Built to Last
Lilly Hall was built in 1886 as the headquarters for the teaching of science to women. Alfred Theodore Lilly, a silk manufacturer in Florence, Massachusetts, provided the funds for the construction because he believed in not only the concept of womens education but also the capability of women as scientists. Over the years, however, Lilly Hall, with its distinctive rooftop of prominent gables and dormers, came to be home to a number of Smith programs. By 1967, the science departments had outgrown Lilly Hall, and that year moved to the newly constructed Clark Science Center. Soon after, the Smith School for Social Work and the Office of Graduate Study moved in. Lilly Hall became home to the Mwangi Cultural Center one year later.
Over the summer, all of Lilly Halls occupants moved into temporary quarters. Beginning this month, a $3 million renovation of the 116-year-old building is under way. By April 2003, Lilly Hall will have been returned to its late 19th-century character and high Victorian Gothic architectural style. The project also will make the building handicapped accessible, add an elevator and restrooms on all floors, upgrade all interior spaces and modernize its mechanical and electrical systems.
When the work is complete in April, the Office of Graduate Study and the School for Social Work will return to Lilly Hall. The Mwangi Center will be relocated to a temporary space in Tilly Hall and eventually to a permanent home elsewhere on campus.