similar design features of the previous library, including the layout of reading rooms and study carrels in the book tiers.
When the college relocated to Purchase a few familiar names were carried over. At the previous campus, Benziger was the name of the gymnasium. It had been named in honor of the Benziger family who had assisted with the financing of the building.
Benziger is remarkable in being the first building in the United States to utilize prestressed concrete. The Korean War created a shortage of steel for construction purposes, necessitating innovation. Today, prestressed concrete is found in high rise buildings and even used for the containment of nuclear reactors. To understand the strengths of this technique note how few columns are necessary for support, allowing for unobstructed views of the entire dining hall.
Brownson Hall (1952)
The south end of the building was designed to house the sciences and the north end was designed for the studio arts. The Music Building, although attached, was built as its own entity to house the Pius X School of Liturgical Music.
Brownson Wing was not added until 1959. This addition initially held no classrooms, instead serving as office space for faculty members, rooms for committee meetings, and typing facilities for students.
Kennedy Gymnasium (1957)
The Kennedy Gymnasium was made possible through a grant from the Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy Jr. Foundation. The Kennedy family dedicated the gymnasium in honor of daughter Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, who was killed in a plane crash in 1948.
The dedication for both Kennedy Gymnasium and Spellman Hall were held October 27, 1957 and presided over by Cardinal Spellman. In attendance were Joseph P. Kennedy, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy ‘11, Jean Kennedy Smith ‘49, and Ethel Skakel Kennedy ‘49. Edward M. Kennedy delivered the dedication speech.
O'Byrne Chapel (1963)
For the first decade in Purchase, the campus worship space was located in the West Room.
In 1961 construction began on the chapel. On June 8, 1962 the bell tower was installed. Of the three bells, two are from the original campus on Convent Avenue in New York City. These bells are named “Saint Joseph” and “Mater Admirabilis” and date to 1889 and 1901 respectively. The third bell, given as a gift, was named “Saint Madeleine Sophie” to honor the French founder of the Religious of the Sacred Heart.
The Chapel was completed in 1963 and named in Honor of President Eleanor O’Byrne, RSCJ. O’Byrne is the longest serving president with an administration lasting from 1945 to 1966. President O’Byrne guided Manhattanville through the relocation of campus and the subsequent doubling of the student and faculty population. Upon her retirement, The New York Times wrote of her legacy, “In front of her to the south as she stood on the old gray turreted castle was the campus she was instrumental in creating, all limestone and brick, and still a-building.”
Many design and artistic elements in the chapel celebrate color and light. The stained glass windows were created by Stephen Bridges of the Rambush Studios. The large window over the nave is 35 feet high and 32 feet wide, while the windows along the nave are 36 feet high and 5 feet wide. An abstract design and the rich reds, yellows and blues used in the glass, create different effects in the Chapel as the sun changes position.
The altar itself also plays with color and light. The tile behind the bronze crucifix appears at first to be gold. In fact it is a mosaic composed of different colored stones. The effect of light transmission is achieved by grading the colors from intense tones of blue, red and green at the base to pale shades of silver and gold at the top.
Ohnell Environmental Center (2006)
On September 26, 2006 the Manhattanville community dedicated the Ohnell Environmental Center. The center was made possible through a generous contribution from Pat Ohnell ’67 and Trustee Nick Ohnell.
The center includes a classroom housed within a LEED-compliant, non-invasive structure designed by Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam War Memorial. This was Maya Lin's first external structure for a college campus. The structure's innovations include sustainable harvested wood, angled sun-shade louvers, low-E insulated windows, recycled cellulose insulation batts, and a "living machine" filtration pool. The classroom is designed in a way that no mechanical devices are required for heating or cooling.
Lady Chapel Restoration
The Environmental Center also included a restoration of the Lady Chapel. The Chapel was built in the 1860s by the Holladay family and is the oldest of three remaining family chapels in Westchester County. New stonework and a glass roof provided a unique reflective space on campus. As President Berman noted at the dedication, "The Environmental Park is a sustainable way to preserve our past and present and protect our future."
Richard A. Berman Student Center (2008)
The Richard A. Berman Student Center is the most recent building on campus, completed in 2008. The building was named in honor of Richard Berman who served as college president from 1995 to 2009.
The center continues the commitment to environmental sustainability. Requiring less than half the total energy of a building of the same size, the Center achieved a LEED gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building houses fitness, dance, and performance centers, the college radio station, and Student Activities Offices.
Founders Hall (1952)
Spellman Hall (1957)
On November 11, 1956 eight months into the construction of the Kennedy Gymasium, ground was broken on a second residence hall. The dormitory was made possible through contributions from alumnae, parents, and friends of the college.
Architects Eggers and Higgins returned to design both buildings in the established Manhattanville style of Norman rusticated brick. Spellman was built to house an additional 331 students, a typing room, and television room. Spellman Hall was named for Francis Cardinal Spellman, a longtime friend of the college, who served as the sixth Archbishop of New York from 1939 to 1967.
Dammann Hall and Tenney Hall (1966)
Two additional residence halls were added to the campus in 1966. Unlike the Norman rusticated brick of previous buildings these broke from the former style and used buffed limestone.
Dammann Hall is named for Mother Grace C. Dammann, RSCJ, the fourth president of Manhattanville from 1931 to 1945. President Dammann is central to Manhattanville history as an early champion for civil rights and social action.
Tenney Hall is named for Mother Mary B. Tenney, RSCJ, Registrar from 1921 to 1945 and much admired Professor of History from 1921 to 1961.
Faculty Housing (1991)
The Cottages (2010)
Long before Manhattanville arrived at this location, the estate of Whitelaw Reid was a working farm with livestock, orchards, and hundreds of acres of crops. Several structures remain from this farm. Among them, cottages, once home to farm employees and their families. In 2010 these cottages were converted to student housing. Their names also honor important Manhattanville individuals and locations.
The Burnett House
The Olmsted House
The Houston House
The Duchesne House
The Marissa A. Pagli House