This month’s ‘Spot a Clock’ is Merrill Hall, located at 2512 East Hartford Avenue in Milwaukee. Merrill Hall, along with Holton, Johnston, and Sabin Halls, comprise the Milwaukee-Downer Quad on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.
The buildings were constructed between 1897 and 1904 to form Milwaukee-Downer College. This college merged with Lawrence University in 1964, and its Milwaukee campus was purchased by the University of Wisconsin. The buildings were designed by Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiler. The distinct red brick buildings are examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture, and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
A unique feature of Merrill Hall is its beautiful wrought vertical direct south sundial. While the building currently houses faculty offices and historically housed classrooms, art studios, offices and a bookstore while part of Milwaukee-Downer College, its east tower housed an observatory with a 5-inch equatorial-mounted telescope.
The sundial may have been added to the building to reinforce this astronomical connection.