Building a Greater Goucher: The History of the Towson Campus
Upon entering Goucher College through the main entrance off Dulaney Valley Road, visitors are greeted by a simple gateway made of Butler stone rising out of the rolling landscape. They find themselves surrounded by trees and rolling hills and simple functional buildings, a calming oasis from the chaos of the Baltimore Beltway and the community of Towson. The campus buildings follow the pattern of the entranceway growing out of the contours of the land and blending in with the surrounding woods. The Goucher campus truly reflects the goal of a Greater Goucher.
The development of the Towson campus began in 1921 when President Guth purchased 421 acres of land in Towson, the county seat of neighboring Baltimore County. His desire was to move Goucher College from its location at St. Paul and 23rd Streets in Baltimore City to the newly acquired county land. However, it was not until 1938 under President Robertson that the college actually began the process of moving to the county campus.
A view of Mary Fisher Hall with Robinson House in the background, ca. 1948-1955
Through a national architectural competition, Goucher selected the New York City firm of Moore and Hutchins to design the campus. Utilizing indigenous quarried stone, known as Butler stone, simple lines, and the natural contours of the land, the architects created a building plan in the emerging Modernist style that still influences campus development today. Through the Faculty Planning Committee, chaired by Goucher Professor Clinton I. Winslow, the College interacted very closely with the architects in the design process and maintained oversight of the process through the Advisory Board of Architects.
By 1954, Goucher had completely moved to Towson, ending over sixty years presence in Baltimore City. Building continued on the new campus through the fifties and sixties with an emphasis on dormitories and academic buildings. Moore and Hutchins’ last building was in 1963, yet their original palette and simple design has remained prevalent in all subsequent development. In the 1990s, the College instituted a major renovation project to update and modernize the original buildings on the campus.
The Towson campus is the result of many dedicated individuals whose desire for a Greater Goucher led to this ambitious move. The foresight and determination of President Guth initiated change for Goucher with his acquisition of the Towson land. President Robertson’s careful contemplation was vital in the design process, as he sought recommendations from all members of the college and sound architectural oversight. Professors Clinton I. Winslow and Eleanor Spencer served for many years on the Faculty Planning Committee ensuring that the new campus reflected the needs of the faculty and students.
Students walking past Robinson House with Mary Fisher Hall in the background, 2008
President Kraushaar led campus development with great vision and passion for nineteen years. Under his direction and guidance, over 17 buildings were constructed to finally realize the dream of a campus in Towson. Furthermore, Moore and Hutchins cannot be ignored, as all campus development reflects their initial 1938 design. Countless other individuals have made the Towson campus a reality, including Board of Trustees leaders, faculty, staff, students, and alumnae/i. Over the years Goucher has been honored with many awards for the overall outstanding design of the campus. In 2007, the College received national recognition for its efforts when the Towson campus was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
This exhibit by Scott Davis, class of 2010 and the first recipient of the Sally Gilger Barnes ’46 Archival Internship, was developed using many of the resources in the Special Collections and Archives Department as well as input from other members of the Goucher Community and will continue to be updated.