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Copy of Old Main ISNU Timeline

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Dave Watt

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Old Main ISNU Timeline

Old Main was the first building of Illinois State University, or Illinois State Normal University in the early years of the University. The ISNU Main building, constructed between 1857 and 1861, was far larger and grander than the University's student population or budget would have led one to imagine. The cost of the impressive building and its furnishings totaled $187,000--nineteen times the University's operating budget in 1858.



The Main building stood three stories tall and had a basement and a clocktower. The original building included spaces for a museum, library, music room, and art gallery. Although the uses of some of the building’s spaces changed over time, its enduring functions were to house administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and large assembly halls. The basement held janitors’ quarters and storage rooms, and early on, laboratory spaces. Later the basement was the site of a book store, student newspaper and yearbook offices, as well as men’s and women’s lounges. The timeline below briefly sketches major events in the building's history. Old Main is Founded February 18, 1857 The Building Construction Bid is Chosen in April of 1857 The Board of Education of the State of Illinois met at three o’clock at the Peoria County Court House to review the bids of Bloomington, Peoria, and Washington. These cities were in a bidding war for the rights to the location of Illinois State Normal University. Bloomington and McLean County, despite unfavorable odds, had out bid Peoria $141,000 to $80,000 and was declared the new location of the school. The Building Committee of the Board for Normal University chose building plans designed by G.P. Randall, an architect from Chicago. “The architect’s plan called for a great three-story building with a tower and a dome a hundred and fifty feet above the ground ” (Marshall 1956). A month later, T. H. Soper along with Mortimer and Loburg of Chicago were named the building’s contractors.



Charles Hovey:

"Given five hundred adult students: required to find how to construct an edifice wherein they could be comfortably accommodated and assembled in one room and separated therefrom into several rooms and vice versa, in the least possible time and confusion." Building Plans are Selected in June 1857 The contractors, architect, and a few Bloomington business-men determined the precise location of the school’s Main building. It would be built north of Bloomington on a ridge that sloped in all directions. The plot of land stood atop the slough and was conveniently located near the railway.
A Site is Chosen for the Old Main Building
July 1857 The cornerstone of Old Main was laid by W. H. Powell and Jesse W. Fell, among others, and observed by a crowd of community members. The cornerstone contained a tin time capsule with newspapers of the day, a bible, letters and prairie flowers.
Judge A.J. Merriman of the County Court laid the cornerstone, and thus, the Main Building’s foundation and the future of the campus at Illinois State Normal University was set. Corner Stone LaidSeptember 29, 1857 in Normal, I
Funds dried up due to the nation’s economic downturn and after the school’s Christmas break work on the building completely stopped. A year and a half later, the schools’ first principal, Charles Hovey found the means to continue the construction of the Main Building. Construction Halts Temporarily
December 1857 The last brick was placed and the building was complete. Construction is Complete
November 1859 After many delays and funding difficulties, Old Main’s construction was finished and classes were held within its grand halls. In this photo Old Main is seen in the vast prairie before much of the town of Normal was established. Old Main Building Completed and Classes are Held
1860 in Illinois State Normal University “The inadequately supported belfry early showed effects of wind and weight. It was split by lightning in the summer of 1860.” Summer Wind Damage in 1860 Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train passed Old Main on its journey from Chicago to Springfield on the same railroad tracks that run through the town of Normal today. Lincoln was involved in the founding of Illinois State University and was closely connected to other University founders. President Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Procession
May 1, 1865 A violent thunderstorm damaged Old Main, ripped off part of the roof, blew down 11 of the 16 chimneys and crushed the ceilings to the third floor. A new roof was installed and the tower was restored. Roof Damaged in a Violent Storm
June 10, 1902 in ISNU Old Main is only one of several buildings on the Normal campus by 1914. The Library of Congress holds a print of the campus that shows the Gynmasium (Cook Hall, today), Manual Arts building (Eduards Hall), Main Building, and Thomas Metcalf Training School (Moulton Hall). Campus Expansion 1914 Student Lounge built in the southeast corner of the Old Main building in the suite of rooms formerly used as lodging quarters for the janitor. Also listed in the basement at that time were the bookstore, store rooms, and women’s restroom. Student Lounge Built in the Basement of Old Main
May 1934 According to open house program Old Main’s basement contained the bookstore, janitor’s rooms, a women’s restroom, the Student Lounge and the Faculty Women’s new Lounge. Program includes the quote: “Since the founding of the school, the campus has been gradually built up until it now includes 9 major buildings and a green house unit. Open House Discusses the Multiple Functions of the Old Main
May 1936 The dome and top floor of Old Main were removed because of safety concerns about the deteriorating condition of the building. A roof was put on the second floor and Old Main continued to be used for classes and offices The Dome, Clocktower and Third Floor were Removed
May 1946 in ISNU Campus facilities report indicates that after the removal of the dome, Old Main had 33,398 square feet of floor space. This included 15,750 sq ft of classroom space, 4,460 of office space, and remaining space includes 1,596 for bookstore, 1,260 for student lounge, 1,260 for restroom, 990 for storage, 990 for fan room, 7,092 for Halls and Stairways. Old Main Loses Square Footage

December 1950 Old Main was demolished because the advanced deterioration of the wood and brick in the building made it unstable and potentially unsafe. The building stood for 98 years and was a proud symbol of the mission of the University to bring education and opportunity to the people of Illinois. The time capsule stored in the cornerstone was removed and opened by University President Bone. When the cenotaph monument honoring Old Main was built on campus a new time capsule was placed beneath it Old Main Demolished
June 16, 1958 When the monument honoring Old Main was built on campus a new time capsule was placed beneath it. October 22, 1958 was the filling of the new time capsule, and its ceremonial placement under the Old Main memorial. A Monument and New Time Capsule
October 1958 Keith Barr, in partnership with the Midwestern Archaeological Research Center and Dr. Ed Jelks, began excavations of the Old Main site. After campus construction projects uncovered evidence of the remains of Old Main’s foundation they excavated several units and uncovered glass, ceramic and metal artifacts from the Old Main water collection cisterns. The artifacts uncovered during that excavation are now part of the collection at Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Keith Barr completed a Master's thesis on the excavations and artifacts in 1983. Jessica Griffin recently completed a Master's Thesis that will focused primarily on the bottles recovered from one of the cisterns excavated in the mid-1980s. Archaeological Excavations at Old Main
1981 in ISU The Old Main north cistern was threatened by construction of a steam tunnel running east to west across the quad. A salvage project was proposed by the Midwestern Archaeological Research Center to excavate the north cistern prior to its destruction. Letter by Susan Gillespie to Richard Godfrey (dated May 5 1986) confirm the excavation was done, and the report was arranged to be written by Larry Sears, a history teacher at Bloomington High School. More Old Main Archaeology
April 1985 (Classic Grounds and Academic Shades: The Physical Development of Illinois State University, by Mark Plummer. (2001) Picture taken from University Archives (1610-1865) — at Illinois State Normal University . ISNU event placemat featuring image of Old Main from between 1946 and 1958, obtained from Ross Griffith at University Archives Map of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train taken from http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln51.html. Taken from "The Vidette" (1902) — at ISNU Photo of the ISNU campus circa 1914 held at the Library of Congress and taken from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/pan.6a03986/ Taken from University Archives (1745A) — at ISNU. Scanned from University Archives (888C) — at ISNU. Taken from University Archives (1603 I9 1958) Taken from University Archives (1816) Taken from University Archives (P119) — at ISU. Taken From University Archives (P119B) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P119D) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P119F) — at ISU. Taken from Universit Archives (P119G) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121A) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121F) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121G) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121H) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121I) — at ISU. Taken from University Archives (P121E) Timeline of Old Main 1850s 1860s 1910-1920 1930s 1940s 1950s 1980s Editors in the yearly indexes of
the University report that the 1890s
brought about numerous changes to the
building including kerosene lamps being
replaced with electric ones in 1892 and
steam heating pipes replaced in 1895
with a fan system. 1890s Steel girders were installed from
the foundation to the clock tower
to prevent the building from collapsing. 1932 1946 The Dome of Old Main was removed with the rest of the third floor and placed on South Campus as a shrine 1860-1861 Two large rooms on the third floor were re-fit for the purpose of housing the Philladelphian and Wrightonian Debate societies July, 1861 Colonel Charles Hovey raises a volunteer teachers regiment to serve as The Normal Rifles, Company A, 33rd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War. 1860 Museum and State Laboratory of Natural History was now being established on the third floor 1865

President Edwards of the University gave a memorial service to the late President Lincoln on April 19th. A symbolic evergreen tree was planted in the front of the building as University President Edwards gave his speech, "The Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln" And the class of 1865 gave a bust of Lincoln as a class gift. 1876 Roof repairs were badly needed
after a storm with severe wind
and rain did so much damage
to the roof and leaked that the
Steinway piano on the third floor
had to be sent away for renovations 1888 Steam pipes in the basement used for heating snapped and often burst in cold weather reportedly drowning out all lectures and conversations. 1880 Water supplied in lead tanks and a water shortage occurred forcing the University to dig wells to supply water for the campus and steam pipes. 1882 A new brick walkway is introduced in place of the old and worn down wooden boards 1885 Corrugated wooden ceilings are added to the building to offset damages from leaky cisterns and crumbling, water damaged plaster. 1880 The bell in the Clock Tower, which marked curfew times for the students and faculty, cracked and fell apart. It was replaced and placed back into the belfry. 1883 Lightning Rods were placed throughout the buildings roof as a precaution against fires, fire hoses were added, and the doors of Old Main were re-hinged to open outwards. 1900-1910 1890s 1880s 1870s To Begin the Prezi, please use the arrows at the bottom of the screen.
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