2018 marks the 126th anniversary of Hodgin Hall, the oldest building on the University of New Mexico’s Main Campus.
Hodgin Hall has a vast history with deep ties throughout UNM and is now the home of the UNM Alumni Association.
“(Hodgin Hall) keeps alive the history of the University and New Mexico,” said Alumni Association Special Events Coordinator Kathie Scott. “This building tells a story.”
As the first building on campus, Hodgin Hall was the original site for college studies prior to New Mexico’s statehood.
The hall was built in 1892 on the corner of Railroad Avenue — now known as Central Avenue — and University Boulevard. The building was the center for all departments affiliated with the University.
The hall was located two miles east of Albuquerque’s Downtown area and could only be accessed by a horse-drawn vehicle, according to the Alumni Association.
“Hodgin Hall was built 20 years before New Mexico even became a state,” Scott said. “We need to keep that history.”
The building’s original construction was reminiscent of cathedral-style architecture, featuring arched windows on the upper floor and a steep pitched roof, according to the Alumni Association.
The hall called for remodel in 1906, when members of the University expressed concern for the building’s ability to wear through the elemental extremes experienced in this region, the Alumni Association website states. In 1908, Hodgin Hall was renovated to reflect a multicultural influence with pueblo-style architecture — this was the most major change faced by Hodgin Hall, but renovations were added in the mid-20th century and again in 2010.
Since the renovations in 2010, an art gallery was added, featuring an original painting of George Washington painted by renowned artist Gilbert Stuart, Scott said. Another addition was the Dr. Karen Abraham courtyard, located in front of the entrance to Hodgin Hall.
“(Hodgin Hall) is a fixer-upper, but we love it,” she said. “The building has taken on a beautiful character.”
Scott is one of the alumni officials in charge of directing maintenance on the building.
The hall has adapted many traditions throughout its lifetime, including the Brick Brigade and the lighting of the “U.”
“People don’t stay on campus like they did 50 years ago, so sometimes it’s hard to make that connection,” Scott said. “Hodgin Hall is the pride of UNM, and these traditions give us a sense of pride about where we are and where we come from.”
The “U," located just east of Hodgin Hall’s entrance, has also been remodeled. Originally located on the roof of the building and made of tin, the new “U” stands 12 feet tall, is made of cast bronze and is illuminated during special events using LED lights in a range of colors.
Hodgin Hall is available as a resource for students looking for study spaces and meeting rooms, and as a home for the Alumni Association. Tours are offered throughout the week, and the Alumni Association has continued to carry out a new tradition of providing coffee and donuts on the first Wednesday of every month.
Although this building has survived over generations, Scott sees Hodgin Hall staying strong for many years to come.
“This is every student’s building, and we care and respect the building and the history it relays,” she said. “For the future, I would want to build more of a relationship with the UNM student community so they can utilize the room spaces in Hodgin Hall at a reduced or complimentary fee.”
Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers the LGBTQ community. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @r_brusseau.