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5 colleges whose architecture echoes Harry Potter's Hogwarts

July 20, 2009 |  1:49 pm


A mishmash of Oxford, Cambridge and every liberal arts college east of the Mississippi, Hogwarts of the "Harry Potter" series is a big-budget architectural embodiment of musty academia at its most atmospheric and haunted.

The inherent creepiness of Gothic architecture is a given in the "Harry Potter" movies, but there's also an undercurrent of romanticism at work -- a romanticism for higher education and the monastic pursuit of knowledge. The abundance of stained glass and the high, cathedral ceilings give the secular Hogwarts campus a quasi-religious feel.

Tapping into that vein, a website called Applywise, devoted to the college admissions process, has formulated a list of five U.S. campuses reminiscent of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Top among the list? The University of Chicago, with its gothic facades, gargoyles and its official seal that prominently features a phoenix -- a recurring image in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster series.

Keep reading for the other universities on the list. And let us know if you think there are other campuses that should have made the list...


The University of Chicago. Illinois.

Credit: University of Chicago


Yale University. New Haven, Conn.

Credit: Yale University


Kenyon College. Gambier, Ohio

Credit: Kenyon College


Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, Penn.

Credit: Bryn Mawr College.


Cornell University. Ithaca, N.Y.

Photo: The main reading room of the Cornell University Library, circa 1900. Courtesy: the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

-- David Ng

Top photo: Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Comments () | Archives (71)

The college of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN looks just like Hogwarts!

This article missed the most obvious college, Sewanee: the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Much of the original money for the college came straight from England and British traditions still run deep. As just one example of many, professors and honors students wear black academic gowns to class. Harry would feel right at home at Sewanee.

The United States Military Academy -- West Point.

Kenyon is pretty close but you missed the two most obvious - Sewanee, the University of the South and Rhodes College. Sewanee with its gothic architecture and mistic loction on the Cumberland Plateau is probably the closest of all. Check out the dining hall and All Saints Chapel on the website. Rhodes with its total gothic architure is a very close second - unfortunately it is in the middle of Memphis. Check out the library there.

Rhodes College in Memphis, TN--every building on campus, including the facilities building, is built in collegiate gothic. There is even a "cloisters area" with the seal of the college where students may not walk over until graduation. Harry and company would feel very much at home.

I agree with Costello. The most obvious is Sewanee with its gothic articture and mistic location on top of the cumberland plateau. Check out the dining hall and All Staints Chapel on the web. A close second is Rhodes College - a totall gothic campus but for this purpose unfortunatly lacated in the middle of Memphis. Check out the library there.

We just visited the US Naval Academy and as we walked in the rotunda we noted that if the candlesticks in the chandaliers had been free floating it could have passed for Hogwarts.
I do agree that Kenyon has that Hogwarts feel!

How about Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. I remember it as having a gothic feel?

The Mount Holyoke College library looks a lot more like a Hogwarts building than the Cornell library. We're even part of a program by the American Library Association that is bringing an HP exhibition to selected campuses across the country. Why aren't we on the list?

They missed Mount Holyoke College, the oldest of the Seven Sisters, located in So. Hadley, MA. Visiting prospective students and families regularly remark on the similarity of Mount Holyoke's Gothic architecture to that of Hogwarts. And the college library is one of only 12 U.S. libraries selected to host the new traveling exhibition Harry Potter's World; the exhibit will be here in February 2010.

Mount Holyoke College. That's a big time miss. It's beautiful. We even had houses (classes), mascots, and colors.

Definitely Georgetown University as well.

You should also look at Frary Dining hall at Pomona College.

The college I attended in South West PA named Seton Hill University looks like Hogwarts and is set up isolated on the top of a ahill surrounded by a forrest. The school colors are Maroon and Gold and the mascot is a Griffin. The Architecture inside and out is amazing including the cafeteria that if it had wodden tables would be a ringer for the Great Hall. I am surios on how they came to the decisions of the top 5, or perhaps they should branch out to top 10.

Heidelburg College in Tiffin Ohio...

Baylor University's Brooks College was modeled after the Great Hall at Christ Church at Oxford, which is where the films were made. http://www.baylor.edu/cll/brookscollege/index.php?id=39450


You didn't even have to go that far. Yesterday I drove by Loyola High School on Venice Blvd. Never saw it before, I thought it was a movie set. http://www.loyolahs.edu

Notre Dame.

how do you leave Notre Dame's famous Harry Potter Dining Hall?!!!

Lots of the buildings at Mount Holyoke look like castles. Big miss!

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