Mason and Haven Halls, and Angell Hall addition


Mason and Haven Halls

The extraordinary increase in students, faculty and staff immediately after World War II, made the need for additional classroom and office space acute. In the spring of 1946 an application was made to the Federal Works Agency for funds to prepare plans for an addition to Angell Hall. The sum of $60,000 was received in July, 1946, and the Regents selected the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls of Detroit to draw up preliminary plans (Regent's Proceedings, 1945-48, p. 475).

In its initial stages, the planning proceeded on the assumption that the new building or buildings would replace six old structures which had been condemned as fire hazards: Haven Hall, University Hall, which included the original Mason Hall and South College, the Romance Language Building (the original Museum) and the Economics Building. At that time this represented a potential loss of sixty-five classrooms and 142 offices.

Haven Hall

University Hall (left) Romance Language Building (right)

University Hall behind Angell Hall
Economics Building (originally a part of the Chemical Laboratory)

Dean Hayward Keniston of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts proposed that these buildings be replaced by four separate structures: an addition to Angell Hall, a foreign language building, a human relations building, and an institutional relations building. These were to provide a total of about 140 classrooms and 250 offices. These proposals, however, were regarded as much too ambitious, and it was thought wiser to consider the removal of only three buildings, University Hall, including the original Mason Hall and South College.

The original plan to enlarge Angell Hall by the addition of wings at the ends with an adjoining wing running north and south to enclose a central court was abandoned. The enormous increase in building costs made such a plan prohibitive, if the proposed addition were to conform to the architectural style of Angell Hall.

Original Architectural Drawing for Angell Hall

After much study it became apparent that offices and classrooms could not be combined in one building, as ceiling height for classrooms was considerably greater than that necessary for offices. A decision was made to house some offices and classrooms in an office building with smaller offices and lower ceilings, and to build a second structure to include only the classrooms.

The legislature failed to appropriate funds for the buildings in the spring of 1949, and construction was therefore postponed. Action was precipitated, however, the following year by the destruction of Haven Hall by fire in June, 1950. Immediate application was then made to the legislature and in House Bill No. 32 the legislature appropriated the sum of $1,500,000 for the Angell Hall addition with the understanding that the total cost of the complete program would not exceed $4,000,000 (Regent's Proceedings, 1948-51, p. 923). In the meantime prices had risen, and the plans prepared in 1948 were revised in an attempt to bring the cost of the structure within the sum approved by the legislature. One auditorium unit was eliminated, and the other was redesigned to contain four lecture halls. Costs were also pared by other modifications in interior construction.

The Angell Hall addition comprised a four-story classroom section, including space for a study hall, two auditorium units, each containing two lecture halls, and an eight-story office building.

The rear of Angell Hall after the demolition of University Hall

The buildings were completed in the spring of 1952. The Regents decided to retain the old names, Mason Hall and Haven Hall, assigning Mason Hall to the classroom section and Haven Hall to the office building. The four large auditoriums were named Angell Hall Auditoriums A, B, C, and D. On September 26, 1952, the buildings were formally dedicated in an appropriate ceremony on the steps of the General Library.

Angell Hall with additions - Mason Hall (left) Haven Hall (right)

When the Mason Hall and Haven Hall units were added in 1952 the north and south ends of Angell Hall, which had been left bricked up in anticipation that the completion of the building would extend them, were refinished in limestone.

Haven Hall included 188 offices, housing 175 members of the faculty in addition to teaching fellows and secretarial staff. The Auditoriums, A, B, C, and D, seated 350, 258, 200, and 196, respectively.

Haven Hall (right) Angell Hall Auditoriums (center)

Mason Hall had forty-one classrooms and twenty offices, a study hall and laboratories.

The University Main BuildingMason Hall Faculty Office
Mason Hall Classroom

"Fishbowl" between Mason and Haven Halls
Students outside the "Fishbowl"

In the early stages of planning the Angell Hall addition, it was provided that the building would house all the social science departments of the College. The reduction of space in the building, however, as a result of increased building costs and the dislocations produced by simultaneous elimination of Haven Hall, Mason Hall, University Hall, and South Wing required some modification in the original plans. Haven Hall had housed the departments of History, Sociology, Journalism, and the Bureau of Government Library. The Department of Philosophy and the academic counselors for freshmen and sophomores had been in Mason Hall. The Institute for Social Research occupied most of the space in University Hall, while South Wing housed teaching fellows in mathematics and Romance languages, as well as the Romance Languages Laboratory. It became necessary, therefore, to consider a rather general redistribution of space in Angell Hall, as well as in the new building.

After much study of the situation, the Executive Committee of the College, in March, 1951, recommended to the administration the following allocation of space in the office section of the addition: the first and second floors to the Department of English, the third floor to the Department of History, the fourth floor to the Department of Political Science, the fifth floor to the Department of Sociology, and the sixth and seventh floors to the Department of Psychology. A conference room on the ground floor was assigned to each of these departments.

Most of the third floor of the classroom section of the addition was allocated to the Department of Psychology for student and research laboratories, including the Vision Research Laboratory, and two rooms on the ground floor were set aside for the Psychology Instrument Shop. The Department of Journalism, the Language Laboratory, and the English Language Institute were assigned space on the first floor.

Burton Thuma (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1678)

Haven Hall (left) Mason Hall (right)