Devereux Hall, or Dev, as it is commonly known, takes the name of Nicholas Devereux, a land proprietor and one of the University's founders, who came to the United States from Ireland in 1806. He worked in Albany and moved to Utica to work with his brother John. In 1835, he acquired more than 400,000 acres of land at just less than a dollar an acre. The acreage is located in Cattaraugus County and includes the land where St. Bonaventure University is located.
Devereux was a devout Roman Catholic and, in 1854, he traveled to Rome to ask Franciscans to start a mission in Western New York. Four Friars accepted the offer and arrived a year later. In 1856 the cornerstone of the Monastery of St. Bonaventure College was laid and the College opened in 1858. It became the first Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States.
Devereux Hall is the University’s second oldest building and St. Bonaventure's first residence hall. Construction was begun in 1926. Dev was designed in an “Italian Transitional” style typical of Franciscan monasteries in the 16th century. Dev has Harvard brick for the exterior and a red, Spanish tile on the roof.
Architect Chester Oakley, who designed Dev, believed that “a building should teach.” With that in mind, he added plaques of famous men around the outer walls, including St. Bonaventure, Alexander Hales, and Roger Bacon. This also included a student vote of the eight greatest Americans, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln. Other plaques include surrounding towns (Allegany, Olean, Bradford, Salamanca, among others) and the seven medieval arts (tonus, numerous, ratio, lingua, tropus, astra, and anglus).
On the east side of the building, there was a chapel, which was converted to Garrett Theater in 1961. Devereux Hall was completed in June of 1928, but the west wing did not exist. It was added in 1930 to house the seminarians who had to relocate after a major fire razed the Monastery and Chapel. Dev was the temporary house until the new Friary was built in Doyle Hall in 1961.
The original interior of Devereux Hall was in a brown and white color scheme, much different than the familiar dozen shades of green that Dev has today. Two parlors in the current west wing corner were there to greet family, friends and visitors. Each floor had a suite for prefects’ offices and living rooms and the east wing included the infirmary. On the second third and fourth floors, students could live in single or double rooms and each room had a large mahogany desk and dresser. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the fifth floor housed the football team.
After the friars moved to Doyle in 1961, the west wing lounges alternated as recreation and storage areas and attempts to convert the fifth floor into a lounge were unsuccessful. Today, Devereux Hall offers students single and double rooms, though without the mahogany furniture. Major renovations were done in the summer of 1999 and the carpeting was removed, and the shades of green were added.
Major renovations were done to Garrett Theater during the 1999-2000 academic year and the theater was rededicated on August 26, 2000.
Thank you to Megan O'Neill and Dennis Frank for providing information from the University Archives Web site.