This material is used by permission of Ohio University Press, www.ohioswallow.com

Situated on the Oval across from Hayes Hall, Orton Hall exemplifies the Richardsonian Romanesque style that was popularized by H.H. Richardson in the second half of the nineteenth century.   Named for Edward Orton, the first president of the Ohio State University, Orton Hall features an emblematic round tower capped by a conical roof and punctuated by a ring of narrow Saracenic arches towards the top; within the tower are the famous University chimes. Perhaps because it has always housed the geology department, the hall is built entirely of Ohio stone, in forty different varieties and arranged in stratigraphic order as they are found in nature. The ornamentation itself is inspired by geological forms with representations of fossils and extinct animals in such places as the gargoyles found around the top of the tower, and in the column capitals.  The entrance itself is suggestive of medieval church portals with the trumeau, or post, that divides the opening into separate sets of doors, and the “bifora” motif in the glazed tympanum.  The interior of the building is also significant, and the library deserves special mention.

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