History of Conway Hall
The Dickinson College has had a Grammar School since almost the beginning of the school’s existence. The students lived in East College along with the college students. Administration also disciplined the pupils with and as college students. Unfortunately, the college began to be lax in its discipline which was a detriment to the prep school as the students began to be impatient with the Prep school. Some of the courses at the Prep school were not necessary for entrance into college. Also, the college began to give out too much money in scholarships, which they did not expect, and the prep school was losing the college money. This is the reason why the school closed in 1869. The Prep school re-opened in 1877 with the idea that the school would not necessarily offer preparatory courses for college but rather courses that resembled college courses. This way they could attract a higher grade of students. The new school would now be in Emory Chapel, formerly a Methodist church building. This was the new building until 1886. Conway Hall was built in 1905 because the school needed a new building to house and teach the Dickinson Preparatory school students. Unfortunately, Dickinson College did not the funds to build a new school. President Reed decided to write a letter to Andrew Carnegie who was a trustee from 1892-1894, telling him about the school’s financial situation. Andrew Carnegie gave the school $63,480 to build Conway Hall as long as the school was named after Moncure D. Conway. Conway graduated from Dickinson College in 1849. He was a well-known author and abolitionist. The new hall was four stories in height and could house more than a hundred students and teachers. “In addition to spacious dormitories it has an administration office, recitation rooms, halls for literary societies, a large dining room, and a chapel with seating capacity for 300 persons; throughout it is heated by steam and lighted by electricity, and the sanitary conditions are excellent”. The school was closed in 1917 due to decreased enrollment because of the war.
A Sketch of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn’A, by Charles F. Hines, Ph.D.
Historical Address, “Moncure D. Conway and Conway Hall”, given by Edward D. Biddle, published by the Hamilton Library Association, 1919.