Mercy Hall

230 Colchester Ave

1962, Julian Goodrich Architects Inc.

Residence Hall

Like its neighbor McAuley Hall, Mercy Hall reflects, in a dramatic manner, Trinity college’s continued growth in the early 1960’s. As Trinity’s second major building project,the residence hall was finished on September 23, 1962 at a cost of 515,00 dollars. Rising four stories, the building contained 75 double rooms for 150 students, a lounge, lobby, bookstore, and “smoker.” [1]

Mercy Hall was designed by Julian Goodrich Architects Inc., following Marcel Beaudin’s design for McAuley Hall four years earlier, though Mr. Beaudin was no longer with the firm. Designed and constructed in the International style, the residence hall was built using “lift-slab” technology.* Industrial reinforced concrete and exposed steel frames painted white provided the structural skeleton for the placement of metal-framed ribbon windows and a native Vermont slate spandrel veneer across the east and west facades. The north and south ends were clad in an unadorned red brick veneer.

Today, the building is in good shape, with some rust on the exposed steel frames. All materials remain from the original structure with the exception of some replacements on the fourth story as a result of fire.

On April 11, 1968, during Easter vacation, the top floor caught fire creating heavy water and smoke damage responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage. A faulty electrical appliance was determined to be the source. Fortunately, the students were gone and only three sisters were in the building on the ground floor. The giant reinforced concrete slabs seperating each floor prevented the fire from spreading, though the predominately glass side walls prompted a nun watching from a campus knoll to murmer: “All I’ve heard is glass smashing for the last hour.”  More than 50 firefighters responded and flames were witnessed to be 15 feet high. [2]

Trinity College closed in September of 2000. In September 2002, the University of Vermont purchased the campus. The building currently serves as a residence Hall for University of Vermont students.

[1] Trinity Will Have Another Big Dorm,’ Burlington Free Press, April 12, 1968.

*See McAuley Hall

[2] Fire Badly Damages Dormitory at Trinity,’ Burlington Free Press, April 12, 1968.


Researched by:

graduate student, Historic Preservation Program, University of Vermont, 2007