A New Place...A New Design 1910-1913

Two Occidental faculty, Dean William D. Ward and Professor Lorin R. Handley, were the first to see the possibilites of the picturesque valley of Eagle Rock. In late 1909, several Eagle Rock landowners offered property to the college. In January 1910, an outright gift of 65 acres was made by Ralph rogers and James G. Garth, with an agreement to sell 21 additional acres.

Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. E. P. Clapp and College President John Willis Baer appointed a special committee to supervise building operations. The Southern California architectural firm of Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey were hired to prepare a comprehensive building and landscape plan. in 1910, when the firm of Hunt and Grey was dissolved, Hunt became the sole architect and designer.

Myron Hunt

 

Myron Hunt designed the master plan for the Occidental College campus

John Willis Baer

 

John Willis Baer, Occidental College President

Historian Robert Cleland states, "Mr. Hunt brought to his task the ability to see both present and future needs, the wisdom to select an architectural style appropriate to the campus and environment and the skill to make each building add to the harmony and beauty of the whole." Cleland adds that budget limitations sometimes required Hunt "to make his bricks with very little straw." The Trustees appreciated Hunt's business viewpoint to get the job done in the best way possible, as soundly as possible.

Myron Hunt designed the master plan for the Occidental College campus along a cross-axial plan with the majority of the buildings designed in a Mediterranean Revival style. He continued to design additions to the campus until his retirement in 1940. 

Plans were finalized in late 1911 and actual construction began in January, 1912. Students were already starting to visit the new site, staging picnics and baseball games on the empty fields. The quarter centennial celebration of the founding of the college would be postponed from 1912 until the spring of 1914 to coincide with the dedication of the new campus, and with it a new beginning for Occidental. 

Occidental Women Playing Baseball, 1910

 

Occidental women play a game of baseball near the future location of Erdman Hall in 1910. Dean of the College Dr. William D. Ward is in the bowler hat at right.

Los Angeles Times, 1911

 

 

Plans for the new campus were announced on December 17, 1911 in a front page story of the Los Angeles Times.

Prev Next