Barbour Gymnasium

Barbour Gymnasium.jpg

Barbour Gymnasium

When Waterman Gymnasium opened on campus in 1893 it was open to all students, with some exceptions. Women students were allowed to use the gym for three hours in the morning when the most popular classes were held.To remedy the issue, Regent Barbour and Regent Hebard donated $35,000 for the construction of a women's gym while the Women's League and the Alumnae Council began additionally fundraising.

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Swimming pool in Barbour Gymnasium, called "Barbour Bathtub"

Completed in the late 1890s, the Barbour Gymnasium contained parlors, recreation spaces, a small swimming pool, and spaces for the new office of the Dean of Women. When Barbour Gymnasium became overcrowded, the Women's League began a campaign to raise $1 million for a new women's building: the Michigan League. The Barbour Gym began to deteriorate over the 20th century and was demolished in 1977 to make way for expansions to the Chemistry Building.3


1. James Burrill Angell, "The President's report to the Board of Regents for the academic year," University of Michigan, 1894.

2. "History of the Women's League University of Michigan," Folder "Undated," Box 1, Women’s League University of Michigan Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

3. Walter A. Donnelly, Wilfred B. Shaw, and Ruth W. Gjelsness, eds., The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press), 1958.