Mount Union College was founded as a subscription school in 1846 by the Reverend Orville Nelson Hartshorn. The first class session was held with just six students in a room on the third floor of the Old Carding Mill. The pupils sat on handmade benches at crude desks. After the school was chartered in 1858, as Mount Union College, the founders decided to construct a more prestigious building in which to operate the growing school. The Main Building, as it was first called, was later named in honor of Ira O. Chapman, who was a professor at the college during the first quarter of its existence. Men who were able to donate their labor during the busy Civil War days completed Chapman Hall in 1864. At that time it was one of the finest college buildings in the state. It is the oldest building still standing on the Mount Union College campus, and is one of the oldest buildings in Alliance.
Through the years it was used for classrooms, faculty offices, the library (until 1950), and as a museum and observatory. By 1964, when it was one hundred years old, Chapman Hall required extensive structural changes in order to continue to be suitable for college use. After much consideration it was decided to remodel and preserve the structure.
The remodeling job was finished in 1967, and now Chapman Hall stands ready to serve for at least another century. If you should be in the vicinity of the college and hear bells chiming, those bells are in the north tower of Chapman Hall. They are rung every fifteen minutes and on special occasions. Even with the addition of many other attractive buildings, Chapman Hall has remained the heart of the college's beautiful campus, where now approximately 1,200 students attend classes.