Every year, we marvel at the beautiful campus as we walk to the cafeteria, which is located in what is now called Walton Hall. But that building was once a 'great house,' a Main Line mansion built as a home for the family of Charles S. Walton, a leather manufacturer of considerable means.
|A view of Walton Hall, Eastern University|
|Ceiling detail, Library, Walton Hall|
|Fireplace Mantel Detail, Library|
Charles Walton died just two years after the home was built. His family resided there for a while, and the property changed hands a few times before being purchased by Eastern University in 1952.
His son, Charles S. Walton, Jr., also a successful businessman, became chairman of the board of the University in the early '50's. He brought in architect William Henry Lee to convert the estate's many buildings into usable space for a college campus while maintaining some of the original integrity of the structures.
Ornate fireplaces, marble floors and staircases, stained glass, and my favorite decor, the tiny human figures that decorate the corners of the library reading room, are found throughout the building.
I only hope that the historic nature and fine craftsmanship of the space is not lost on the young college students that use the buildings on a daily basis.
I also hope that the University continues to find the money to maintain the integrity of the buildings and the entire property, and doesn't allow Walton Hall and the other historic buildings to fall into disrepair.
If you have the chance to go there some nice day, a visit to Eastern University's campus is worth your time. Try to imagine life in the early 1920's as you stroll through the campus...swimming or ice-skating on the lake, horse-back riding around the estate, or breakfast in the Observatory.
|Walton Hall, once the great mansion of a Main Line estate.|