Tappan Hall, built in 1893-94, was designed by the architects Spier and Rohns, of Detroit, and Dietrick Brothers, also of Detroit, whose bid totaled $25,465, were responsible for the actual construction. In May, 1894, on motion of Regent Barbour, the Regents named the new recitation building in honor of President Tappan. A month later it was ready for occupancy.
The structure, of red brick with stone trim, is near the southwest corner of the main campus, just behind Alumni Memorial Hall and west of the President's residence. The building, which measures approximately 75 by 111 feet, has a floor area of 23,142 square feet. The rooms have been so divided and subdivided that now, including the basement, the building provides about twenty-eight offices and classrooms.
For a time Tappan Hall was used as a recitation building for classes in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; a large lecture room on the second floor was devoted to the special use of classes in history and economics. At one time President Angell's class in International Law was held in this room. For many years certain sections of Tappan Hall were reserved for courses in education, while parts of the building were assigned to various departments of the Literary College.
For some time the administrative offices of the School of Education, as well as the Appointment Bureau for Teachers, were in this building. In 1930, however, the School of Education transferred to its new buildings, and Tappan Hall was turned over to the School of Business Administration. The large room at the south end of the second floor was used as the Business Administration Library. When this School moved into its own building in 1948 the Fine Arts and German departments of the Literary College occupied most of the building.