College Fireplaces

College and University Fireplaces

University and college fireplaces provide welcoming gathering spots for students and faculty.  Typically found in dorm lounges and student centers, they provide a home-like setting for studying and visiting and a place to warm cold toes in chilly weather.  They are also found in college administrative buildings, libraries, and even dorm rooms.

Not all that long ago, fireplaces were a normal part of every college building, including every college dorm room.  They were such a fundamental part of life on campus, the cost of firewood was often included in the board bill. It was not until the early 1900’s that most colleges converted to central heating.  Often you can still see chimneys on older buildings on campuses, evidence of their fireplace-heating days.

Hands down, the University of Buffalo’s majestic fireplace place in the Austin Flint Main Reading Room of the Health Sciences Library has the most awesome American college fireplace.  Hand-carved by craftsmen from the Kittinger Furniture Company of Buffalo, the fireplace mantel is a replica of a 15th century massive mantel in Canonbury Tower, London.

University of Buffalo’s majestic fireplace place in the Austin Flint Main Reading Room of the Health Sciences Library

The Fireplace Mantel in the Austin Flint Main Reading Room, photo by alexander_frzr, on Flickr

Admission Office Fireplaces

In is not uncommon for Admissions offices, eager to give both prospective students and their parents a sense that their institution is one in which students will feel “right at home”, to include a welcoming fireplace.  As students await their admissions interview or campus tour, they can experience the implied hospitality of the fireplace.

Bowdoin College Admission Hall

Bowdoin College Admission Hall, photo by Alex Pigott

Curry College Admissions Conference Room

Curry College Admissions Conference Room, photo by Curry College Admissions

Administration Fireplaces

Don’t think the admissions officers are the only administrators to have offices with elegant fireplaces.  College presidents, deans, and boards of directors use fireplaces to give their offices appropriate gravitas.

The renovation of the 1908 building used as the office of the Dean of the college of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont made this Victorian fireplace a focal point of the office.

Dean of Arts and Sciences' Office at the University of Vermont

Dean of Arts and Sciences’ Office at the University of Vermont

An imposing black granite fireplace set the tone for the Fitzgerald Boardroom used by the University president and board of directors at Creighton University.

Fitzgerald Boardroom at Creighton University

Fitzgerald Boardroom at Creighton University

Student Center Fireplaces

As the epicenter of student social life, university and college student centers often have inviting fireplaces.  Access to comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, and coffee are standard complements to these college fireplaces.

The Danforth University Center at Washington University in St. Louis includes this handsome traditional marble and brick fireplace.

Student Center at Danforth University Center

Student Center at Danforth University Center

The University of Nevada at Reno’s Joe Crowley Student Center has five fireplaces around which students can be warmed.

University of Nevada, Reno Joe Crowley Student Union

University of Nevada, Reno Joe Crowley Student Union

At the University of Colorado Bolder this stacked stone fireplace in the Memorial Center is a popular gathering place.

 

University Memorial Center fireplace at the University of Colorado Bolder

University Memorial Center fireplace at the University of Colorado Bolder

Not all campus fireplaces, however, are traditional.  The University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Union South Prairie Fire coffee shop has this beauty with a custom-made firescreen depicting prairie grasses and plants.  Awesome!

Union South Prairie Fire coffee shop fireplace at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison

Union South Prairie Fire coffee shop fireplace at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison

Moravian College’s HUB features a center-of-the-room, modern fireplace.

Moravian College HUB fireplace

Moravian College HUB fireplace

Even the outside of the Student Center at Adrian College gets a fireplace!  The Caine Plaza entrance to the Student Center has this inviting outdoor fireplace.

Fireplace on Adrian College Caine Plaza entrance to Student Center

Adrian College Caine Plaza entrance to Student Center, photo by The Collaborative Inc

Library Fireplaces

Study time need not be without the warmth and quiet crackling of a fire. Imagine a fireplace in your library!

Lincoln Trail College Library

Lincoln Trail College Eagleton Library

Dorm Lounge Fireplaces

Although the dorm room fireplace is now a rarity, a fireplace in dorm lounges is anything but a novelty.  Whether in richly paneled rooms of ivy covered resident halls or in newly built modern dorms, college fireplaces remain popular hang-out spots.

University of Washington St. Louis, Eliot Residential College

Washington University in St. Louis, Eliot Residential College

University of Arkansas Holtz Hall Honors Dorm

University of Arkansas Holtz Hall Honors Dorm

 

Bates College Frank’s Hall Residence Lounge

Bates College Frank’s Hall Residence Lounge

University of Pennsylvania Hamilton Villages Residence Hall

University of Pennsylvania Hamilton Villages Residence Hall

University of Georgia East Village Campus Housing

University of Georgia East Village Campus Housing

Dorm Room Fireplaces

Yes, college fireplaces in dorm rooms do still exist.  Just barely.  Some of America’s oldest institutions of higher learning have preserved at least some dorm rooms with their original fireplaces.  Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Elmira College, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Virginia, for example, still have fireplaces in a few student rooms.  Often it is an honor to be selected to reside in a dorm room with this bit of history.

Dorm rooms with working fireplaces that students are allowed to use are even scarcer.  Original student rooms at the University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson, include neither bathrooms nor air conditioning, but are known for their working fireplaces and their famous former residents (Edgar Allan Poe, Woodrow Wilson, and Katie Couric).

The University of Virginia's Rooms with Fireplaces on the Lawn and Ranges

The University of Virginia‘s student rooms with fireplaces on the Lawn and Ranges

Did we miss your favorite college or university fireplace?

Let us know in the Comments below!

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About

Susan shares ways to make homes, especially those with fireplaces, renewing spaces for families. When not writing for FireplaceMall.com, she can often be found by a fireplace with a book in hand.

Posted in Decorating, Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with:
5 comments on “College Fireplaces
  1. Robert Gallegos says:

    The University of Washington has a nice fireplace. Do you know if I can see pictures of the other four fireplaces at the University of Nevada- Reno?

    • Tom says:

      No, Robert, I don’t know where to see the other fireplaces at University of Nevada-Reno. [Sounds like a great road trip, though.] Perhaps, at your suggestion, the student newspaper would do an article on campus fireplaces and post the photos online.

  2. Mira Hanfling says:

    Under “Dorm Lounge Fireplaces” one is listed as University of Washington St. Louis. The name of the school is Washington University in St. Louis. The fireplace in the Danforth University Center is also at Washington University in St. Louis but the name of the school is not identified in the “Student Center Fireplaces”. Just thought you would like to know.

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