Schenley Quadrangle

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Schenley Quadrangle
Forbes Avenue entrance to Schenley Quadrangle
LocationPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Coordinates40°26′35.64″N 79°57′20.79″W / 40.4432333°N 79.9557750°W / 40.4432333; -79.9557750Coordinates: 40°26′35.64″N 79°57′20.79″W / 40.4432333°N 79.9557750°W / 40.4432333; -79.9557750
AreaSchenley Farms Historic District
BuiltJune 3, 1922-1924
ArchitectHenry Hornbostel with collaboration from Rutan & Russell and Eric Fisher Wood
Part ofSchenley Farms Historic District (#83002213[1])
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 22, 1983[1]
Designated PHLF1972[2]
A view of the Schenley Quadrangle colonnade along McCormick Hall. Holland Hall can be seen towards the back.

Schenley Quadrangle is a cluster of University of Pittsburgh residence halls that is a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark[2] and are contributing properties to the Schenley Farms National Historic District[3][4] in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.

The five residence halls are the former historic Schenley Apartments, designed by Henry Hornbostel,[5] with collaboration from Rutan & Russell and Eric Fisher Wood,[6] for developer Franklin Nicola and were built between 1922 and 1924[7] at a cost of more than $4.5 million ($66.2 million in 2018 dollars[8]). Originally, the Schenley Apartments were home of Pittsburgh's well-to-do, including for a time its architect Henry Hornbostel, and consisted of 1,113 rooms in 238 apartments throughout the five buildings. The University acquired them in December 1955 at a cost of $3 million ($28.1 million in 2018 dollars[8]), and renovated them into residence halls for another $1 million ($9.22 million in 2018 dollars[8]). By 1957-1958 101 female students had moved into 20 apartments in Building F (now called Brackenridge Hall).[9][10]

Schenley Quadrangle consists of five residence halls: Amos Hall, Brackenridge Hall, Bruce Hall, Holland Hall, and McCormick Hall.

From May to August 2018, the parking lot was converted to green space and a large patio. A raised platform was built for performances or other events. The renovation cost $5 million, with another $5 million spent on the parking garage beneath it.[11]

Schenley Quadrangle, as seen from its Fifth Avenue entrance. McCormick Hall is on the left, and the south wing of Holland Hall is on the right.

Amos Hall[edit]

Amos Hall houses nine sororities, each floor houses a separate sorority. There are 152 upperclass women residents living in sorority suites which feature a kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and chapter room. Laundry facilities are in the penthouse. In November 2008, Pitt approved a $9.1 million renovation of Amos Hall[12] which included air conditioning, updated energy-efficient electrical and water systems, and new bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens that were redesigned to be compatible with the pre-existing architectural structure. Completed and reopened for the 2009 fall term, the input of each sorority gave every floor its own style.[13]

The Oakland Bakery and Market occupied space on the street level of the building, which had previously been occupied by a fitness center, and prior to that, a bank.[14][15]

The building is named for the University's dean of women from 1919 to 1941, Thrysa W. Amos.[16][17]

Brackenridge Hall[edit]

Brackenridge Hall houses 210 mostly upperclass men and women in four- and five-person suites. Each suite features a MicroFridge and a private bathroom. There are also a few single and double rooms that do not include a MicroFridge. Laundry facilities are located in the penthouse. Brackenridge Hall also features a fitness center, which moved from Amos Hall in 2013, that is available to all residents of Schenley Quadrangle.[18]

The Honors College established Brackenridge Hall as an honors dormitory in Fall 2012.[19]

The Pitt Shop, a University owned store selling University of Pittsburgh branded clothing and merchandise, is on the street level of the building.[20]

The building is named for the founder of the University, Hugh Henry Brackenridge.

Bruce Hall[edit]

Detail of the scalloped cornice on Bruce Hall, one of the Schenley Quadrangle residences at the University of Pittsburgh

Bruce Hall houses 212 men and women, primarily freshman, in four- and six-person suites. Starting in 2014-2015, Bruce Hall will be home to the freshman College of Business Administration Living Learning Community. The building is named for the first chancellor after the University was renamed from the Pittsburgh Academy to the Western University of Pennsylvania, Robert Bruce.[21] Bruce Hall served as a university office building until those offices were moved into Posvar Hall thereby allowing Bruce Hall to be converted into housing suites beginning in 1978.[22]

Basement and First Floor[edit]

The basement and first floor of Bruce Hall are actually on the street level with Forbes Avenue, and are rented out to The UPS Store and 7 Eleven. 7 Eleven closed in the start of the Fall 2017 semester and was turned in to a grocery stored operated by the university and Sodexo.

Second Floor[edit]

The second floor is the main entrance for residents, as well as the location of the University of Pittsburgh Residence Life offices.

Third through Eleventh Floors[edit]

The third through eleventh floors are entirely student suites. Each floor has 6 suites: 3 four-person suites, 2 three-person suites, and 1 six-person suite with laundry facilities on each floor. The 6-person suites on the upper floors have an exceptional view of the Cathedral of Learning, Schenley Plaza, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History out of the common room's windows.

Twelfth Floor[edit]

The twelfth floor is home to the University's catering service, as well as a meeting room in suite 1201 reserved for activities held by the President or Vice President of the University.[23] It was usually impossible to get to the twelfth floor without an elevator key, although recently access to the twelfth floor has not been as restrictive as in the past.

A five bedroom, four-bath suite on the twelfth floor of Bruce Hall also once served as the University's chancellor residence.[24]

The Ghost of 1201 Bruce Hall[edit]

Many students and university employees, as well as various outside sources, believe that a ghost or two haunts the 1201 suite of Bruce. The owner of the Schenley Apartments once lived with his family on the twelfth floor. Rumor has it that his mistress and/or wife committed suicide in the 1201 by either hanging herself or throwing herself out the window. Students and staff have reported hearing footsteps in the stairwells and the halls, as well as a woman's voice, while some have reported poltergiest-like activity.[25] Others have heard stories of the elevators not stopping on their floor, and continuing up to the twelfth floor and refusing to go back down.[26] Traditionally referred to as "Harriet," the ghost, for which Pitt staff have even hung Christmas stockings for,[27] has only been known to visit the 12th floor, the 11th floor, and suite 8B on the 8th floor, where she is said to have lived.

Holland Hall[edit]

Schenley Quadrangle at the University of Pittsburgh as viewed from the Fifth Avenue side of the William Pitt Union (column in left foreground). Holland Hall is directly ahead, McCormick Hall is to the left, and Amos Hall is to the right. The top of Litchfield Tower B can be seen behind Holland Hall.

Holland Hall is divided into two wings, North and South, and houses 600 upperclass and first-year women and, since the 2017 school year, men in single, double, triple, and quad accommodations. There is a kitchenette on each floor as well as communal bathrooms and showers. The penthouse features a lounge, study area, and laundry facilities. It originally served as a men's dormatory.[28]

Since January, 1960, the University Store, the primary book store for the university, has been located on the ground floor of Holland Hall, accessible from either the Schenley Quadrangle or from Fifth Avenue.[29] At the time of its opening, it was hailed as the largest college bookstore in the nation.[30] The store completed a $9.43 million renovation that included insertion of a skylight, a café, a technology area, an Espresso Book Machine, and various reading nooks, as well as the creation of a new entrance on the Forbes Avenue side of Holland Hall.[31][32]

Holland Hall is named after University Chancellor William Jacob Holland, who led the University from 1891 to 1901 when it was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania.

McCormick Hall[edit]

McCormick Hall houses 132 mostly upperclass men and women in two-, three-, five-, and seven-person suites. Each suite features a kitchenette with refrigerator and one or more private bathrooms. Laundry facilities are available in the penthouse. Adjoining McCormick Hall is the William Pitt Union. [33]

McCormick Hall is named after Samuel B. McCormick who served as University Chancellor from 1904-1921 during which time the University moved from Pittsburgh's North Side to its current location in Oakland and also changed its name from the Western University of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh.


When still the Schenley Apartments, the buildings were simply named "A", "B", "C", "D", and "F". After their acquisition by the university for student residences, they were eventually renamed for important figures in the university's history.

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The Pitt Shop on the street level of Brackenridge Hall
Schenley Quad as viewed from Hillman Library. Viewed from left to right is Litchfield Tower A and Brackenridge, Bruce, McCormick, and Amos Halls
  • Alberts, Robert C. (1987). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787-1987. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7.
  • Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation: PHLF Plaques & Registries". 2007-01-27. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Archived 2009-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^
  6. ^ Kidney, Walter C. (2005). Oakland (Images of America). Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 0-7385-3867-1.
  7. ^ "Schenley Apartments Opened in 1924". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. 1955-12-23. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  8. ^ a b c Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  9. ^;cc=pittmiscpubs;g=documentingpitt;xc=1;xg=1;q1=Schenley%20Apartments;rgn=full%20text;idno=00c50130m;didno=00c50130m;view=image;seq=0283
  10. ^;cc=pittyearbooks;g=documentingpitt;xc=1;xg=1;q1=Schenley%20Apartments;rgn=full%20text;idno=1958e49702;didno=1958e49702;view=image;seq=0037
  11. ^ Writer, Samuel Ruppert | Staff. "Students react to Schenley Quad renovations - The Pitt News". Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  12. ^ Bill Zlatos, Pitt approves $43 million worth of construction, renovation, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2008-11-07, accessdate=2008-11-07
  13. ^ Hart, Peter; Barlow, Kimberly K. (2009-09-03). "What's New? Places". University Times. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  14. ^ "Amos Hall". Retrieved 13 June 2007.
  15. ^ Maier, Em (August 26, 2013). "Construction projects advance over summer". The Pitt News. Pittsburgh, PA. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  16. ^;cc=pittmiscpubs;g=documentingpitt;xc=1;xg=1;q1=Amos;rgn=full%20text;idno=00c50130m;didno=00c50130m;view=image;seq=0202
  17. ^;cc=pittmiscpubs;g=documentingpitt;xc=1;xg=1;q1=Amos;rgn=full%20text;idno=00afj8718m;didno=00afj8718m;view=image;seq=0599
  18. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K.; Levine, Marty (August 29, 2013). "What's New at Pitt: Places". University Times. 46 (1). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  19. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. (2012-01-26). "Dean delivers State of the Honors College address". University Times. 44 (10). University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  20. ^ "Brackenridge Hall". Retrieved 13 June 2007.
  21. ^ "Bruce Hall". University of Pittsburgh. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  22. ^ Mannella, Susan (1978-09-09). "Remodeled Nursing Home Adds Much-Needed Dorm Space at Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  23. ^ "Use of University Suite, Room 1201, Bruce Hall". Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2006.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Heller-LaBelle, Greg (2006-05-11). "Could your University be full of spooky spirits?". The Pitt News. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved 2009-11-25.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Pittsburgh Ghosts - 1201 Bruce Hall". Retrieved 23 October 2006.
  27. ^ "Three RIvers Haunts & History". p. 8. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  28. ^ "Pitt Cutups Cut Off Their Elevators". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. 1960-10-29. Retrieved 2010-02-22.[dead link]
  29. ^ "Holland Hall". Retrieved 13 June 2007.
  30. ^ Alberts, Robert C. (1986). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787–1987. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 287. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  31. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. (July 26, 2012). "Book Center relocating during renovations". University Times. 44 (23). University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  32. ^ Blake, Sharon S. (August 20, 2013). "University Store on Fifth". Pitt Chronicle. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  33. ^ "McCormick Hall". Retrieved 13 June 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
University Club
University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Schenley Quadrangle

Constructed: 1922-1924
Succeeded by
Thackeray Hall