Gates Hall bears the name of Grinnell’s second president, George Augustus Gates, who led the College from 1887 through 1900. Gates Hall is connected to the other five original men’s halls by an open cloister or loggia, with a long line of 38 arches spanning the east side of the buildings from Dibble to Smith. Gates-Rawson Tower, with its elaborate archways and tower at the center of the six original structures, provides one of Grinnell College’s most famous landmarks. This central archway is positioned between Gates Hall on the north and Rawson Hall on the south. The spaces above the arches on both the east and west elevations are similar in decoration, having intricate oriel windows, escutcheons, and other Gothic elements. The towers are crenelated, again reflecting a Gothic motif.
Gates Hall is recognizable by its tower, the northern of the two towers that are a central feature of the north campus range of residences, at Park Street and Ninth Avenue. Resembling the gate of Hampton Court Palace, it aligns with a parallel gate that is part of Rose Hall on East Campus. It therefore, with Rawson to the immediate south, forms part of the part of the “equinox pathway”: early risers on the morning of the vernal equinox can view the sunrise directly to the east through two campus archways - the Rose Hall arch and the Rawson/Gates Tower arch. Gates Hall features four student lounges and one kitchen. The rooms are assigned as singles, double, and triples.