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Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
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Historic Tour > Virtual Tour > Welch Hall

Welch Hall

Welch Hall (1896)
Welch Hall (1909)

Welch Hall (1896)

Welch Hall (1909)
Historic Name(s): Training School Building (1896-25).
Adonijah S. Welch Hall (1925-present)

Date constructed: Built 1896. Dedicated March 29, 1897.

Welch Hall

Welch Hall (Present)

Architect: Designed by Malcomson and Higginbotham of Detroit.

Style of Architecture: Colonial Revival with some Classical Revival detailing.

Original Use: Teacher training school.

Dates of renovation: 1900: Wings were added to either side. Northwest wing built in 1909 and removed in 1974 to provide space to expand McKenny Union. 1988: Renovated by Louis G. Redstone Associates, Inc.

Current Use: Administrative Offices

National Register of Historic Places: 1984

Adonijah S. Welch

Adonijah S. Welch

History: Welch Hall was named for Adonijah S. Welch first principal of the university. The building was the first site of a teacher-training school west of the Alleghenies. Normal had had teacher training classes before Welch was built but these had been housed in small crowded rooms. Designers intended the new building to include teaching classrooms for nine grades (Kindergarten-eight), several offices, and an assembly room seating 400 children according to the Normal News in 1895. Viewers called the new training school a model of its kind. Student teachers held classes in Welch for 25 years. Over the years, increasing class sizes called for a number of expansions of the building. In 1900, east and west wings were added to the building and in 1909 a northwest wing was added.

Eventually classes moved from Welch to Roosevelt Hall. For some years, Welch housed the home economics, business education, geography, history, social science, and military education departments. In the 1960s, the university converted Welch into office space. In 1974 the northwest wing was removed in order to make way for the expansion of McKenny Union.

Decades of poor maintenance lead to the decline of the building. In 1982 the university closed Welch Hall sighting budgetary costs and the state’s decision to cease to fund repairs on a building it felt was no longer worth repairing. During the early 1980s the university considered a number of redevelopment options for the prominently placed building. One option was to remodel the building to be a private apartment complex. An alternate plan was demolition.

Welch’s fate changed radically in the mid-1980s. In 1985 a $2.5 million federal grant included in an education bill passed by Congress saved Welch. With the money, the university updated electrical systems, added insulation and improved heating systems. Welch was the first of several buildings in the historic section of campus to receive a facelift during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The university, under the guidance of President John W. Porter, changed its policy from one of replacing old buildings with new ones to a policy of adaptive reuse. The landmark decision at Welch hall, made possible by federal funding, has enabled Eastern Michigan University to preserve its architectural fabric. Today once dilapidated Welch Hall houses EMU’s executive offices, including the Office of the President, and acts as a gateway and a centerpiece to campus.

Location - Welch Hall


Location of Welch Hall (Click on the image for a bigger view)