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Graves Hall Restoration Photo Gallery Pages
#1 / #2 / #3 / #4 / #5 / #6 / #7
#8 / #9 / #10 / #11 / #12 / #13 / #14 / #15 / #16

Photos of a Restored Graves Hall
The Re-dedication of Graves Hall -- a Photo Gallery
Video of Re-dedication Ceremony - October 9, 2009

Attention to Detail -- A campus icon is returning better than
ever with the start of the new school year. ready the story

A Legacy in Stone -- Mike Brooks '85 is part of the team of craftsmen who are restoring the historic building read the story

A Jewel in the Crown --One of Hope’s oldest and most distinctive buildings is being brought into the modern era while at the same time being returned to its original glory in an “adaptive restoration” read the story

Building on the Past -- read the sentiments

Graves Hall Restoration Project

One of Hope College's oldest and most distinctive buildings has been brought into the modern era while at the same time being returned to its original glory in an "adaptive restoration."

Site preparation for the work at historic Graves Hall, which contains classrooms, meeting rooms and offices, began in spring 2008, including the temporary removal of the signature "Hope College" arch from in front of the building to provide access for construction equipment. The project, which totaled $5.7 million, was completed for the beginning of the fall 2009 semester with a dedication held October 9, 2009.

Origninally dedicated in 1894, Graves is Hope's third-oldest building and was constructed as the college's chapel and library in addition to originally housing four classrooms on the second floor. Built of locally quarried Waverly Stone, and featuring a round tower capped by a conical roof, Graves faces College Avenue at the end of a walkway fronted by the Hope arch, its immediate neighbors including other campus landmarks such as Voorhees Hall, Dimnent Memorial Chapel and the large metal Hope anchor.


  • Graves Hall was the first substantial building added to the Hope College campus since the construction of Van Vleck Hall in 1856.

  • Graves Hall and Winants Chapel were named in honor of Nathan Graves and Gerrit Winants respectively. The Graves and Winants families had each contributed $10,000 toward the approximately $40,000 that it is estimated that the building cost to construct. The families' ties to Hope came through the Reformed Church in America, the college's parent denomination, whose eastern members provided critical support to Hope in its early years. Nathan Graves also donated books from his private library to the project.

  • The cornerstone for Graves was set in place on Oct. 12, 1892, at 2 p.m. It was formally unveiled by Hope President Charles Scott and his successor, President Gerrit Kollen. The building was dedicated on June 26, 1894.

  • Graves was built to house the college's chapel, named Winants Chapel, and library because Hope had outgrown the two locations previously serving that purpose, and served in those roles until it, too, was outgrown. Winants remained the college's chapel until Dimnent Memorial Chapel was constructed in 1929, and Graves served as the college's library until Van Zoeren Library (also since replaced) was completed in 1961.

  • With the Library’s move to the new VanZoeren Library in 1962, Graves Hall experienced another major transformation. The academic departments of Sociology and Social Work and Modern and Classical Languages were added, as were several student offices.

  • The former Winants Chapel became part of the library in Graves after Dimnent Chapel was completed, and after the library moved out Graves was renovated in 1962 to provide more classroom space. Also during the 1962 renovation, the former chapel became a general-use auditorium, which was renovated in 1980 and became a center for lectures and student films.

  • Graves has housed a variety of Hope programs and departments since the 1962 renovation, and most recently was the headquarters of the department of modern and classical languages for many years until that program moved into the new Martha Miller Center for Global Communication in August 2005. Graves is also the home of the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) and Upward Bound programs.

    The two buildings at Hope older than Graves are Van Vleck Hall, which was built in 1858, and the President's Home, constructed from 1886 to 1892. Both buildings are within sight of Graves and, like Graves, border the college's central Pine Grove.

  • The local stone of which Graves is made was quarried about a mile away from campus along the Black River near the corner of Waverly Avenue and Chicago Drive. The Tower Clock building on River Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Holland, built in 1892, is another Holland building made of the stone.

    Learn more about the history of Graves Hall in the Spring 2007 A Step Forward for Hope College: Building Graves Hall and Winants Chapel

    Project Overview

  • The project was planned to restore the character of the building as it existed before a major interior renovation in the 1960s and 1980s while also meeting contemporary standards for access, safety and use. The project is an 'adaptive restoration' - trying to get as true a restoration of the interior as possible but also making it as well-suited as possible for current needs.

  • The interior work undid many of the 1962 and 1980 changes, and was informed by original blueprints from the college's collection in the Joint Archives of Holland.

  • When the auditorium was renovated in 1980, the deteriorating stained glass from the building's chapel days was removed and the seating was angled toward the southwest instead of the south. The project includes restoring stained glass to the auditorium's windows based on surviving samples and reorienting the seating to the original southern facing of the chapel era. The seating dropped from 190 to 163, but it now includes additional space for wheelchairs.

  • The former "Presidents' Room" immediately inside the main western entrance, which prior to 1962 had been a study alcove and since was a conference room which housed portraits of A.C. Van Raalte and past Hope presidents, has become a gathering and pre-function area for the main auditorium.

  • In the 1962 renovation, some of the larger spaces were divided to create additional classrooms and office space on both floors, including the addition of a knee-walled second floor within the high-ceilinged northern end where the library stacks had been.

  • The smaller classrooms and meeting rooms that were carved out of the central part of the main floor in 1962 have also been reconfigured.

  • Another large classroom was created on the northwest side of the lobby.

  • The main floor includes enlarged and improved restrooms as well as a small kitchen for events in the building.

  • The 1960s-era interior walls and the added second floor that divided the northern end were removed and replaced by a large, single-storied room that occupies most of the space, save for a secondary stairwell which was installed along the eastern interior to meet fire code. The new large room also becomes the new home to the presidential and Van Raalte portraits.

  • The restoration returns the original central second story back to a four-classroom configuration, with the addition of access to the northeastern staircase.

  • The CASA and Upward Bound programs both continue to reside in the building's lower level. They each gained space from portions of the level formerly used as offices for campus departments. The lower level also continues to house the small Schoon Meditation Chapel created in the 1960s and named for the Rev. Henry Schoon, a former Hope professor.

  • In a significant change from the original, the modernization prompted construction of a two-story addition on the building's eastern side, which faces the central campus. The addition was needed to allow the college to include an elevator which provides access to the top and basement levels for those with mobility impairments. Particular care was taken to plan an addition that would blend as well as possible with the original structure, with considerations including not only its design but also its exterior covering. Sufficient quantities of the local stone used on the rest of the building are not available for the entire addition (although was used on portions of it), but with the help of a historic-renovation architect Hope located similar stone in Ohio.

  • The college removed the open metal exterior stairway on the building's northern end. Although familiar to recent generations, the stair, which provided wheelchair access to the building's main floor, wasn't original to the building.

    Project Cost and Funding

    The project, which totaled $5.7 million,was completed in August 2009, in time for the fall semester. A generous challenge gift from Edward ’64 and Diana Hellenga ’64 Marsilje was committed to the restoration project.

    For More Information

    Please contact

    Jim Van Heest '80 (cvanheest@hope.edu) in the College Advancement Office, 616-395-7778, or any other member of the College Advancement Team at 616-395-7775.