One of the more interesting buildings on campus is the one we now call Detchon Hall. Most alumni and friends of the college might still know it as Yandes and there are some who remember this building as the library. The text that follows is from the Wabash Magazine of 1892.

“The Yandes Library Hall, a picture of which is presented to our readers in the present number of the Wabash, is from the design furnished by Professor [John Lyle] Campbell to Wm. H. Brown, the Indianapolis architect. The building is in the form of a Latin cross extending from east to west 110 feet, and from north to south 90 feet. It is perfectly fireproof throughout. The foundation is of Putnamville stone below the surface of the ground and Greensburg dimension stone above ground. The top course is Bedford oolitic limestone. The window caps, sills and trimmings are also of oolitic stone. The building is two stories in height with basement. The height of the ceiling on the first floor is 16 feet, and on the second it is 13 feet. The entrance is through the tower on the northeast corner. This tower is 16 feet square, and rises to a height of about 60 feet.  It opens from the first floor into the reading room, which fronts east, is semi-circular in front, having a radius of 20 feet, the size of the room being 35×40 feet, adjoining the reading room on the south is the writing room, 15×15. The main library room, entering from the west of the tower, runs southward 65 feet, and east and west 35 feet. As a part of the same main room, is the west wing of the building, which measures 40×40. The portion of the main library room in which the book shelves are now placed includes ten tiers of iron shelving, 24 feet long, two stories in height, with iron and glass for the separating floor. On these shelves are placed the 33,000 volumes of the college library. The full capacity of the shelves already in place is 60,000 volumes. The west wing of the building, not yet furnished with shelves, is arranged for six tiers of shelving 29 feet long, two stories in height, giving a further shelving capacity of over 50,000 volumes. The reading room is furnished with all the encyclopedias and books of reference which may be needed. The librarian’s room is 15×17. The second story is also intended for books whenever it may be needed, but for a long time to come this will not be required. The central portion of the second floor is a large opening surrounded by a balcony for the purpose of admitting light upon the book stacks below. The east room which is the same size as the reading room below, and the west room, 40×40, will be devoted to art collections. The walls of the west room are already adorned with a goodly number of pictures. The south room 21×35 is for the meetings of the Trustees and Faculty. A private room, directly over the librarian’s room, measures 17×15. The large amount of floor space in the supper rooms and halls makes this the most available place in the college buildings for public receptions. The sleepers, joists and rafters are all of iron, and the roof is of slate. The sub-floors and lath are also of iron. The total cost of the building and furnishing was nearly $40,000. May this magnificent structure ever stand…”

The structure still stands and, expanded, is a hub of activity, housing the classics and modern languages departments. Just as it did 120 years ago, this building continues to be a spot for hosting dinners, meetings and public receptions. And, if you go out the doors on the Arboretum (east) side, you can still see the inscription, just as it was in 1892.

Beth Swift
Wabash College