Candler Hall sits on the University of Georgia’s historic North Campus, located at 202 Herty Drive. Built at the turn of the twentieth century in 1901, one hundred sixteen years after the establishment of UGA, the hall overlooks Herty Field, where Georgia’s first football game was played on January 30, 1892. The building was named after Allen D. Candler, who served as the fifty-sixth Governor of Georgia from October 29, 1898 to October 25, 1902. Candler Hall is currently home to the School of Public and International Affairs, established in 2001. The building houses undergraduate advisement offices, the Department of International Affairs, and the Office of the Dean, Dr. Matthew R. Auer.
Under Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill’s leadership in 1901, the University of Georgia received its first direct appropriation for maintenance from the state legislature for the amount of $22,500. Governor Candler helped convince the Georgia General Assembly to allot these funds, which were used to build his eponymous building as well as nearby Denmark Hall, which was originally a dining commons named after prominent Savannah businessman and UGA alumni Brantley A. Denmark. The construction of Candler was overseen by influential designer G. L. Norrman, leading to its Beaux-Arts architectural style and early nickname: Buckingham Palace.
Upon opening, Candler Hall operated as a male dormitory and could house up to 84 students. One of these students, senior William S. Loyd accidentally shot and killed himself in 1905 while fiddling with a loaded pistol in his room on the first floor. The shocking and surreal nature of this incident led to pervasive rumors among students for most of the twentieth century that the building was haunted by Loyd’s ghost. During World War II, the United States Navy took control of several buildings on North Campus, including Candler Hall, for its Pre-Flight School, training approximately 18,000 aviators between June 1942 and September 1945. During the war, Candler Hall was renamed Yorktown Barracks and received significant internal renovations as part of this School. After the war, the building was once again a male dorm until 1956, when it became coeducational. For the next few years, it fluctuated between being coeducational, male, and female, depending on demand. Through the 1960s and 1970s, it was used indiscriminately as office and classroom space, and by the bicentennial of UGA in 1985, it housed the Institute of Higher Education. Candler Hall underwent a prestigious $3 million restoration between 2002 and 2003, which returned stairwells and ceilings back to their original locations and heights. Hardwood floors were installed, and the building’s 125 windows were also restored. Candler Hall was rededicated as the home of the School of Public and International Affairs on April 28, 2004, under UGA President Michael F. Adams.
Born in Homer, Georgia, in 1834, Allen Daniel Candler never attended the University of Georgia, instead attending Mercer University in Macon. After college, he enlisted in the Confederate States Army in 1862 and reached the rank of colonel by 1864. He lost his left eye in the Battle of Jonesboro. After the war, he had an extensive career in politics, serving in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1873 to 1877, the Georgia State Senate from 1878 to 1879, the United States House of Representatives from 1883 to 1891, as Georgia Secretary of State from 1894 to 1898, and finally as Governor of Georgia from 1898 to 1902.
During his gubernatorial tenure, he led the Democratic Party in defying the Fifteenth Amendment and holding a whites-only primary. In newspaper editorials, Candler expressed abhorrent racist and white supremacist views, writing that “enfranchisement of the Negro was a crime against civilization,” and, “no two races differing so widely as the Caucasian and the African, ever have or ever can live together in anything like equal numbers on terms of perfect equality. One race must dominate the other, and it is a matter of history that the Anglo-Saxon has never been dominated by any other race.” The most brutal lynchings in Georgia’s history occurred during his term, particularly the 1899 lynching of Sam Hose in Newnan, and Candler responded by publicly blaming the black community and taking little to no action to quell white mob violence. He died in 1910 in Atlanta, and Candler County in East Georgia was also named after him in 1914.