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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

A color image of Snell Hall.


Snell Hall was a women’s residence hall from the time it was opened in 1959 until it was remodeled in 1973 to house a Student Communication Center and an Activities Center known as MU East. Margaret Comstock Snell became the first professor of household economy and hygiene in 1889, and was head of the department until her retirement in 1908. The building now called Ballard Hall was the original Snell Hall and was originally also a women’s dormitory. Snell helped to establish the first College of Home Economics in the western United States, which began as a single classroom on the third floor of what is now Community Hall. Snell was known as the "Apostle of Fresh Air" for her love of walks and open windows, and taught courses in sewing, cooking, entertaining and conversation.

General Information


2150 SW Jefferson Way


Burns, Bear, McNeil, and Schneider Architects

Year Built



1974 - remodeled to add student union facilities

1983 - 4th floor remodeled

1988 - reroofed

Square Footage

107,213 sq ft


Houses Counseling and Psychological Services

Previous Name(s)

Extension Hall; MU East


Margaret Comstock Snell - OSU's first professor of household economy and hygiene, helped to establish the first College of Home Economics in the western U.S.

Historic District

Yes; Contributing Building


Facilities Services Records, 1888-2003; Folder 102


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

Further Archival Information

SCARC: The Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection features a subject file about Snell Hall which includes newspaper clippings and promotional materials. In addition, Harriet's Photograph Collection includes photos of Snell Hall. For more information about Margaret Comstock Snell, check out the Ava Milam Clark Papers and the History of Oregon State University Oral Histories and Sound Recordings

Oregon Digital: A search for Snell Hall yields hundreds of results, many of them being mentions of the building in university periodicals.