Travels Through
Greco - Roman Antiquity
An exploration of texts and images from Falvey Library's Special Collections works on ancient Greece and Rome.

Founder's Hall Girard College


Image extracted from page 021 of Philadelphia, Photographs Album, by J. Murray Jordan. Original held and digitised by the British Library. Copied from Flickr. This file is from the Mechanical Curator collection, a set of over 1 million images scanned from out-of-copyright books and released to Flickr Commons by the British Library.


     Founder’s Hall at Girard College is a National Historic Landmark built from 1833 to 1847. Stephen Girard, founder of Girard College specified the dimensions and plan of the building in his will and the building was erected under the chair of the school’s building committee, Nicholas Biddle. After a city-government held architectural competition, Thomas Walter won the two million dollar construction budget to design the school, specifically Founder’s Hall, the original classroom building.

     Founder’s Hall is often considered the finest example of Greek revival architecture in the Unites States. It is a marble and brick structure with a marble slab roof weighing nearly 1,000 tons, it is slightly larger than the Parthenon standing 110 feet wide and 160 feet deep. In trying to meet Girard’s needs in his will, there was not a lot of room for design, so Walter chose a Roman structure. Nicholas Biddle being more in tune with Greek designs convinced Walter to change his design to be much more classically Greek. The massive marble façade is columned entirely in the exterior. The internal features contain Greek revival doorways, neoclassical halls, and domed ceilings and filled with columns with Ionic and Corinthian capitals.



"Founder's Hall at Girard College". Accessed April 18, 2016.

Sozanski, Edward, "The Colossus Of Girard Avenue The Marble And Brick Founder's Hall Of Girard College Is Bigger Than The Parthenon In Greece. An Exhibit Celebrating The College's 150th Anniversary Looks Back At Its Monumental Creation". July 2, 1998. Accessed April 18. 2016.