The centerpiece of the DePauw University campus.
East College is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of DePauw University. Located at the center of campus, it is a symbol to DePauw students of the University's tradition of excellence and learning. The bell tower houses a clock that was donated by the citizens of Greencastle and the East College bell, a gift from the class of 1879 which originally cost $350. The bell was hand rung on all special college occasions and to celebrate athletic victories. It was also rung as a result of student hijinks and to signal class hours. Now the bell is controlled electrically.
Meharry Hall is located on the second floor of East College. With its old wooden blinds, its high ceiling, and its divided wooden pews and balcony, complete with the creaks and squeaks of the traditional hardwood floor, Meharry Hall has the feel of an old chapel. This beautiful hall is the site of several convocations for the DePauw student body and, according to some students, is supposedly haunted.
As early as 1861 President Thomas Bowman proposed that Greencastle and the Indiana Methodist Conferences raise $60,000 for a new college building, but the outbreak of war forced postponement of the project. A few years later, an architect was chosen to design the structure which was estimated to cost $80,000. The decision was made to build on the vacant lot east of the Edifice (before its fire) across Ephraim Street (now College Avenue).
The cornerstone was laid on October 20, 1870, but construction went slowly as it was dependent on the availability of funds. Help came in the form of a contribution of $10,000 from Jesse Meharry (who had once proposed that the university be moved to a location on his Tippecanoe County farm) and a subsequent pledge from Washington C. DePauw to complete the exterior, furnish the chapel, and landscape the grounds. In June 1874 the building was far enough to hold Commencement ceremonies in the chapel; in the fall of 1875 classes met in the structure for the first time. East College was officially dedicated at Commencement in 1877. Five more years passed before the building's heating problems were solved and the basement was finished.