Western Campus


                                Peabody Hall


- Peabody was founded in 1853. 

- It opened on September 20, 1855.

- In 1895, a college charter was granted by the state and the name was changed from “The Western Female Seminary” to “The Western College for Women” as a part of the charter.

- At one point it housed all the Seminary’s rooms including: the class rooms, the library, the dining room, the kitchens, the chapel, the administrative offices and the dormitories.

- At this time, it houses the offices of the faculty and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) as well as serving as a dorm for students enrolled in that program.

- The current hall is a memorial to the Western Female Society.


- The original building was erected in 1855.

- The original building had 160 rooms.  Its height in front was 264’ with north and south wings extending 93’ in depth.

- The original burnt down in January, 1860.

- The second building was erected in 1861.

- The second burnt in April, 1871.

- The third building was completed in 1872. 

- The third building resembles the second in it general plan.

- The main addition was the long south wing with a dining room below and a chapel above.

- As a dormitory, Peabody has capacity for 190 students.

- Extensive rehabilitation of the hall took place in 1974.

Significant Events

- In 1905, Helen Peabody was honored on the 50th anniversary of the building and it was named after her.  This commemorated her service of 33 years as president of the school (1855-1888).

Fun Facts

- Peabody Hall was formally affectionately known as “The Sem”.

- The first fire was caused by a defective flue.

- The second fire was caused by an overheated kitchen oven.

- The curriculum for the school was modeled on the Mount Holyoke “system”.

- The school offered one degree at its start, the Bachelor of Arts degree, for liberal arts studies to which a specialized vocational training specialty could be added.  

- The student expenses were a blanket fee of $1300 which covered all college fees except instruction in applied music and riding.

- The scholarships were offered as high as $800 and were available to all students.

- The student costs were approximately $2100 per student.  This was what it was expected to cost to educate a student at Western College.

- The purpose of the school was “That every being that God has made is to be strengthened and ennobled for His service, through a plan of study, discipline, and social order.”