Morgan Hall, built in 1882, is named for Edward Denison Morgan who was born in the small town of Washington, Massachusetts, in Berkshire County. Morgan did not attend college - he started out in the grocery business in the early 1830's in Hartford, Connecticut, where he first became involved in politics serving on the Hartford City Council in 1832. Later after moving to NYC, he went on to become a State senator who introduced the bill to build Central Park. Morgan served as governor of New York State from 1858-1862 and US Senator from 1863-1869.
Morgan never lost his love for his birthplace and returned frequently during the summer seasons. Williams, having noted his political and patriotic prowess, honored him with an honorary LL.D This recognition was to bear fruit when, on Morgan's death in 1883, the College received $90,000 to build the dormitory which now bears his name.
Morgan is an atypical late 19th c. free adaptation of motifs from European medieval architecture. It doesn't have a specific style, although there may be a bit Jacobean in the gables. Marianna Griswold Van Renssalaer, probably the best critic of American architecture in her day, thought that Morgan Hall looked like a promising new direction in American architecture. The architect J.C. Cady, did many famous structures in his day including the old Metropolitan Opera House. Rumor has it the Gargoyle on the building was put there to scare away Amherst students.
Morgan sits in the heart of urban Williamstown on the corner of Spring and Main Street. It commands a strategic position on campus offering a wonderful view on the upper floors. The bathroom situations vary, but in general are shared by a small number of floor-mates. Morgan is right off the Science Quad, The Computer Center and across from the Gym and Student Center.
Morgan is home of the only two gargoyles on campus, which legend says are placed there to scare away Amherst.
A portion of the building was damaged by fire and repaired in 1904-05.
Summer 2006 Renovations
Morgan used to have four vertical entries: Morgan West, Midwest, Mideast, and East (if you wonder how people knew whether they are in "East or "Mideast," the walls were various color shades). Morgan rooms came in various arrangements, some were part of a small suite; others were off a hall and across from each other.
Morgan House was renovated in the summer of 2006, and resulted in the end of vertical entries, as well as the end of entries-- Morgan is now entirely an upperclassmen dorm. In addition to the ski-lodge main common room in the basement, Morgan has brand new piping and windows to make it one of the most environmentally friendly buildings on campus.
While the rooms and bathrooms are nicely renovated, the lack of common rooms in Morgan is a downside. The entire fourth floor shares a single common room. Morgan's kitchen though, is quite frankly phenomenal. (But please, stop stealing our furniture. No, seriously.)
Also see more pictures from the renovations.