Taconic Hall

Despite being torn down in 1978, Taconic Hall made history as the first dormitory on the MCLA campus.

Taconic Hall was one of the three original buildings of North Adams Normal School and served as the only dormitory until the building of Hoosac Hall in 1968. Designed by Pittsfield-based architect J. McArthur Vance, with a budget of $75,000, Taconic Hall opened as a women’s dormitory in 1904, with “accommodations [being] provided for sixty students” as well as faculty (although this stopped in 1956). The basement featured a laundry room, four servants’ bedrooms, a large gymnasium, locker room, and storage. The entrance to the subterranean tunnel which connected the dorm to the main college building, was also in the basement.

The first floor was designed primarily for entertainment and feeding the students, featuring a kitchen and dining room, as well as music, assembly, and social rooms. Floors two and three were student housing with “each room [being] supplied with chairs, study-table, book-case, bureau, commode, screen, two couches (three feet wide), mattresses, pillows, coverlets, and rugs.” In addition to standard bedrooms, the third floor also featured two hospital rooms. The cost for students to live on campus was “$4 per week or $160 for the school year,” roughly $130 a week or $5,400 a year. While living in Taconic Hall the students of the Normal School participated in dances and gatherings, including a highly anticipated “series of ‘men dances.’”

However, as the years went by and the college transitioned into North Adams State Teacher’s College, the dormitory was beginning to show signs of damage. As early as 1949, the College began to make adjustments to the dormitory. In the 1950s the school endeavored to renovate and modernize the dormitory. This plan would see to the replacement of the old locker room, renovating the kitchen, updating the fire/emergency infrastructure, and fixing plumbing and wiring issues. It was during this time as well that the old gymnasium was turned into a new dining hall for all students.

As early as 1968, both the State Building Authority and college presidents, Andrew S. Flagg and James T. Amsler, concerned with the safety of students and the cost of maintenance of Taconic Hall, considered the matter of demolishing the building. From the late 1960s, the college enrollment was surging, and with that came a shortage of housing. Following a housing study conducted in 1972, the college was advised to build a" satellite campus [that] would consist of accommodations for 1200 students.” Ultimately the college decided to once again consider renovating and rearranging Taconic Hall. Following a feasibility study in 1976, it was determined that the cost of renovation to expand the capacity to 190 would cost approximately $440,000, while demolition of the building would cost only $25,000. Most likely, due to costs and the practicality of maintaining the already 78-old-building, Taconic Hall was demolished in 1978.