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Harris Hall, 1886

Harris Hall, 1886 image

617 East Huron Street

Harris Hall, 1886
Creator: Lloyd, Gordon W.

Bishop Samuel Harris and members of the St. Andrews's Episcopal Parish began planning in 1883 for a student center and parish hall on a site which would provide the students with an alternative to the worldly recreations offered downtown. It was a time of vigorous religious activity on the campus and the more traditional churches were disturbed by the numbers of students crowding in to the popular lectures at the new Unitarian church and social center at State and Huron.

Architect Gordon W. Lloyd was asked to design a two-story brick building "economically and of sober design." Although Lloyd was a Gothicist, the building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque vogue of the time. The red brick building is trimmed with stone string courses. While the arches of the upper windows have colored glass transom lights, the recessed arches over the lower windows are finished with red terra cotta in a checkered pattern. The arched and gabled entrance portal covers the steps, and the broad arch flanked by buttressed walls is crowned by a stone drip molding and carved capitals of a Gothic character.

The Hall was finished in 1886 with funds raised throughout the Diocese and other parts of the country. J. P. Morgan contributed $1,389.50. The project required $28,000 for the building and additional funds to endow a lectureship. Originally named Hobart Hall (after the Reverend John Henry Hobart, the first Bishop to officiate in what is now the state of Michigan), the building was renamed to honor the memory of Bishop Harris when he died in 1888.

In 1943, parish and student activities were removed from Harris Hall to Canterbury House on North Division Street, and the building was leased to the USO for its work with servicemen being trained on the U-M campus. At the end of the war Harris Hall was leased to the University of Michigan and served for many years as headquarters for band activities, particularly as offices for the Michigan Marching Band and its director, William D. Revelli.

The non-denominational Word of God Community, which started in Ann Arbor in the late 1960s and became a leader in the charismatic renewal movement, purchased the building from the Episcopal Student Foundation in June of 1974. The firm of Buckheim and Rowland acquired the building in 1980 and thoroughly rehabilitated it for office space. While the interior has been somewhat altered in the conversion, the mantel piece, the staircase, and other fine appointments have been retained.

Rights Held By
Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.