SESQUICENTENNIAL MOMENT: Twin Ash Hall Was Campus Fixture for More Than a Century

February 22, 2021

Ellen Wright Noticed a Nearby Ash Tree Having Two Trunks

The longtime fixture on Wilmington College’s campus was built in 1871 as a privately owned, two-story boarding house in the wooded area known as Madden’s Thicket. Indeed, Elwood Madden built it. Students and faculty rented rooms — in fact, President Lewis Estes and his family moved from the third floor of College Hall into this dormitory upon its completion.

PICTURED: Twin Ash Hall circa 1960s

Ellen C. Wright, a member of the inaugural graduating class in 1875 and a long-time faculty member, is credited with giving the facility its name when she commented on how the trunk of a nearby ash tree seemed to split into two with each growing independently.

The College purchased Twin Ash Hall for $4,000 in 1904. In 1914, a cement veranda was built across the front. A kitchen and dining room comprised much of the long first floor, which later was used as a recreation room. In 1920, Mary Adams gave money to have a third floor added to Twin Ash in memory of her mother, Phoebe Adams, an early matron of the dormitory.

Twin Ash, which was located on the eastern edge of campus, between the current Denver and Bailey halls, served as a residence hall until the 1970s, when it went offline as a dormitory and the Art Dept. took over part of the structure before it was razed in 1984.

Following the demise of Twin Ash, the College’s Marketing Club, under the direction of Professor Harold Thomas, built the Gazebo on the venerable structure’s former site. Dedicated Aug. 2, 1985, the Gazebo stood until 2015, when it was replaced with the circular gathering area with benches and landscaping that we enjoy today.