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Main Hall is probably the most recognizable buildings on Carroll's campus, and figures prominently on institutional publications and swag. Since its $4 million renovation (2001-2), Main has housed classrooms and a gallery space. Earlier generations of students and faculty, however, remember Main as the heart and soul of campus. In all its incarnations, Main Hall is known for the bell tower, stained glass and steep central staircase.


  • Main Hall Stained Glass Window
  • Main Hall Voorhees Addition Construction
  • Main Hall and a Large Crowd
  • Joyce Paddock Bliss Gallery

The young Carroll College built Main Hall in 1852, but thirty-three years later, a chimney fire spread through the rafters, burning the building to the ground. From the ashes rose a new building that opened to students in the year 1887. This “modern” structure included a gymnasium, theater, library, chapel, faculty offices, classrooms, and science labs. However, Main wasn’t always just Main. Look closely at the front of the building; do you see the “1900” cornerstone? The part of Main Hall to the right of that stone was formerly known as Voorhees Hall. Once the “new” Voorhees was built, both halves of Main could be dedicated to academics and athletics.

 

Nearly every member of the campus community has a story to tell about Main Hall. A breathless race up the stairs for an 8am class, creaking floorboards as an excited professor leaps off the table, huddling in the basement during a tornado warning, and the head-scratching problem of getting a cow out of the bell tower. The class of ’93 commemorated their memories by donating a stained-glass window above the main entrance on the east side of the building. And since 2013, the Joyce Paddock Bliss (’48) Gallery has offered a stunning venue for visual and multi-media exhibitions. Come check out the 19th century bones of this 21st century facility!

“Main Hall (1885).” 1885. Box 10 Folder 11. Carroll Building Collections. Carroll University Archives. Waukesha, WI.

“Main Hall (second, built 1885).” 1885-1900. Box 1 Folder 4. Carroll Building Collections. Carroll University Archives. Waukesha, WI.

“Main Hall (second, built 1885).” 1899-1900. Box 15 Folder 8. Carroll Building Collections. Carroll University Archives. Waukesha, WI.

Stephanie Book “Behind the walls and under the floors of Main Hall”, The New Perspective, Nov. 20, 1998, 4.

“Historical Timeline”, Carroll University https://www.carrollu.edu/about/history-timeline

Waukesha Landmarks, The Carroll College/College Avenue Historic District

Waukesha Freeman. Dec 2, 2002.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Main Hall Stained Glass Window, Unknown. Carroll History Collection, in the Carroll University Digital Collections, http://digitalcollections.carrollu.edu (accessed November 12, 2019)

Main Hall Voorhees Addition Construction, 1900. Carroll History Collection, in the Carroll University Digital Collections, http://digitalcollections.carrollu.edu (accessed November 12, 2019)

Main Hall and a Large Crowd, Unknown. Carroll History Collection, in the Carroll University Digital Collections, http://digitalcollections.carrollu.edu (accessed November 12, 2019)

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