Old North

Old North, Georgetown University

Old North (shown above) is the oldest standing academic building on campus, built between 1794 and 1797. The oldest standing building is McSherry Hall. McSherry (provisionally renamed Remembrance Hall on the recommendation of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation, November 14, 2015) likely was built by the contractor who worked on Old North. Older than McSherry was the South Building, or Old South, which no longer exists. Old South was begun in 1788, completed in 1792, and razed in 1904. Ryan Hall was built on its site.

An 1829 Prospectus shows the North and South Buildings as the heart of Georgetown’s campus. The College appears to have had only two buildings, but the steps to the North Building acted as a place for famous visitors to speak, including the nation’s first president, George Washington. (People at Georgetown knew the date when George Washington was coming but not the time, so when he arrived, no one greeted him, and he had to go inside and find someone himself.) Later presidents—including Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton—have also spoken from these steps.


The Old North Book
In 1983, Georgetown University published a book to commemorate the renovation of Old North to house Georgetown’s brand new School of Business. More than twenty years and one more major renovation later, the book has already become an artifact of the ever-evolving style and purpose of Old North. It provided background and inspiration for a number of student projects, including a woman-centered “ReMarking” of the book, an architecturally-focused 2015 update to the book, and a reflexive video remix using text and imagery from the book.

Here’s a digital version of the original.

Mini Video Tour of Old North
Students in CCT’s Methods of Media Production course created videos about Old North. This video by Fatima Aldosari and Dur Kattan explores the main staircase.

Exploring Old North from Fatima Aldosari on Vimeo.