A massive crosscut saw, needing two men to work it, is quiet today. At one time, it was used to build the campus of Savannah State. Many of the buildings on campus, still in use today, were built by students and faculty.
Hill Hall, the landmark building on campus, embodies the history of Savannah State. The brick-and-beam edifice is tall and stately, with arched windows on the third floor. Built as a dormitory for boys, Hill Hall now houses administrative offices. The industrial department — masonry, woodwork and metal work — began construction in 1900. Hill Hall was completed in 1901. Local papers at the time encouraged neighbors to watch the building underway. “You must go and see the new dormitory building resplendent in its beauty and importing in its proportions,” wrote the Savannah Tribune. In 1981, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Morgan Hall, opened in 1936, housed classrooms for teaching trades such as carpentry, drafting, painting, industry, shorthand and bookkeeping. Adams Hall was constructed between 1929 and 1931 and became the kitchen and dining area for the entire college. Hammond Hall, now the headquarters for networking and computer technology, was home to shoemaking, tailoring and, later, home economics. The Willcox-Wiley Physical Education Complex was completed in 1936 and has undergone numerous additions and renovations since.
Each building is a tangible demonstration of the impressive ingenuity of Savannah State.
This story first appeared in Impressions, Fall 2015