The building was constructed in 1912 according to the Greek Revival architecture design of Buffalo architect Edward Green, an 1878 Cornell graduate. It is shaped as an amphitheatre, with a colonnaded portico wrapping around its south side, and monumental stairs leading up to 11-foot main doors. (Crawford, Franklin (2006-09-13). "Coming back home to a rebuilt Bailey Hall". Cornell News Service. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept06/Bailey.Hall.html. Retrieved 2007-07-21.)
Bailey Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Someone once described Bailey Hall as: "acoustics by God, seats by Torquemada."(3)
Bailey Hall was first used in June of 1913.
Perhaps one of the more dramatic events to transpire in Bailey is recounted below from Bishops book, A History of Cornell:
The Hill prided itself on its broad-mindedness, its humanity above all nations and nationalisms. Fritz Kreisler, the Austrian violinist (who had played in Bailey Hall in October 1917, before an enthusiastic capacity audience), was again invited for a concert on 11 December 1919. But downtown a fervid patriotism reigned. The American Legion had condemned in national convention the appearance of any German or Austrian performer. Ithaca's Mayor called on all patriotic citizens to stay away from the concert. Nevertheless Bailey Hall was packed, the front seats being conspicuously occupied by the football team. In mid-concert about eighty hoodlums, as the Sun termed them, cut the lighting circuit and tried to invade the hall. The students rose and fought. A large band returning from a basketball game took the invaders in the rear. Kreisler, unperturbed, played on in the din of the Battle of Bailey Hall. President Schurman took his stand beside the performer. A volunteer leaped to the stage with a flashlight for the accompanist. The invaders were magnificantly repelled, to the strains of Viotti's Concerto in A minor. No tumult since Nero's time has had such a fine violin accompaniment. (433-34)(2)
There has been a long, distinguished list of classical musicians and singers who have performed at Bailey Hall including among others: Paul Robeson, Marion Anderson, Issac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Rudolph Serkin, Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, and Luciano Pavarotti.
The hall is named after Liberty Hyde Bailey (1856-1954), the first Dean of the College of Agriculture. As Parsons notes in The Cornell Campus, "Liberty Hyde Bailey supplied most of the initiative and a great deal of the drive and intelligence behind the expansion of the Cornell College of Agriculture between 1903 and 1913."
Bailey Hall has been put to some unusual uses over the years when space has been tight. Plant Pathology was housed in the basement of Bailey Hall for a time in the 1920s.
|Bailey Hall, Cornell University|
|L.M. Massey in his basement office, under the organ, at Bailey Hall|
Jerry performed here on
10/27/75 Jerry Garcia Band (4)
1.)^ Crawford, Franklin (2006-09-13). "Coming back home to a rebuilt Bailey Hall". Cornell News Service,. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept06/Bailey.Hall.html.
2.)^Bishop, Morris, A History of Cornell, pg. 433-34.
Parsons, Kermit. The Cornell Campus: A History of Its Planning and Development. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1968.
Bishop, Morris. A History of Cornell. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1962.