Saturday, February 2, 2013
Woolsey Hall, Yale University, 500 College Street, New Haven, CT
One wing of the Beaux-Artes Bicentennial Buildings (built with funds from the alumni) erected in 1902 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the University. The firm of Carrere & Hastings designed the imposing complex of Indiana limestone.
The building underwent systems modernization in 1948, and general building exterior restoration in the mid 1980's. The College Street Wing, Woolsey Hall, is the university’s main auditorium.
It contains the Newberry Memorial Organ, honoring John Stoughton Newberry of Detroit and given by his family who also provided for subsequent rebuilding in 1916 and 1929.
Woolsey Hall's murals represent the ideal of a classical education and include images on the nine muses and the goddess Athena. They reflect the age when Yale was an all-male college.
Memorial Hall rounds the corner of Grove and College streets.(1)
The central unit of the group and main entrance, it a circular building with a domed roof. Its entrance physically balances that of Victorian Gothic Sterling Hall on the mirror corner of College and Grove, and architecturally complements the Classical Byers Hall across College Street.(2)
Tablets commemorate Yale men who died in the War of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as other memorial plaques, are mounted in the corridors. Woolsey Hall's murals represent the ideal of a classical education and include images on the nine muses and the goddess Athena. They reflect the age when Yale was an all-male college. The President’s Room on the second floor is used for official functions. For many years the Steinert Collection of Musical Instruments was exhibited on the third floor. It now houses electronic recording studios for the School of Music.
The hall's lack of draperies, carpeting and upholstered seats all contribute to its superior acoustics for musical performance, though the acoustics work far more in favor of the organ than for other sounds. Woolsey Hall predates any major studies within the field of acoustics, so aside from its large size, rectangular shape, hard surfaces and high vaulted ceiling, it has no peculiar architectural properties that contribute positively to its sound. Some student musicians at Yale[who?], especially choral singers, resent Woolsey's muddy resonance, which easily obscures text and delicate timbres, and can also make it difficult to hear oneself on stage.(4)
One seat on the first balcony was reputedly made extra large to accommodate Yale's ultimate "big man on campus," trustee and alum William Howard Taft.
Jerry performed here on
10/22/75 Jerry Garcia Band
3.)^Ossman, Laurie; Ewing, Heather (2011). Carrère and Hastings, The Masterworks. Rizzoli USA.
4.)^Yale Daily News. 2010-03-25, http://www.newhavensymphony.org/blog/2010/03/25/woolsey-hall-renovations/