The Genesis of the Chemistry Building, 1922-26

Away from the archives, I find myself trawling through the images on my laptop this afternoon, looking for something interesting to show you. The biggest drawback to this is that I have so many pictures it’s easy to get distracted. The advantage, though, is that I can see things I miss in the day-to-day press of business. What I noticed this morning is that I’ve unintentionally scanned and saved the birth of the Chemistry Building in several really interesting and unusual images.

This first photo is a Cram and Ferguson drawing from 1922:

Chemistry rendering 1922Here’s the 1923 groundbreaking. Check out the mules at work:

GroundingclearingChemistry1923This next one is a really unusual view, probably taken sometime in late 1924 or early 1925. Lots of cars parked along the road through the quad:

Oversize Chem construction 1925And finally the finished product, also undated but very soon after completion, with Tony Martino’s rose garden in the foreground. Note that it isn’t exactly as drawn in the first picture but it’s pretty close:

Chemistry from rose garden nd

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7 Responses to The Genesis of the Chemistry Building, 1922-26

  1. Leoguy says:

    The photo of the finished building is wonderful. With the construction of Anderson Hall this view of the entire facade was lost forever. It’s beautiful.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    I really agree. It’s gorgeous. And like the Physics Building, astonishingly complex.

  3. almadenmike says:

    I recall hearing years ago that the south facade of the Chemistry Auditorium (the west/left-most section on the Chemistry Building) had been designed to look like the face of an owl, but I’ve never seen (or looked hard for) and documentations of that. So when I see these images, I noticed two changes to the auditorium’s facade: 1) an altered roofline, which makes it look more like an owl face, and 2) the circular windows were replaced with elongated ones that, while more consistent with the rest of the building, make it look less like an owl face. Maybe its owlish look was not absolutely intentional?

  4. I always liked those two small cloisters on either side of the tower in front, but have not thought about them in years.

  5. Buddy Chuoke says:

    Fascinating pictures all. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’m guessing that the elongated windows by the entrance to what we now call Chem Lec were entirely for improved ventilation or lighting. Not to mention probably freely available at modest cost. Maybe it was early “value engineering.” In the pre-VCR, pre-Netflix early 80’s, the SA used to show old movies in Chem Lec for a buck, and they were quite popular.

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