The English Department and McPhail Center for Environmental Studies are housed in the historic structure.
A gift of Eugene J. Barney, a Denison trustee from 1881 to 1917, the hall honors his father, Eliam, who was an early railroad car manufacturer and also a Denison trustee. Built in 1894 as a science hall, the interior was gutted by a fire in 1905 whereupon it was rebuilt and fireproofed, also funded by Eugene Barney. The design is Northern Italian Renaissance Revival and uses Oakland pressed brick and Amherst stone. The building underwent another major renovation in 1996 with funds donated by the family of the late Samuel S. Davis and from Walter McPhail. The renovation was done with special attention to environmental issues. Recycled pop bottles make the carpet and feldspar waste is used in the floor tiles. Original building features such as the large, south facing windows, skylights, and transoms allow for maximum use of natural light throughout the building and for solar heat gain. Original wood floors, window and door moldings, and storage cabinets were all restored and reused saving virgin resources. The English Department and McPhail Center for Environmental Studies are housed in the historic structure.