Before it was home to the Fishbowl or a warm shortcut between the Diag and State Street during the winter, Angell Hall was the University’s solution to a rapidly growing student body.
Prompted by overcrowded classrooms and instances where classes had to be canceled due to a lack of space, plans for the construction of Angell Hall were part of a building program led by former University President Marion Leroy Burton that began in 1920, according to the Bentley Historical Library’s website.
Burton envisioned that the new building would be the centerpiece of campus upon its completion, according to the website.
“It (should) be beautiful, dignified and commanding,” Burton said. “ It (should) help give unity and form to the entire campus.”
When the building was finished in 1924 — at a cost of just over $1 million — the new 152,000-square-foot, four-story building provided space for classrooms and offices for the University’s president and other administrators, according to the Bentley’s website. Angell Hall also became the new home for some departments in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
Designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, the building’s exterior was intended to match that of campus other buildings at the time, including Hill Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Hall and the Clements Library, according to the Bentley’s website.
With eight columns that stretched the original length of the 480-foot building, the design of Angell Hall was structured to match the architectural style of the time. The sculptures and mottos carved into the stone above the State Street entrance were included to reflect the importance of education.
The building was named for former University President James Burrill Angell, who oversaw the University from 1871 to 1909.
The Angell Hall Auditoriums were constructed as an addition to the building in 1952.