The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
(Old) Haven Hall

Old Haven Hall was for sixty years the home of the Law School of the University. During that period it was twice remodeled to provide for the increasing enrollment. The original building was completed in 1863, and the law lecture hall was dedicated in October of that year with an address by Judge Thomas M. Cooley. The School, or Department of Law, was established in 1859. During the intervening four years classes had been held in the old Chapel in the north wing of University Hall, and the Law Library was housed in the Library room.

Owing to the rapid growth of the Law Department, it soon became apparent that more ample quarters would be necessary, and an effort was made to raise special funds for the erection of a law building. A subscription campaign proved unsuccessful, however, and the $15,000 eventually expended in the construction of the building was advanced from University funds.

The building, which was 70 by 90 feet in size, originally served not only for instruction in law, but also contained the University Chapel (until 1873) and the Library (until 1883).

The successive space increases for the use of the Law Department proved insufficient, however, and in 1893 the building was enlarged at a cost of $30,000. These much needed improvements, which included the addition of more class and lecture rooms and the erection of a brick tower on the northwest corner of the building, facing State Street, gave some relief, but within five years a further expansion became necessary. This time the improvements were much more extensive, totaling $65,000, and resulted in the construction of the building as it was from 1898 until 1950. While many of the rooms in the old building were retained, the exterior was completely altered to form a rectangular building 208 feet long, with 67,800 square feet of floor space, faced with sandstone on the first story and with Page  1638light-pressed brick on the upper two stories. The tower was removed, and a new wing was added which provided two lecture rooms in addition to the old lecture room on the first floor. Offices for the Dean and the Secretary were in the north wing, and a series of offices for other staff members occupied the central front of the building. A room for the Regents was also included in the south wing. Here the Board met regularly for more than thirty-five years, until the removal of the Law School to Hutchins Hall, when the Regents took over the room in Angell Hall adjacent to the President's office.

On the second floor the Law Library occupied the entire south wing of the old Law Building, with a series of special offices at the front. Lecture rooms, offices, and consultation rooms made up the remainder of the second and third floors.

In 1898 President Angell reported:

The Law Department is now housed in a fine building, fitted with modern conveniencies, and having ample accommodations for one thousand students. In 1892, the growth of the Department had been such that the original building had become inadequate, and a large addition was constructed. In 1895, a third year was added to the course, and soon thereafter the requirements for admission were materially increased… The enrollment of last year was seven hundred and sixty-seven, an increase of one hundred and eighty-one over the enrollment of the year previous. Enlarged accommodations became a necessity, and during the year the Board discussed and finally adopted plans that involved practically the reconstruction of the old building and an addition thereto that would more than double its capacity. The plans were so made and have been so carried out that the old building is completely lost in the present structure, which presents the appearance of an entirely new edifice… The building is provided with a fan system of heating and ventilation and is lighted by electricity. For the money expended, about $65,000 including the furnishing, the results are more than could reasonably have been expected at the time the work was undertaken.


(R.P., 1896-1901, pp. 302-4.)

With the completion of Hutchins Hall in 1933 the old Law Building entered a new period of existence. It was renamed Haven Hall in honor of Erastus O. Haven, President of the University from 1863 to 1869, and was made available for the use of several departments of the University. Seven of the rooms in the old building were assigned to the Department of History and an equal number to the Department of Sociology. The former offices of the Dean and Secretary of the Law School were assigned to the Extension Division, while the room occupied by the Law Library became a study hall for students and the Bureau of Government Library, with the adjacent suite of offices occupied by the Bureau of Government. The rooms at the north, on the second floor, were assigned to the Department of Journalism.

Haven Hall became one of the main buildings of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. It was destroyed by fire on June 6, 1950.