Normal Hall

45 School St

1915

Architectural Style

Colonial Revival

Significance

Architecture, Education

Use Type

College or University

Neighborhood

Bridgewater Town Center, Bridgewater State University

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

Tillinhast Hall is a Neo Georgian college dormitory building which is composed of a 4 1/2 story L-plan building (1915) and a 2 story eastern wing. Constructed of red brick with white cement trim, its quadrangle facing main facade features a 9-bay central segment which is flanked by 4-bay projecting wings. Its two main entrances exhibit handsome pedimented Georgian enframements. In general windows exhibit cement sills and guaged brickwork lintels with cement keystones. The wings culminate in broad gables with ocular windows. Brickwork quoins accent this building's edges. The Summer Street side is below the grade of the quadrangle and possesses a high, rusticated cement basement. The east wing's Summer Street wall features a broad bay with elegant, arched windows at the second level.

Historical Significance

Originally known as Normal Hall, Tillinghast Hall was built in 1915 at the time of the Bridgewater Normal School's 75th anniversary. Tillinghast Hall ("Tilly") was named in honor of Nicholas Tillinghast, first principal of Bridgewater Normal School (1840-1853). He was a native of Taunton and a graduate of West Point in 1824. During Mr. Tillinghast's tenure, Bridgewater Normal opened in the Old Town Hall (Sept. 9, 1840) and the first State Normal School Building in America was dedicated here on August 19, 1846. Tillinghast Hall was designed by the prominent Boston architect, Guy Lowell (see Boyden Hall form). It was built to house a dormitory (3rd floor) and for offices of the school administration, a reference library and dining hall. After the disastrous fire of 1924 claimed several campus buildings and Boyden Hall and the Grove Street Training school was erected (1926), Tillinghast Hall was used exclusively as a dormity and was enlarged in 1925-26. It was phased out as a dorm and renovated for faculty office space in 1978.