In this series I will discuss many of the buildings that we have all walked by hundreds of times, but never really gave a second thought (after all, we were all planning on what we were going to do once class was over… that is assuming we went). I will give a little history on the buildings themselves and also on their namesakes. So lets get started with the first original building to be built on campus.
As I touched upon in my last post, the first original hall built on the campus was White Hall in 1868 (pictured in the upper left). It was a large three story wooden building. It housed an office for the president, three classrooms and fourteen dorm rooms. The hall was primarily used for engineering classes. White Hall was renamed to Wingate Hall prior to it being lost by a fire on February 9, 1890.
A new Wingate Hall (pictured to the right) was built on the same site in 1891 and 1892 at a cost of $30,000. The new building was built from more robust materials to ensure it’s longevity. It provided for better, more updated facilities for the engineering department. Perhaps cursed, the second Wingate Hall suffered from a fire on February 16, 1943, though not nearly as catastrophic.
Wingate Hall as it stands today (pictured in the lower left), consisting of the first two stories of the rebuilt hall of 1892, now houses student records, employment and financial aid and the Jordan Planetarium. Staying true to its original purposes the word “ENGINEERING” still appears above the main entrance.
William Palmer Wingate of Bangor (pictured in the center) served on the universities Board of Trustees from 1867 to 1884, and as President of the Board from 1879 to 1883. He was highly influential in the decision to locate the university in Orono. Having served as Street Commissioner in Bangor for many years prior, he was well versed in construction and contracting. As such, he was involved in nearly all the building projects at the university during his tenure on the board. William P. Wingate died in April of 1895 at 85 years old and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.