Law Building (Old Haven Hall)

The Law Department (later School) was established in 1859 by the Board of Regents and rapidly outgrew the initial quarters that it was given in Mason Hall. After a failed effort to raise subscription funds for the erection of a new building for the School, the Regents appropriated University funds for the construction of the building, which was completed in 1863 and stood at the northwestern corner of the University of Michigan campus. The size of the original building was 70 by 90 feet. In 1863 it was occupied by the Law School, the University Chapel (until 1873) and the General Library (until 1883), all moved from an overcrowded Mason Hall.

From 1863 until 1923 this building served as home to the Law School, although increasing enrollments throughout this time period necessitated two extensive remodelings. The first, in 1893, added more class and lecture rooms and a tower on the northwestern corner. The addition of a third year to the Law School curriculum in 1895 drastically impacted on the space occupied by the School and in 1898 the building was completely remodeled. The new construction, which completely subsumed the original building, created a rectangular building 208 feet long with three floors, no tower, and north and south wings. It contained all of the Law School's classrooms, lecture halls, and faculty and staff offices. The Law Library occupied the second floor of the south wing, while beneath it was a room specifically designed for the use of the University's Board of Regents, where they met for thirty-five years until their removal to the room next to the President's office in Angell Hall in 1933.

With the construction of the Law Quadrangle during the period 1923 to 1933, the building at the northwestern corner of the Diag took on a new identity. The Regents renamed the building Haven Hall in honor of Erastus O. Haven, who had been President of the University of Michigan from 1863 to 1869. Haven Hall became one of the major buildings of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, with space given to the Departments of History, Sociology, Journalism, and the Bureau of Government and its library collection.

On June 6th, 1950, a fire destroyed Haven Hall, including the 20,000 item Bureau of Government Library. The fire speeded action on a proposed addition to Angell Hall which was at that time being considered by the Board of Regents. When the addition was completed in 1952, the Regents authorized the recycling of the name of the recently burned building, so the current eight-story office building behind Angell Hall bears the name Haven Hall.

Source: University of Michigan Buildings, compiled by the Buildings and Grounds Department, University of Michigan, 1923 (courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library); The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey; Walter A. Donnelly, Wilfred B. Shaw, and Ruth W. Gjelsness, editors; Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1958.