University of Oregon
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

Fenton Hall

Library (1906) post card

1021 East 13th Avenue

The Library in 1907

 

Summary

Original Building (1906). Architect: Yousa D. Hensill.
UO's first building dedicated for library purposes is today's Fenton Hall. The Libe, as it was known, originally housed 53,000 volumes. An endowment established by UO's benefactor Henry Villard (which exists to this day) substantially supported acquisitions. Library collections were previously housed in Collier HouseCondon HallDeady Hall, and Friendly Hall before this building existed. The second floor of the structure (known unofficially as Johnson Hall until the 1915 Administration Bldg. opened) and the basement were initially used for classrooms or offices. The library's location at the increasingly busy 13th Ave. made it a focal point of campus activity. The pathway from it to Villard was known as "Hello Walk". Changed over time has been the entrance which was originally more ornate.  Architect Yousa D. Hensill also designed the no longer extant Eugene Public Library (a Carnegie library) the same year.

 

Rear Addition (1914). Architect: William C. Knighton.
Stacks were added to the west side of the Library and the façade and interior were altered in 1914. Architect Knighton altered the entrance which originally featured a gabled portico supported by two monumental wood columns. Knighton's decorative detailing on the 1914 addition included a form of the inverted keystone found on several of his works, including his Johnson Hall of 1915. This wing continues to store library materials.

 

Renovation (1936). Architect: Lawrence & Holford.
While the new Library (now Knight Library) was nearing completion, WPA funding enabled the existing one to be remodeled to house the Law School. The Law School was originally established in 1884 in Portland and moved to Eugene in 1915. Wayne Morse, later Senator, was Dean of the school when Ellis Lawrence renovated the "Old Libe". In 1938, the building was renamed Fenton Hall after Judge William D. Fenton, an early UO benefactor.

Renovation and Upgrades (2011). The $5,600,000 project improved the operational layout of the facility, while installing seismic upgrades, energy efficient HVAC systems, an elevator to increase accessibility on all floors. Architect: Robertson Sherwood Architects. Construction Manager/General Contractor: Chambers Construction. Project Planner: Gene Mowery, UO Planning Associate. Construction Project Manager: George Bleekman, UO Capital Construction.

Photos:  top, post card, 1907; center, Oregana, 1908; bottom two, Ed Teague

Bibliography

Archives

  • University of Oregon Library : [scrapbook] [ca. 1915].
    Scrapbook of University of Oregon library when current Fenton Hall was library site. Includes photographs, floor plans, regulations, periodical indexes, recommended reading lists, sample library forms, etc.

Books and Reports

  • Fenton Hall, Historic Resource Survey.  University of Oregon Campus Planning, Design, and Construction, 2006.
  • Fenton Hall, Ellis Lawrence Building Survey, vol. 2, Eugene.  University of Oregon Historic Preservation Program, 1989. Scholars Bank.
  • Shellenbarger, Michael. "Fenton Hall." University of Oregon Architecture--A Personal Tour. [University of Oregon, 1986], 3-4.

Newspaper Articles (arranged by date)

  • 1900-1919
    • "The University Library." Oregon Weekly 7 June 1908: 13.
    • "Outdoor reading room planned for library." Daily Emerald 9 Mar. 1914: 1.
    • "Ground to be broken May 8, Work on library extension will start June 1." Daily Emerald 2 May 1914: 1.
    • "Ground broken by S. Friendly." Daily Emerald 9 May 1914: 11.
    • "New wing to Library will be ready soon." Daily Emerald 7 Nov. 1914: 2.
    • "Library addition is now completed." Daily Emerald 5 Jan. 1915: 4.
    • "New lighting at library." Daily Emerald 20 Apr. 1916: 4.
    • "Installs light system, Semi-indirect lighting to be used." Daily Emerald 13 Feb. 1917: 1.
  • 1920s
    • "Library adds more room; Many new magazines filled with current news on shelves." Daily Emerald 23 Oct. 1919: 1.
    • "Fire escapes on library provide additional exit." Daily Emerald 18 Jan. 1924: 2.
  • 1930s
    • "Early occupancy of new libe seen in WPA grant for remodling old one." Daily Emerald 31 Mar. 1931: 1.
    • "Face-lifting begins on old libe in time to get WPA . Law tomes assured new quarters." Daily Emerald 24 Apr. 1937: 1.
    • "Water line to law building being laid." Daily Emerald 29 Mar. 1938: 2.
    • "Fenton Hall is name of new law school." Daily Emerald 16 Aug. 1938: 1.
  • 1940s
    • "Remodel room in Fenton Hall." Daily Emerald 17 Nov. 1944: 3.
  • 1950s
    • "Campus 01' swimmin' hole catches Senate eye tonight." Daily Emerald 23 Oct. 1952: 1.
    • "Fenton remodeled: Offices moved." Daily Emerald 1 Oct. 1953: 4.
    • "That's water, Carol." Daily Emerald 5 May 1953: 1.
    • "Fenton Remodeled: Offices Moved." Daily Emerald 1 Oct. 1953: 4.
    • Sprinklers and Fenton pool signs of spring on campus."Daily Emerald 2 Apr. 1954: 6
    • 'O' to punish violators at Fenton Pool today." Daily Emerald 13 May 1954: 2.
  • 1970s
    • "Planning group talks of Fenton Hall use." Daily Emerald 9 Nov. 1972: 4.

 

Page author: Edward H. Teague

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