Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Gothic

Back in 1851, when Alfred University was known as Alfred Academy, Samuel S. White built the building we know as "The Gothic" for his daughter, Serena Sayles. The Gothic was originally built at the site of Herrick Library, and part of it was relocated to Sayles Street in 1955. The building is elaborately designed, true to its original ornament along with arched windows and doorways. Its geometry and steep roof makes it hard not to notice when walking by. It is an infamous building amongst architects.

In 1876, The Gothic was sold to the University. It was redesigned many different times, according to its usage at the time. For the first 25 years of its life, The Gothic was a private home. It was then a library, classrooms, student rooms, and a chemistry laboratory between 1876 and 1901. By 1901, the building served as the University's School of Theology, and the first floor of a wing was converted into a chapel, while the rest remained as classrooms, common rooms, a gymnasium, and a library. After a while, The Gothic no longer had much need as it was slowly giving way to the elements, and was used for storage for what can only be described as junk.

In 1955, The Gothic was in need of intensive repairs that the University was unwilling to pay due to the greater need for a larger library. The community of Alfred was in an uproar about what to do about this fantastic yet diminished structure and thought it too beautiful and poignant to . At this time, Hazel Humphreys had the west wing preserved and moved via tow truck while the rest of the structure was torn down, and Herrick Memorial Library took its place. The Gothic, now on the corner of Sayles and Ford Street, is currently an interdenominational religious chapel. Although it is now more humble building, the ornament and geometry of the exterior is quite striking and its character was paid close attention to. The lettering across the top of the door is in Gothic Rotunda, and spells out “Gothic Chapel,” complimenting the design of the building.

The Gothic represents the need for perseverance in a community. Since Alfred has been prone to fires in the past (The Brick, Kanakadea, and most recently parts of downtown), preserving the original buildings we have is very important because we have lost so much history.

(Still working on it)

1 comment:

  1. This is well written and shows a nice progression over time. I would like more pictures or a greater description of the changes that occurred but other than that it is straight to the point and very informative.