A touch of New England in Crete

Pure Nebraska
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 11:38 AM CST
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CRETE, Neb. (KOLN) - At Doane University, you can experience some buildings with a New England style.

Gaylord Hall is certainly one of them.

“This building was the second one built on our hilltop campus,” Local Historian Janet Jeffries said. “Doane was founded in 1872, but we didn’t build up here until 1879. We first had an old main building that burned. Gaylord is our largest old building. We have Boswell Observatory. We actually have three historic buildings listed on the national register. Gaylord is very unique for a plains campus. It was built in 1884 as ‘Ladies Hall’. In the early days, the men lived in Merrill Hall, which was the old main administration building. The ladies boarded in town. Our enrollment grew, and it seemed like we needed some place for female students to live. So, this building was built, and named ‘Ladies Hall’. We had a big debt on it. The Reverend Reuben Gaylord was the founder of congregational schools and churches in Iowa and Nebraska, and had passed away. His wife gave a large contribution to pay off the debt. The ladies moved out in the 1930′s, when we created Frees Hall.”

“Since then, Gaylord Hall has always been a vital building,” Jeffries said. “There’s always something going on here, and it’s never been empty. At one point, we had apartments in one wing, we’ve had special programming, faculty offices, and now it houses the College of Business, Humanities, as well as other departments and classrooms.”

“Gaylord Hall was designed by New England architects Cabot and Chandler,” Jeffries said. “Because of our history of Thomas Doane being from New England, founding the campus, building the railroad through most of Nebraska, he was always bringing New Englanders to campus. That’s why when we talk about our buildings, and our campus landscape, it has a New England feel. There are many articles written about us, having this New England feel on the prairie.”