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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

An image of the Administration Building, now known as Community Hall.


Situated on a gentle slope called "College Hill" just west of downtown Corvallis, present-day Oregon State University was born with the laying of the cornerstone for the Administration Building in 1887. On July 2, 1888, Oregon's governor, Sylvester Pennoyer, accepted the new Administration Building (later renamed Benton Hall; present-day Community Hall) and property for the state as a gift of the citizens of Corvallis and Benton County. The first classes were held in the building in the fall of 1888.

Designed by architect Wilbur R. Boothby, of Salem, and costing $25,000 to construct, the building originally housed everything - from all the college’s classrooms, to administrative offices and laboratory space. Materials comprising the College's library were housed there until 1918, and the President’s Office resided there until 1923. The Music Department took up residence in 1916, and is the building's sole remaining tenant.

The modern-day clock tower was installed during the university's centennial; until that time the face was painted on. The Administration Building was renamed Benton Hall in 1947.

General Information


1650 SW Pioneer Pl


Wilbur R. Boothby; Edgar Lazarus (1899 changes to the building)

Year Built




Square Footage



Previously: Classrooms, Administrative Offices, Library (1888-1918), President's Office (1888-1923);

Currently: Music Department

Previous Name(s)




Historic District

Yes; Historic Contributing Building




Facilities Services Records, 1888-2003. Series XX:  Campus, Farm, and Property Maps, 1899-1990. Campus and Farm Maps: 3-A

Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994


Oregon State University Historical Photographs, 1868-1980
Betty Kerr Photographs, 1890-1893
Oregon State University Military Photographs Collection, 1875-1975
Alexander K. Chapman Photograph Collection, 1908-1910
Charles David Little Photograph Collection, 1903-1905
James G. Arbuthnot Photograph Collection, 1909-1915

Further Archival Information

SCARC: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center's holdings include a wide variety of collections documenting the history of the Administration Building, including personal papers, photographs, and university records.

Oregon Digital: Digital resources documenting the history of the Administration Building include over 200 images, and over 2,200 textual documents. Some of these resources, however, relate to the current Kerr Administration Building. One item of note is a floor plan showing the first floor of the Administration Building in 1895.