Elliott Hall was built in 1825 at a cost of $7000. It was majorly remodeled several times, in 1873, 1912 ($30,000), 1937 ($85,000) and 1963.
The building has been in continuous residential use since its original construction. The hall is 10, 050 square feet and has 27 rooms with an all-over capacity for 38 residents. In its early days, Elliott was officially named Washington Hall and Clinton Hall.
Later, the building was referred to as the "Northwest Building", "North Dorm", or simply "Old North". Built as a residence hall for men (Miami was not widely coeducational until after the turn of the 20th century). It was a "simple but strong" plain, three-story, brick house. Thirty-five men, each equipped with a bed, chairs, table, ax, coonskin cap and cooking utensils were the first residents of the hall. At this time, the Oxford campus had an enrollment of about 100 and a faculty of three or four professors.
In 1830, Former President Bishop had the building painted white, supposedly as a consequence of an oversupply of calcimine that he did not want to be wasted.
The wood-burning fireplaces that the men had to regularly feed with kindling from the woods to the east of the hall (in the area that is now the Hub) were partly closed in 1873 so that small coal grates could be used.
During the years of Miami's closure (1873-1885), the building, along with several others, was leased to the Miami Classical and Scientific School (1877-1885) during which time it was renamed "Washington Hall". When Miami reopened in 1885, the building resumed its names of "Northeast Building" or "North Dorm". In 1899, there was a mechnical renovation that added steam heat, electric lights and "modern" bathrooms. Around 1900, the rooms rented for a whopping $18 a year for a small room and $30 a year for a larger room. This charge included light, (new) steam heat and janitor service. Check out the cool digs below.
Around 1912, the central hall was removed and replaced by two side halls, effectively cutting the building into two sections (except on the third floor, where the two sides connected. See a plan of the building in the configuration below (notice the unusual bathroom placements!) As a result, the north half was named to honor R. B. C. Johnson (professor of philosophy, 1888-1905) and the south half was named to honor Charles Elliott.
In 1937, the building was completely renovated. The brick was sandblasted, the exterior was beautified to match the now developing Miami style of Neo-Georgian Mansions and the interior was gutted and modernized. This renovation was actually a project of the Public Works Administration. Following the 1937 remodeling, the building once more became a single structure and it was formally dedicated Elliott Hall in honor of Charles Elliott, prominent and beloved professor of Greek from 1849-1863 during the Old Miami period. This renovation allowed for the removal of the five extra chimneys on the building and also brought the building into its present recognizable layout.
Elliott was born in Castleton, Scotland on March 18, 1815. He received his A.B. degree from Lafayette College in 1840, his A.M. and D.D. degrees from Ohio University in 1861, his LL.D. degree from Hanover College in 1891 and his B.D. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1841. He taught Greek Language and Literature as well as Logic at Miami from 1849-1863, in addition to serving as an Evangelist for the Presbytery of Oxford since 1858. Elliott was regarded as the most scholarly man on the Miami faculty and had much influence on the character of his students. He passed away on February 15, 1892.
Phi Delta Theta, the second of the Miami Fraternity Triad was founded in a room on the second floor of Old North in 1848. Two of the founders, Robert Morrison and John M. Wilson, lived at Old North. The occasion was marked by a stone plaque set into the exterior of the west wall of Old North. The plaque is present to this day.
Currently, the Phi Delta Theta Founder's Room is designated as room number 202 and is specially furnished with two beds, a special table and portraits of the founders. This room has only been reconfigured minimally over the years and is among the largest rooms in Elliott Hall today.