Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Miner Hall, 1891
|Miner Hall was constructed in 1891 to serve as headquarters for the School of Theology. It was named for Alonzo A. Miner, second president of Tufts College and the major donor to the project.|
The groundbreaking ceremony for Miner Hall took place on October 25, 1891. Miner had donated $40,000 to Tufts in order to build an adequate home for the School of Theology, which had previously been squeezed into Ballou Hall. Architect George F. Loring was hired to design the building. Loring had worked on a number of buildings in the area, including the Somerville Public Library and the Odd Fellows Hall. Loring designed Miner to include classrooms and office space, along with a chapel on the second floor and heating facilities in the basement. Anticipating the possibility of running electricity to the new building, combination gas and electric lighting was installed. The sole stipulation of the grant to build Miner was that funds be raised for an accompanying dormitory, and the subsequent drive resulted in the construction of Paige Hall, immediately next door.
The School of Theology remained in Miner Hall until 1910, when space at Tufts became extremely limited. The low enrollment numbers in the School of Theology, coupled with the need for a headquarters for newly founded Jackson College, resulted in a redesignation of space. Under a five-year agreement, Miner was converted to house all of Jackson's facilities, and Theology was moved out of the building.
With the outbreak of World War I, Miner again changed hands. Along with many other buildings on the Tufts campus, Miner was given over to the United States military for use in the war effort, and was not returned to Tufts until the end of the war, at which point the theology department again reclaimed Miner, remaining there through renovations that converted the upstairs chapel into more classroom space, and added a lounge to the basement level. Between 1927 and 1929, Miner was again renovated, and the newly remodeled first floor was designated as the home of the Crane School of Religion.
Miner remained home to Crane until 1955, when the building was split to include space for the Department of Modern Languages, which later was moved to . After the Department of Modern Languages vacated Miner, the building briefly served as home to part of the History Department, which vacated its offices in Miner when the opening of the Olin Center freed up additional space in .
Surviving a slew of renovations and even a small fire in 1991, Miner remains in use today. It currently houses the Departments of Philosophy and Comparative Religion, and also serves as headquarters of the Experimental College.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.