Upon his appointment in 1910, University President Charles Stockton had a large student body and able faculty, but little else. GW had no endowment, little property and a massive debt. In 1912, the University bought the St. Rose’s Industrial building at 2023 G St. with borrowed money and moved the Columbian College to its new location in Foggy Bottom.
The University used buildings all over the city, not confined to a single geographical location. The law school was confined to the Masonic Temple at 13th and H streets and moved to K Street in 1921 before Stockton Hall, on 20th Street, was completed in 1925. The School of Pharmacy was on I Street and the College of Veterinary Medicine was on 14th Street. The medical and dental schools were housed on H Street east of the White House.
Little by little, GW brought these disparate elements to the block that currently includes the Quad – bordered by G and H streets on the north and south and by 20th and 21st streets on the east and west. GW rented and purchased plots around the site of present-day Lisner Hall. School ceremonies were conducted in a smaller University Yard behind the building.
In 1921, trustee Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull died, bequeathing the Woodhull House to GW – the current home of the University Police Department. For several years, the Woodhull House housed the offices of the president, secretary, treasurer and registrar.
Officials broke ground on Corcoran Hall in the early months of Walter Lewis’ administration in 1923 and was dedicated in October 1924, when the arts and sciences departments moved into the new hall. A gymnasium was built in today’s University Yard in 1924. The “Tin Tabernacle,” as it was nicknamed, was meant to be a temporary facility, but it was used until the mid 1970s.
The cornerstone of Stockton Hall was laid in 1924, bringing another element of the University to the area – the law school. With the discontinuation of the veterinary medicine, pharmacology and dental schools, GW sold those outside properties. Only the medical school remained outside the area and would move to Foggy Bottom under President Cloyd Heck Marvin.
By the time Lewis left GW in 1927, a university scattered throughout the city had come together in a new home in Foggy Bottom. While some trustees and others considered Foggy Bottom a temporary location, the campus became a permanent fixture in the neighborhood.
This article appeared in the October 6, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.