the middle campus
The Middle Campus
The Middle Campus was the first area to be developed on the Chestnut Hill campus. It is also the area where most of the lecture halls and classrooms are located.
Boston College was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1863 as a means of providing a college education for the children of Irish-Catholic immigrants. Originally located on Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston, where it shared quarters with Boston College High School, the College outgrew its crowded urban setting toward the end of the 19th century.
A new location was selected, west of the city, in what was then an almost rural village of Newton called Chestnut Hill. The property purchased in 1907, overlooking the reservoir, had belonged to Amos Adams Lawrence, a wealthy textile magnate and a distinguished member of the Lawrence family. A design competition for the development of the campus was won by Charles Donagh Maginnis of the Boston firm of Maginnis and Walsh. Ground was broken on June 19, 1909, for the first of a series of handsome Gothic structures on "the Heights."
The style adopted for the group of buildings that would dominate the middle campus was English Collegiate Gothic. The architects felt this style would be not only suitable for the topography of the area, but also most appropriate for an academic institution with a strong religious foundation. Eventually Gasson Hall, St. Mary's Hall, Devlin Hall, and the Bapst Library became what the first university historian, Rev. Charles F. Donovan, SJ, called the "original architectural gems" of the University, and the center from which all future classroom buildings on the Middle Campus would radiate.