University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District

Map of Old Campus HIstoric District
Address: 15 Church Street SE
Location of Site: University of Minnesota
Neighborhood/s: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, East Bank, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1886
Founded by: University of Minnesota
Historic Function: Campus (educational)
Historic Function: Athletics, Military drill, Performing Arts, Social Activities
Other Historic Function: Athletics, Military drill, Performing Arts, Social Activities
Current Function: Campus (educational)

University of Minnesota, East Bank, Hennepin County Minneapolis Hennepin County

University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.976895° N, -93.234433° ELatitude: 44°58′36.822″N
Longitude: 93°14′3.959″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Reference Number: 10240018
Reference URL: [Reference]
Certification date: July 23, 1984
Level of significance: National
The University of Minnesota Old Campus Historic District is significant for its associations with an important early period in the development of a leading University. In addition, the individual buildings included in the district include several notable designs by prominent Minnesota architects. The Old Campus is a representation of the early years of the University. The thirteen buildings in the district, each rendered in an individual style and expression, comprise the entire remaining building stock of the campus that was constructed during the first important phase of the institution's physical developnfeitt. The diversity in style and materials of these early structures distinguishes them from the more numerous buildings constructed during the second phase of building. The nineteenth century spatial relationship of buildings to landscape, although somewhat distrupted by adjacent recent structures' 1 ,"Is also significantly in evidence.


Site History

The University was officially established in 1851, and functioned as a preparatory school, initially at St. Anthony Falls and later at the current site, until 1859, when it closed due to financial difficulties. Encouraged by the Morrill Act of 1862 and the efforts of Minneapolis businessman John S. Pillsbury, the institution re-opened in 1867, and its status as a full state university was established under the direction of its first president, William Watts Folwell, from 1869 to 1884. During this time, the University was housed in two nowrazed structures; Old Main, built in 1856 and 1875 on the current site of Alice Shevlin Hall (and razed after a fire in 1904), and a Coliseum/Drill Hall, built in 1884 near the site of the present Armory (and destroyed by fire in 1894). The second president of the University, Cyrus Northrop, held that office from 1884 through 1911. Under his leadership, the institution expanded and developed into what Folwell had envisioned as a "federation of schools" with colleges or schools in the arts, law, medicine, agriculture, engineering, mines, pharmacy, dentistry, education, and nursing. Northrop encouraged research, established a graduate school, assembled a distinguished faculty, and greatly expanded enrollment, which reached 3900 by 1905. The thirteen buildings in the Old Campus District, all constructed during Northrop*s tenure as president, were built to house many of these varied programs.

Site Significance

Like many major campuses which experienced significant growth in the later nineteenth century, the University's expansion produced a proliferation of architectural styles, including Queen Anne (Mechanics Arts Building), Richardsonian Romanesque (Students Christian Association Building, Law Building, Science Hall, Chemical Laboratory Building), Neo-Classical Revival (Library Building), Renaissance Revival (Medical Hall, Medical Sciences Building, Physics Building, Alice Shevlin Hall), Medieval (Armory), and Jacobethan (Folwell Hall). The architects of these structures - Leroy S. Buffington (and his draftsman Harvey Ellis), J. Walter Stevens, Charles Sedgewick, Frederick Corser, Ernest Kennedy, Charles Aldrich, Alien Stem, and C.H. Johnston Sr. were all well known Minnesota architects. The academic nature of the original designs based upon historic prototypes and the well preserved exteriors of the buildings in the Old Campus District make this area a significant Minnesota collection representing late 19th and early 20th century architectural styles.

13 Building

Mechanic Arts Building (EDDY HALL), 192 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1886

The Mechanic Arts Building is the oldest building within the district, as well as the oldest extant building on the Minneapolis Campus. It was constructed in 1886 according to designs by Minneapolis architect Leroy S. Buffington. Executed in the Queen Anne mode, the building is three stories in height on a high basement; a square tower at the northwest corner dominates the entry. The building is constructed of red brick with red sandstone trim. It is essentially rectangular in plan. Dominant features include the multi-gabled roof, high double-hung -windows, panels of patterned brick, and iron cresting and a weathervane on the tower.

Students Christian Association Building (MUSIC EDUCATION), 147 Pillsbury Dr., S.E., 1888

The Students Christian Association Building is the westernmost building in the district. It was constructed in 1888 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style; the design is attributed to Charles Sedgewick. Features of this style are noted in the low Syrian arch on the first floor, semi-circular windows in the northern gable, stone copings on gables, and rusticated stone facing on the western section of the building. The eastern section of the building is constructed of brick, as it was assumed at construction that a section would be added in a few years which would also utilize sandstone similar to that of the western section. The building is rectangular in plan with a circular apse on the western facade; it is two stories in height on a high basement.

Law Building (PATTEE HALL), 150 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1889, 1904

Constructed in 1889 according to designs by Saint Paul architect J. Walter Stevens, the Law Building is a two story structure of red pressed brick with red sandstone trim. It is executed in the Richardsonian Romanesque mode. Dominant architectural/stylistic features are the centrally located low Syrian arch entry on the north facade, stone sills and lintels, a loggia with squat columns, and a low hipped roof.

Science Hall (PILLSBURY HALL), 310 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1889

Science Hall was constructed in 1889 according to designs by Minneapolis architect Leroy S. Buffington (the actual design is attributed to Harvey Ellis, a draftsman/designer in Buffington's office). The building was the gift of John S. Pillsbury in the amount of $131,000 for the erection of a Science Hall when state appropriations were insufficient. The building was named in Pillsbury's honor.

Chemical Laboratory Building (NICHOLSON HALL), 216 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1890, 1927

Chemical Laboratory Building (NICHOLSON HALL), 216 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1890, 1927. The Chemical Laboratory Building was constructed at the southeast corner of the intersection of Pillsbury Drive and Pleasant Street in 1890 according to designs by Minneapolis architect Leroy S. Buffington. Stylistically, the building is Richardsonian in character. The building is two stories in height on a high basement and is crowned by a low, hipped roof with projecting eaves. The material is predominantly a Roman brick of yellow/orange color. Rusticated red sandstone, however, is employed for the basement story and for window and door surrounds. The principal facade (Pillsbury Drive) is symmetrical in arrangement with a central, multi-windowed section flanked by corner bays, the windows of which are incorporated within a large Syrian arch at the second story. Windows at the second story level of the central portion are divided by squat columns of stone. The principal entry is through a low Syrian arch with massive rusticated voussiours.

Medical Hall (WULLING HALL), 86 Pleasant St. S.E., 1892

Medical Hall was erected during the years of 1891 and 1892 according to designs by architect Alien H. Stem at a cost of approximately $65,000. The building is rectangular in plan, and consists of three stories on a high basement. Architecturally, the building represents the Renaissance Revival style, the characteristic features of which are the prominent rusticated stone first and basement levels, the attenuated second level enframed by decorative masonry bands, and the low third or attic story sheltered by a modillioned hip roof. Facades are symmetrical in design with the central bays accentuated by variations on the Palladian motif. The building formerly contained medical laboratories, offices, and classrooms.

Library Building (BURTON HALL), 178 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1894

The Library Building was erected in 1894 at the cost of $175,000. The design is the result of the work of two prominent Minneapolis architects, Leroy S. Buffington and Charles Sedgwick. Buffington is credited with the exterior and Sedgwick with the interior. The building is executed in the Neo-Classic mode popularized by the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893; the dominant design element is the octa-style doric portico reminiscent of the Parthenon. Other features include the triglyph/metope arrangement in the frieze of the portico, acroteria, carved panels with allegorical figures, full pediment, and names of philosophers carved into the frieze area of the main facade. The plan is essentially rectangular with an apse in the rear; the building measures 135 feet in frontage and 194 feet in depth. It is constructed of a light gray Ohio sandstone.

Armory, 15 Church St. S.E., 1896

The Armory is the easternmost of the buildings in the district, being situated on the southeast corner of the intersection of University Avenue S.E. and Church Street. The building was erected in 1896 at a cost of $75,000 according to designs by Charles R. Aldrich, a member of the University faculty. The building is three stories in height and is constructed of yellow brick with yellow sandstone trim. The plan is essentially rectangular and measures 220 by 135 feet. Stylistically, the Armory is reminiscent of a Medieval castle or fortification. Each corner of the building is embellished by a crenelated turret. The main entry on the west facade is through a low semi-circular arch flanked on the right by a low turret and on the left by a four story tower with conical roof. The roofline is decorated by a corbelled cornice.

Medical Science Building (WESBROOK HALL), 77 Pleasant St. S.E., 1898

The Medical Sicence Building was constructed according to designs by Minneapolis architect Frederick Corser during the years 1896 through 1898 and represented an expenditure of approximately $65,000. It is a large three story creme brick structure on a high basement. The plan is essentially an "I" measuring seventy-five by 150 feet. Stylistically the building is representative of the Renaissance Revival mode; facades are symmetrical and clearly defined both horizontally by string courses and vertically into bays although with little embellishment such as pilaster strips or applied ornamentation. The principal facade faces onto Pleasant Street; the entry is centrally located on the facade. The entry has been altered in recent years with the addition of an enclosed vestibule of brick. A second and more major alteration to the original design intention had been made earlier with the elimination of the broad-overhanging eaves of the hipped roof; formerly, the eaves had provided a strong horizontal element in the overall visual character of the design.

Physics Building (JONES HALL), 27 Pleasant St. S.E., 1901

The Physics Building was constructed in 1901 according to designs by Charles R. Aldrich at the cost of $55,600. It is two stories in height on a high basement and is constructed of a yellow/orange brick. The design is executed in the Renaissance Revival mode with each of the four facades being symmetrical in arrangement. The principal facade faces onto Pleasant Street; it is divided into nine bays, the central of which comprises an entrance portico surmounted by a tall multipaned window. Bays are defined by pilaster strips and the top story is separated from the two below by a projecting architrave. Basement windows are incorporated within semi-circular arches. The entire building is capped by a modillioned cornice and brick parapet. The overall plan is rectangular and measures sixty-eight by 115 feet.

School of Mines Building (CHILD DEVELOPMENT), 51 E. River Road, 1903, c.1913

The School of Mines Building is situated at the southwest edge of the district. Constructed in 1903, the rectangular building is three stories in height and is of red brick. Initial cost was $61,000. A fire damaged the structure in 1913; it was rebuilt shortly afterwards. In recent years a modern addition has been added to the west end of the structure.

Alice Shevlin Hall. 164 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., 1906

Alice Shevlin Hall was constructed in 1906 on the site of Old Main (which was totally destroyed by fire on 24 September 1904) . The construction was made possible by a donation of $60,000 by Thomas Shevlin in honor of his wife. The building was executed in the Renaissance Revival mode according to designs by Minneapolis architect Ernest Kennedy. It is two stories in height with a full basement, and is constructed of red sand-mold brick with terra cotta trim and ornamentation. Shevlin Hall was essentially rectangular in plan and measures fifty-five by 114 feet; a large addition to the rear was constructed at a later date to provide for additional dining facilities.

Folwell Hall, 9 Pleasant St. S.E., 1907

>Constructed between the years 1905 through 1907, according to designs by Saint Paul architect C.H. Johnston Sr., Folwell Hall was the result of a legislative appropriation of $350,000 plus insurance payments received from the destruction of Old Main. The building faces University Avenue S.E. between Fifteenth Avenue and Sixteenth Avenue. Jacobean in mode, it is three stories in height on a high basement. Materials for construction are a yellow/orange brick with cut granite foundation and basement. Decorative elements such as strapwork, sculptural figures, and ornamental panels are of gray terra cotta made in the imitation of granite. Concrete is used for floors and some walls with tile for other walls, making the building virtually fireproof.

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