810 - Mary S. Merrill Recreation Auditorium
The Basilica-shaped Merrill Recreation Auditorium was opened on April 22, 1928, in a ceremony dedicated to the memory of Mary Sroufe Merrill, first chair of the YWCA Asilomar Committee. Merrill's philanthropic work in the San Francisco Bay Area earned her the respect of many friends who paid all of the building's construction costs. it was the last Morgan design constructed on the grounds and represents the high point of the YWCA at Asilomar.
The building is clad with redwood shingles and once had bark-on pine log detail. It features amber-glazed arched hopper windows at the ridge and clerestory, numerous large casement windows designed to look like double-hung windows, and twelve-lite center pivot windows providing a view of the dunes and ocean to the west. The Carmel flagstone veneer on the west façade and chimney match the short walls surrounding the patios and walkways. the walkways originally extended north to Class Hall, which burned in 1955.
Morgan borrowed the interior plan from St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley (1912), and included arched trusses of heavy redwood timber joined with ornamental iron work. On the west end of the interior she added a folding redwood partition to create the Club Room, which includes a massive Carmel-stone fireplace. Artistic ornamentation was added below the windows and is evocative of Asilomar's natural environment: the wildflowers of the Natural Dunes and the marine life of the Pacific Ocean.
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