Strong Hall

From GW Encyclopedia

Strong Hall, 1938



Title: Strong Hall

Address: 620 21st Street, N.W.

Square and lot, bordering streets: Square 80, lots 818-819 (F, G, 21st, 22nd Street)

Architect: A.B. Trowbridge and Waldron Faulkner

Date of construction: 1934

Original owner: George Washington University

Architectural Description: Designed in a Georgian Revival style of red brick, this seven-story building is 128 feet wide and 38 feet deep. The building is massed into three vertical parts; the central section is one-story higher than its flanking parts. A stylized pergola fashioned in brick sits atop each side section, continuing the cornice line of the center structure. Evenly spaced sash windows punctuate the symmetrical facade. A concrete belt course is set between the first and second floors, and again between the fifth and sixth floors, establishing horizontal divisions. The first floor level takes on the appearance of rustication providing a strong base for the composition.

Following the stylistic lead of the Harris Plan (which included Corcoran and Stockton Halls), the architects relied on principles and details inspired by the Georgian Revival but re-interpreted to meet a 20th century sense of scale or proportion. This is the last structure designed under the University's auspices that uses this style.

Historic designation: DC Landmark, 11/18/87; National Register 4/12/91


The Hattie M. Strong Residence Hall for Women was constructed by the Charles H. Tompkins Company to meet the growing demand for residential housing at the University and was dedicated May 7, 1937. It was the first dorm built on campus. Until the end of World War II, there was no campus housing for men. Mrs. Henry Alvah Strong gave the University $200,000 for a women's dormitory in December of 1934. Mrs. Strong was a Washington resident and later a Trustee for the University. Her donation helped realize the vision of then President Marvin for a residential campus.

Hattie Maria Corrin was born in South Coventry, Connecticut on October 23, 1864. In 1905 she married Henry Alvah Strong, co-founder and first president of Eastman Kodak Company. Henry Strong died in 1919. In 1928 Mrs. Strong created the Hattie Strong Foundation dedicated to helping students and enriching non-profit colleges. She died on June 6, 1950 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A tablet on the north wall of the building bears the inscription: “Erected by a woman’s altruism and understanding. Dedicated to the growth of the human spirit that God and the State may be served by noble women.”

Strong Hall has remained women-only housing since its inception.

Document Information

Images: 1
Photographic Credit: GW University Historical Photographs Collection
Author or Source: Application for Historic Buildings Registry, 1974
Document Location: University Archives
Date Added to Encyclopedia: January 19, 2007, last updated October 26, 2011
Prepared by: Lyle Slovick; G. David Anderson

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