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Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: Campus Locations - D

An Index of Historical Content and Their Sources

Dietsch Hall

 Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.

Dietsch Hall, photographed November 21, 2006. Source: BW CD Collection, Buildings, #926,11-21-2006. Click on image to enlarge.

Dietsch Hall was built in 1899 on the campus of German Wallace College. It is a Romanesque-style, three-story structure, including a basement, and was built with Berea sandstone. Besides containing numerous suits and single rooms for women, it contained double parlors, rooms for the Dean of Women, and laundry facilities in the basement.

Dietsch Hall was named in honor of Michael and Lydia Ann Dietsch of Logan Township, near Spencerville, Ohio. Michael Dietsch, a prosperous farmer who was a pillar in the local German Methodist Church, sold a portion of their property to fund the facility. In the winter of 1897, Dr. Marting, who had been a guest of the Dietsch's and while he was helping with farm chores before church on a Sunday morning, mentioned 8 German Wallace's urgent need for a women's dormitory. Michael Dietsch and Dr. Marting both got down on their hands and knees and prayed on the cold barn floor. When finished praying, Michael said he felt the Lord wanted to him to give his farm in Marion County, Ohio for this purpose.

For many years, the hall served as a women's dormitory. It was said to have been well furnished and equipped with all modern convinces. Room prices, depending on the size and location, ranged from 75 cents to $1.50 per week and included light, heat, and water. An additional $1.50 per week covered the use of an electric iron. The hall was later occupied by theology students before being unused for five years. In 1935, it was remodeled, at an approximate cost of $3,000, and became Baldwin-Wallace's Administration building. In addition to the many offices located in the building, the bookstore and switchboard. It was remodeled again in 1950, and remained as the administration building until 1970 when Bonds Administration Building was completed. While Dietsch Hall was used for administrative purposes, records were played from the Registrar's office and the music was heard from the tower of Marting Hall in the time between classes. During the 1970's, Dietsch Hall served to house the departments of History and Religion. In November of 1975, Lyceum Square and German Wallace College, of which Dietsch Hall is a part, had been entered on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the night of January 11, 1978, an aged water main over the third floor froze, burst, and flooded the building. Offices were moved to other buildings and the building was closed due to the extensive damage. The hall stood empty until increasing enrollment at B-W necessitated the renovation of Dietsch Hall and the Lindsay-Crossman Chapel in 1990. The renovation was important, as the Lyceum Square area, composing Marting Hall, the Chapel, and Dietsch, has historically been a hub of academic, cultural, and religious life. The name for Lyceum Square comes from Lyceum Village, a socialist/educational community that had flourished on that site from 1836-1842. The $2.5 million renovation of Dietsch Hall and the Chapel was an eighteen month project completed in 1991. The hall was rededicated on June 1, 1991.

After the renovation, Dietsch Hall housed the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Office of International Studies, and the Learning Center. New classrooms, seminar rooms, a language lab, and computer facilities were included in the renovation plan. An elevator was installed and all electric and mechanical systems were replaced. With the renaissance of Marting Hall in 1989, and Dietsch Hall and Lindsay Crossman Chapel in 1991, the humanities were returned to a central location on south campus, for the first time in more than a decade.

Citation: “Dietsch Remodeled As New Dean Comes,” Baldwin-Wallace College News Letter 16, no. 1 (1950): p. 1.

Preparations for Baldwin-Wallace College's new Dean are well under way, with a widespread remodeling program in Dietsch Hall administration offices preceding the arrival of Dr. Frank G. Lankard.

The Dean is expected to assume his new post the first of February, coming to Berea from Brothers College of Drew University, where he has been Dean for 15 years.

Head-to-toe changes are being made in 51-year-old Dietsch Hall, which originally was a coed dormitory. Dean Lankard, his assistant and the deans of men and women all will occupy the second floor, which also contains the President's offices.

Moving to the first floor will be the admissions director. The registrar and some of the business offices will remain on the first floor level, with the accounting department and assistant treasurer going to the ground floor.

Also moving down one flight will be the central telephone switchboard, campus mail boxes and mimeographing equipment. Offices of the superintendent of buildings and grounds remain downstairs.

Top floor of Dietsch will continue to house the alumni records, to be joined by the placement office, public relations headquarters, financial promotion offices and a general conference room.

Remodeling of Dietsch began this month and is expected to continue for several weeks.