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Campus Building Directory

This Week in
KU History

The University
of Kansas

Corbin Hall
First Women's Residence Hall

Dr. Alberta Corbin, an 1893 KU graduate and professor of German, campaigned for many years for residence halls for women. The site of the first women's residence hall at KU was within the original eight-acre tract of the campus. The English Colonial-style dorm named after Dr. Corbin opened in 1923. It housed 120 women in single and double rooms, and a kitchenette and living room were provided on each floor. An early plan to build eight dormitories in a corbin quadrangle around the site of the University's first building, North College, was abandoned. Two other residence halls were actually constructed in the area, one that was connected to Corbin and is now considered part of present day Corbin Hall.

In 1927, Torch Chapter of Mortar Board placed an iron fire basket near the site of old North College. For many years it was a tradition to light a "torch of higher learning" from the fire in the basket and carry it to the stadium as part of the freshman induction ceremony. The fire basket and an original stone step from the threshold of old North College now reside near Corbin Hall in a garden planned and funded by HMOF.

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Corbin Hall
Location: 420 West 11th Street

Occupied: 1923

Architect: Ray L. Gamble, State Architect

Contractor: Mont Green, Manhattan, KS

Levels: Six; partial basement and sub-basement

Exterior walls: Lower levels dark maroon brick; upper levels light yellow stucco and half timber, Indiana limestone trim

Foundation: Reinforced concrete

Roof: Red composition, hip with hip gables and one shed gable, two interior linked chimneys

Window surrounds: Flat arches with vertical brick, sills with header bond brick

Door surrounds: Glass flat arch transom, two sidelights

Portico: Originally two-story flat roof with metal railings on balcony and roof, twelve ionic columns. Enclosed when the building was remodeled in 1990