Architect: S. L. Leary
Originally called the College Inn, the building’s name was changed in 1896 to the name of the English parish where the father of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was minister. The funds for the building were provided by Washington Duke, and the total cost of construction was $31,679.30. The original building was three stories and built in the style of an old English tavern.
It had 75 rooms for male students and bachelor faculty, and a dining room for 250 people. A chapel supported the spiritual life of the student body with morning prayers and Sunday preaching. Half of the student body of Trinity resided in the Inn in the early 1900's, and the building was considered to be the residential and social center of Trinity College. However, the building suffered from defects of design in the winter months, and the heating system was decried by many students as woefully inadequate. It was renovated for the first time in 1905.
In 1914, during an extensive renovation and remodeling to address the inadequacies of student living conditions, the building was reduced to one third of its original size, leaving only one wing of the former structure. In 1949, the dilapidated Epworth was remodeled and modernized. In the 1960s, Epworth hosted a contemporary arts living community for the Woman's College. Beginning in 1984-1985, S.H.A.R.E (Student Housing for Academic and Residential Experimentation) took residence in Epworth, and continuing into the 1990s, Epworth became a selective coed community that embraced alternative student lifestyles and promoted coed habitation. In 1997, Epworth was changed to first-year housing.
For Further Research:
- Building Reference Collection - Contains historical building information.
- Living Groups Reference Collection - Records of Duke Living Groups, some of which occupied Epworth.
- SHARE Records - Records of the SHARE living group.
- Flickr Photographs related to Epworth Residence Hall.