The Inn at Carnall Hall
Carnall Hall is named for Miss Ella Howison Carnall, an associate professor of English from 1881-84. The building, built in 1906, was the state's first young women's dormitory, one of six new buildings on the campus completed that year. Colonial Revival in its design influence and detailing, Carnall Hall features an unusual additive composition in an ingenious plan to build a long, sprawling structure while retaining its small scale and picturesque, natural quality.
In 1939 the large porches around the southeast and southwest corners of the building were removed. In 1940 the red brick structure was painted a cream white to better harmonize with the newer on-campus white limestone buildings. Between 1959 and 1960 the Buildings and Grounds Department undertook extensive remodeling and modernizing of the 1906 structure.
Carnall Hall was no longer used as a women’s dorm after 1967 and in 1969 the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity began using Carnall Hall as their fraternity house, remaining there until 1977. During that time, the anthropology department used space on the third floor, and in 1973 the geography department moved to Carnall. The sociology department followed in 1979. Carnall Hall ceased being used for offices or classrooms in 1991 when the restoration work on Old Main--the oldest building on campus--was completed.
Many times in the succeeding years it appeared that Carnall Hall would be demolished. Local people, led by Paula Marinoni, and former residents of the dorm fought to save the building. Cromwell Architects and Engineers were employed in November of 1992 to devise a plan that would accommodate some University departments, but funding became a problem and that plan was soon rejected.
Carnall Hall began to take on a new life October 2, 2001, when the University’s Board of Trustees approved a plan for a private developer to turn the structure into a historic hotel and restaurant. The $6.9 million project, funded by both state and private money, was completed in early August of 2003. A dedication ceremony was held September 23, 2003, for the Inn at Carnall Hall and Ella’s Restaurant.