Giddings Hall, Georgetown College

Giddings Hall, originally called Recitation Hall, is a Greek Revival building located on the campus of Georgetown College in Scott County, Kentucky. Georgetown was the first Baptist college founded west of the Allegheny Mountains,[2][3] and Giddings Hall was the first permanent structure constructed after the college was formed.[2][3] The building is named after Rockwood Giddings, the third president of the school.[2] The property was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on February 6, 1973.[1]

Giddings Hall, Georgetown College
Giddings Hall, Georgetown College; Georgetown, Kentucky.jpg
Giddings Hall, Georgetown College is located in Kentucky
Giddings Hall, Georgetown College
Giddings Hall, Georgetown College is located in the United States
Giddings Hall, Georgetown College
LocationGeorgetown, Kentucky
Coordinates38°12′25″N 84°33′17″W / 38.2070°N 84.5547°W / 38.2070; -84.5547Coordinates: 38°12′25″N 84°33′17″W / 38.2070°N 84.5547°W / 38.2070; -84.5547
ArchitectJ. E. Farnam
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.73000836 [1]
Added to NRHPFebruary 6, 1973


In 1829, the Kentucky Legislature chartered the Kentucky Baptist Education Society with the purpose of establishing a Baptist college in the state. The town of Georgetown was selected for the site of the school because the community agreed to raise $20,000 and to donate the assets of Rittenhouse Academy, a failed land grant school in the town that had recently closed.[2]

In 1839, Rev. Rockwood Giddings became the third president of the college. During his tenure as president, Giddings began construction on Recitation Hall, the first permanent building for the school.[2]

College tradition states that Jonathan E. Farnam, professor of mathematics, drew the original plans for the building, and that architect A.T. Rice drew the final design. A local African-American mason laid the foundation, and a local brickmason named A.L. White built the walls.[3]

The structure is currently used as the main administrative building for the campus. Previously, rooms in the building have been used as a chapel, a library, classrooms, and a theater.[3]


Giddings Hall is a two-story rectangular temple-style Greek Revival brick building situated at a prominent central campus location at the head of Giddings Circle.[3]

The building has four levels, including a stone basement and a deep attic. The brick is laid in Flemish bond on all four sides, and wide pilasters delineate the bays on all facades. The central front facade is a two-story pedimented portico with six brick graduated columns with Ionic capitals.[3] The college's early association with Elijah Craig, who historically is linked to inventing Bourbon whiskey, has fueled a local legend claiming that "a quart of bourbon reposes under each of the six Ionic columns of the portico".[4][5]

The double windows and Italianate style hoodmolds were added in 1879 when Pawling Hall was constructed.[3]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e "A History of Georgetown College". Georgetown College. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Giddings Hall". Historic Campus Architecture Project. Council of Independent Colleges. November 2006. Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  4. ^ "Straight, or With a Splash of History". Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. 2008. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  5. ^ Simon, F. Kevin (1996). "Tour 4". The Wpa Guide to Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State. University Press of Kentucky. p. 265. ISBN 0-8131-0865-9. Retrieved 2008-08-08.