April on the Florida State University Campus

Located in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, Florida State University has recently seen major changes to it’s sprawling campus. Built to reflect the trend of “University Gothic” from the 19th century, that style was abandoned in the 1950’s after Florida State College for Women became coeducational in 1948.  Boxy high rises were the thing after the War, and never more so than at Florida State. Today, most of those “industrial” style dormitories have been demolished, and in their places are modern interpretations of the Campus Gothic from the original master plan.


High rise men’s dorms, Smith and Kellum Halls, are history. In their place will sprout modern Gothic structures to match the red brick dorms shown in the old postcard, above. Two original women’s dorms, Deviney and Dorman Halls, all seven boring floors of them, have been replaced with bright new buildings, named for Magnolia and Azalea blossoms that grow in gardens nearby.

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That’s Dorman on the left, and Deviney on the right, in original construction photos.

Their replacements, Magnolia and Azalea, are seen in this drove view…New-Halls

Below are ground level views of the recently opened dormitories.

florida hall    Devinney Hall

westcottThe Historic Westcott Building faces the main entrance to the university, atop the highest point of campus. Seriously damaged by fire in 1968, it was rebuilt to completely match it’s original design, with modern interiors. At least one immersion in the fountain is traditional for any student or alumnus who takes their time at F.S.U. seriously.

landis greenLandis Green is the “Central Park” of Florida State, surrounded by the Gothic buildings.landis fountainIn the center of the Green is Landis Fountain, that faces the Strozier Library to the north.

live oakThis ancient Live Oak in front of the library was here long before the college was founded in 1851. You can see two steel poles supporting the massive limb. A similar tree near Charleston is thought to be over 1,000 years old.

two pinesTwo massive Loblolly Pines frame a quiet spot on the western side of the Green. Cawthon Residence Hall is visible through the trees.cawthon hall

bryan hallBryan Hall is the oldest building on campus. Its fortress appearance is no coincidence. Originally, the site was home to a military academy, that later became the college for women. It’s now a residence hall.

maplesJapanese Maples show their true colors every spring.

Just west of Landis Green is the site of the new Student Union that will replace the original Union building that stood here for almost sixty years.

Student Union 1

The recently razed Oglesby Student Union was voted as the second best student union in the entire country a few years ago because it offered such a wide variety of activities, retail shops, restaurants and cafeterias, along with a bowling alley and an auditorium. Its architecture was influenced by modern buildings in Brasilia.  

a union Old Union

Concrete was everywhere, especially in the decorative molded appliques featured all around the ground floor walls. One of those walls, left, is being preserved in the new construction as a tribute to what was here before.

union image

 The new Union will reflect the Gothic found all over campus.

suwannee roomThe first “Student Union” was the Suwannee Dining Hall located in the center of the old women’s college campus. It’s Gothic beams and painted ceilings have been restored to their 1920’s splendor, and once again the room, with it’s large windows and original lighting fixtures, serves as a major gathering place on the eastern side of campus. Harry Potter would feel right at home in this “Hogwarts” space.

Bradford CyprusA few miles southwest of campus is Lake Bradford, that has served the college for almost a century as a place of recreation for the faculty and students. Known as the “Reservation”, canoeing and kayaking are still the best ways to enjoy this natural wonder, while gliding past these Bald Cypress trees.

Lake Bradford 1Sunset over the Lake is the perfect time to reflect on a day of learning and relaxation. Visiting Florida State University in late Spring is always a treat.


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