Mills Hall

Also known as: Mills College
Mills College campus, Oakland, California

Photos 

CONTEXTUAL FRONT VIEW FROM SOUTHWEST OF MILLS HALL MAIN WING, SHOWING FIRE ESCAPES AND START OF CONSTRUCTION OPERATION.

Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey

Map 

Street View 

Description 

Mills College began in 1852, though under another name, when a Young Ladies Protestant Seminary was founded in the city of Benicia. Its significance rose in 1953-54 when Benicia became the capitol of the State, and grew rapidly following its acquisition by Miss Mary Atkins, who became its owner in 1855. Because of ill health, she sold the property in 1865 to Dr. and Mrs. C.T. Mills, who continued to operate the school in Benicia until 1871. In 1870, Dr. Mills purchased 55 acres in what is now East Oakland, a site formerly occupied by an Indian rancheria. In June of 1870 construction began on Mills Hall, and in 1871 the Seminary left Benicia to take up permanent campus residence in Oakland. Originally the building consisted of classrooms, quarters for the College president, teachers and students, recitation rooms, a music room, lecture halls and a hospital ward. In 1877, the College was deeded to a Board of Trustees. The first baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1885, and the College became fully accredited in 1918, opening a graduate school in 1920. From 1916 till 1943, Aurelia Henry Reinhardt was president of the College, during which time 136 acres were incorporated within its boundaries. During this period Mills Hall was used almost exclusively as a dormitory and social activity hall, little changes having been made in its construction. Mills College compares with the most exclusive women's college's in the nation, including Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke and Vassar. Its history in the field of education is equal to the highest standards exemplified in America. Mills Hall is on both the State and National Registers (California Registered Landmark No. 849; National Register of Historic Places No. PH0047236). -- Historic American Buildings Survey

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 14, 1971
Reference number
71000132
Architectural style
Victorian: Second Empire
Areas of significance
Education; Architecture
Level of significance
State
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic functions
College; Educational related housing
Current function
College
Period of significance
1850-1874
Significant year
1871

Update Log 

  • January 5, 2017: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • April 28, 2012: Imported photos from HABS/HAER

Sources