Mary Fisher Hall
Designed by Moore and Hutchins
Pearlstone Renovations 1983 by the Hillier Group
Renovations 1997 by Cho, Wilks and Benn
Dining Renovations 2018 by Ayers Saint Gross
Following the architectural competition in 1938 and the choice of Moore and Hutchins as the College architects, the Board of Trustees decided that the first building on the Towson land should be a residence hall. Initial plans proposed by Moore and Hutchins were rejected due to costs. Finally, a cost effective plan was agreed upon that incorporated the major design elements and could be built in phases if the College was not able to fund all the building at once. The ceremonial ground breaking took place June 8, 1940, and construction began the following spring, with Harry A. Hudgins and Company as the general contractors. On June 7, 1941, the cornerstone was laid by Anna Heubeck Knipp, an alumna of the first Goucher class, and by September 1942, the building was occupied by students.
Mary Fisher Hall was named in honor of Mary Fisher Goucher, wife of John F. Goucher, College founder and second president. The Hall consists of a central body and four wings at the corners forming an irregular H shape. The wings, primarily for student housing, known as houses, are named Bacon House, Hooper House, and Dulaney House. The fourth wing was named Baldwin House, which was turned into Pearlstone Student Center and common space in later renovations. Constructed of reinforced concrete and faced with the local Butler stone, a signature characteristic of the Goucher campus, Mary Fisher features low-pitched roofs of terra cotta tiles, presenting simple clean horizontal lines. Because the hall was built into a small knoll, it gives the impression of multiple levels and roof lines. The highest part of the building at the top of the hill is five stories above the lowest part, although the building is never more than three stories.
As the lone building on the Towson campus for six years, Mary Fisher was more than just a dorm and by nature of its seclusion was relatively self sufficient. In all, the building included student rooms, drawing rooms, parlors, and faculty apartments, that were housed in the wings, a recreation room, sun deck, dining room, dietitians suite, heating plant, engineer’s apartment, maid’s room, an infirmary, nurse’s suite, library, store, post office, and guest suite in the center portion. Also, prior to the completion of any academic buildings on the campus, classes were held in the common rooms at Mary Fisher to reduce the commute to the City campus. Until the Julia Rogers Library was built in 1952, the Mary Fisher Library functioned as a real library, staffed with a librarian.
In 1983, a renovation of the central portion of the Mary Fisher Hall and Baldwin House, one of the residential wings, converted this space into a student center. The Hillier Group designed the renovations. This space, named the Pearlstone Student Center, after Trustee Jack Pearlstone, included a dining facility, lounge room, bookstore, post office, commuters lounge, and Student Activities Office. In 1997, further renovation of the Pearlstone portion of Mary Fisher occurred, expanding the space. These renovations, designed by Cho, Wilks and Benn, added a glass atrium, and expanded the dining space, post office, bookstore, and commuter lounge.
Beginning in 2016, Mary Fisher Hall was renovated once again to centralize dining on campus as well as include lounge space and the Office of Student Engagement to encourage community-building for all students.
Mary Cecilia Fisher Goucher
Lulie Poole Hooper
Henry S. Dulaney