Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

Hartwell Hall

“Often, when places are special to people because of their beauty, unique natural features, or history, individuals and groups work to preserve them,” (Hemlers, pg. 59). This is exactly the case for Hartwell Hall, which is one of the oldest buildings on The College at Brockport’s campus. This building, specifically the tower, is historically known to the campus because it was the building that preceded the campaign (led by Ernest Hartwell and Donald Tower), to grant Brockport teachers college status for the state. This one building in 1945 encompassed the whole school over a span of six acres, prior to Brockport becoming a SUNY campus. As vernacular landscapes do, this building shares significant value to the campus and surrounding community. Even with the change of times the building layout may have altered, but the tower still stands tall. Work has, and will continue, to keep its historic integrity since this tower serves as a memorial to the campus. It shares the legends of our past, which has brought us to our present day curriculum on this campus.




Do you think that people on campus are generally aware of the actual history associated with the building, or would it be fair to say that most just know it as an ‘old building’? Also, do you know if the tower still functions as a centerpiece for the campus — have taller buildings been built up around it, diminishing its prominence?

It’s interesting how, purely through its architectural features, a building can sometimes project a clear sense of authority even though much larger, more imposing buildings may surround it. I think people do consciously or subconsciously associate certain styles of architecture with authority. There are any number of Gothic cathedrals in Europe which could be transplanted to New York City and, to my mind, be far more impressive than the Empire State Building.


I think that the history of a place, in this case a campus, is more known to a person the more connected the person is to the place and the longer they’ve been affiliated with it. Additionally, if the culture of the place honors these places, spaces, and histories, then its significance is shared and passed along.

Leave a comment


email (not published)