|Architects:||Bishop Philander Chase|
|Reverend Norman Nash|
|Year Built:||1829 (opened)|
This massive stone building is one of the oldest examples of collegiate Gothic architecture in the United States.
Kenyon College was founded in 1824 by Bishop Philander Chase of the Episcopal Church. Its initial function was to train clergy, but it eventually transitioned to a liberal arts college. It is the oldest private college in Ohio.
Old Kenyon was the first structure to be built on the campus of the fledgling college. Designed by Bishop Chase himself and two others, the three-story building’s design consists of a central bell tower spire and smaller spires on the corners of the secondary masses. The building is constructed of sandstone and has foundation walls that are 4 1/2 feet thick. The cornerstone was laid in 1827 and was officially opened to students in 1829. Old Kenyon is a contributing structure to the Gambier Historic District.
The building has seen several fires over its lifetime with the most significant taking place in 1949. This tragic event caused the death of nine undergraduate students and almost complete destruction of the building. It was rebuilt in the following years and improved to accommodate additional student residents. The event has contributed to stories of the ‘Kenyon Ghosts’ which haunt Old Kenyon and its young residents. The building was featured by the Weekend Journal in 1999 as one of “America’s Most Haunted” places.
If You Go:
Old Kenyon is located at the south terminus of Middle Path and on the edge of the Kokosing River Valley. Since the building is currently in use as a residence hall, it is not open to the public. However, the beautiful north facade of the building can be viewed from the path.
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