Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gordon Hall on the Marycliff campus

"Marycliff was originally an elegant mansion designed by Kirkland Cutter for F. Lewis Clark and his wife at W. 701 Seventh. It was English in it's architecture style. After Clark became ill, he sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. Burgess Lee Gordon. It was renamed "Undercliff." The whole part of "The Hill," an area of elegance.
In 1929, "Undercliff" was given to the Bishop of Spokane with a value of $150,000. The woodwork in the dining room was made of sycamore and had a secret panel of velvet lined shelves that could only be opened by rubbing across a metal bar with a gold ring.

The Bishop determined it would be exceptionally suited to become a girl's school. Marycllif High School opened in 1929 with fifty seven students. Marycliff Hall was a classroom and a convent. It remained the music conservatory and convent after the main building was added in 1931. in 1945, the Franciscan Sisters moved to the Corbin House (so named after original owner and railroad magnate Daniel Chase Corbin) and twenty four out of town students were allowed to board. In 1951, enrollment reached 355 and Marycliff Hall became Freshman Hall with five class rooms. I attended Marycliff from 1963 to 1967. We had a graduating class of 129 female students.

In 1962 McCauley Hall was completed. Freshman Hall was renamed Gordon Hall (after Mr. and Mrs. Burgess Gordon) and again became a music conservatory. The old carriage house became a chapel. There were two Corbin houses, one donated to Marycliff in 1945 and one is the Art Center east of Marycliff. The southern colonial Corbin House that was part of Marycliff was built for $65,000 on about four acres.

The D.C. Corbin House (currently the Corbin Art Center) is on the National Register of Historic Places.