History of Graves Hall

Photo of Graves Hall
Building Information
  • Built in 1894
  • Renovated in 1962, 1980 and 2008–2009
  • Third-oldest building on campus

Graves Hall, built in 1894, is a beautiful stone building which houses classrooms, Winants Auditorium, the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) and Upward Bound programs, and the Henry Schoon Meditation Chapel. The building was named for primary donor, Nathan F. Graves, a Reformed Church layman.

Graves Hall is the third-oldest and one of the most distinct buildings on campus. It was originally constructed as the college’s chapel, Winants Chapel, and library and also held four classrooms.

Winants Chapel remained until Dimnent Memorial Chapel was constructed in 1929, and Graves served as the library until the completion of Van Zoeren Library in 1961. The hall was renovated in 1962 to make room for the academic departments of sociology and social work and world languages and cultures, as well as to reconstruct Winants Chapel into an auditorium. Another renovation took place in the 1980s.

Graves underwent a massive ‘adaptive restoration’ project from 2008–2009. The project’s goal was to restore the character of the building as it existed before major interior renovations in the 1960s and 1980s while also updating contemporary standards for access, safety and use. The project, which totaled $5.7 million, was completed in August 2009.

Fun Facts

  • The stone of which Graves is made was quarried along the Black River, only a mile or so from campus; the Tower Clock building on River Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Holland, built in 1892, is also built with this stone
  • The 1980 renovation included restoring stained glass based on surviving samples from the original Graves Chapel and reorienting seating to the original chapel-era design
  • The 2008–2009 renovation was informed using original blueprints from the college’s collection in the Joint Archives of Holland, subsequently undoing most of the changes made in the 1960s and 1980s
  • The “President’s Room” houses the portraits of A.C. Van Raalte and past Hope presidents
A map showing the location for History of Graves Hall