Goodnow Hall

Street Address: 
1118 Park Street
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States

Building Details

Offices / Resources: 
Global Development Studies
Building History: 

Dedicated in 1885, Goodnow was one of four structures built soon after the cyclone of 1882. Today, Goodnow is the oldest existing building on campus and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Although it was the ninth building constructed for what was then called Iowa College, Goodnow was the first built with a gift from a single person. Edward A. Goodnow, a manufacturer and philanthropist from Worcester, Mass., donated $10,000 to the College for the construction of the library and observatory. Goodnow was a parishioner in the Piedmont Congregational Church in that city and a close friend of its pastor, David O. Mears, and his wife, the former Mary Chapin Grinnell, daughter of Josiah and Julia Chapin Grinnell. Designed by Stephen E. Earle of Worcester, Goodnow Hall was built in the heavy Romanesque style that Henry Hobson Richardson, Earle's mentor, used for many American structures. The building served as the College's library as well as its astronomical observatory, the latter installed in the massive tower on the west front. The walls of the building are constructed of a pink sandstone (Sioux Falls quartzite), which was quarried in South Dakota; the trim is a white stone from Missouri. In its original use as a library, the building's interior had a large reading room extending up through two floors, with stacks on the sides of the room and reading tables in the long center aisle on the first floor. With the opening of Carnegie Hall as the college library in 1905, Goodnow was turned into a classroom and faculty office facility. A refurbishing of Goodnow in 1995 resulted in excellent new quarters for the Department of Anthropology and later Department of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies.