From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Archival resources (page 1 of 14)

Campus Views: A tour of buildings long gone

Let’s take a look back at some of the buildings on campus that now exist only in pictures.

Located just off High Street was the Armory. It was completed in 1898 and used primarily for classes in military science and men’s and women’s physical education. Though it was never officially named, it came to be known colloquially as the Armory through the combination of its imposing, medieval façade and its use for military science. After a massive fire in May of 1958, it was slated to be demolished, a project which was completed the next year. Wexner Center for the Arts now stands in this location and preserves the feeling of its predecessor in its brick towers.

Armory, 1921

Lord Hall was built in 1906 and would, over the course of its existence, house the Department of Mines, the Department of Ceramics, and the Engineering Experiment Station. It was named for Nathanial Wright Lord, the first Dean of the College of Engineering, in 1912. While it stood, it was notable for the odd angle at which it was built, meant to face a road which never ended up being constructed. In 2009, it was deconstructed—a process which involved carefully taking a building apart piece by piece with the intent to recycle as much as possible—to be replaced with more parking spaces.

Lord Hall, 1958

In 1931, OSU completed construction on a new physical education building. In 1976, it was renamed Larkins Hall after Richard Larkins, director of athletics. Its natatorium would provide swimming facilities for male students who were unable to utilize the existing natatorium in Pomerene Hall which was only for women. Larkins Hall also housed the department of intramurals, six basketball courts, and several different physical education courses. By 2005, the building was out of date and was ultimately demolished to make was for the RPAC.

Larkins Hall, 1934

Larkins Hall Natatorium, 1932

Boyd Laboratory was originally built in 1933 by the State Highway Department as an addition to the Engineering Experiment Station. During its time with the state, it housed a testing lab as well as various offices for Division Six of the highway department. In 1961, OSU took possession of the building and renamed it James Ellsworth Boyd Laboratory after a former engineering professor who attended OSU and then taught for almost fifty years. Boyd was also the first chairman of the department of mechanical engineering, a position he held from its establishment in 1906 until his retirement in 1938. Boyd Lab was demolished in 2011 to make way for CBEC, the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building.

Boyd Lab, 1965

In 1896 on a hill overlooking what would become Mirror Lake, Ohio State’s first astronomical observatory was built. Named McMillin Observatory after the New York banker who provided the funds, it was known as the time of its construction as one of the finest observatories in the state.

Along with being a state-of-the-art facility, McMillin Observatory is also likely the reason that Mirror Lake exists in its current form. As a stipulation of his donation to its construction, Emerson McMillin also provided funds to beautify the area around his proposed observatory, providing a reason to keep this natural space. The university had been considering laying a road through Mirror Lake, which was nothing more than a collection of interconnected bogs fed by an underground stream.

Equipped with a large refracting telescope and a planetarium, McMillin Observatory served as the main location for research work and classes in astronomy from the time of its construction through the 1950s. At this point, Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio, replaced it. Despite this formal replacement, it continued to house classes through 1962, when it was declared unsafe to operate. After this, the observatory was closed in 1968 with the construction of Smith Lab and eventually razed in 1976.

McMillin Observatory, undated

McMillin Observatory telescope, 1897

Brown Hall was designed by Joseph N. Bradford and built in 1903 to be an example of neoclassical architecture. Over the course of its existence, it housed many different schools including the Knowlton School of Architecture. It formerly stood in the space just west of the 18th Avenue Library, and was deconstructed in 2009 along with Lord Hall in order to provide more green space to students.

Brown Hall, 1938

Hale Hall, which is still standing and in use today, served as the first Ohio Union, but after the enrollment spike following the end of World War II, it was deemed insufficient to support the new student body. Thus, the new Ohio Union was constructed in 1951. This union sat in the same place as our current union and included, among other things, bowling alleys, several ballrooms, a dining room that overlooked Mirror Lake, and a cafeteria. In 2007, the Union had once again become outdated and too small, so it was razed to make way for the new Student Union which still stands today.

Ohio Union, 1950

Ohio Union bowling alley, c. 1970s

Over on West Campus, there used to stand a building known as Vivian Hall. It was built in 1951 and named in 1958 for Alfred Vivian, a former Dean of the College of Agriculture, who serves from 1915 until his retirement in 1932. Vivian Hall was used primarily as the Agriculture Laboratories building from its construction until its demolition in 2011.

Vivian Hall, 1959

The Rickly House is a bit strange among OSU buildings as it sat on what would become campus before the university existed. It was originally constructed by Joseph Strickler in 1856 as a family home and was sold to a businessman by the name of J. J. Rickly in 1866. Then in 1871, it was purchased by the Ohio State Board of Trustees. From 1871 to 1926, the Rickly House served as the presidential residence, housing presidents from Edward Orton to William Oxley Thompson.

Eventually, it was decided that the Rickly House, located on High Street where the Mershon Auditorium currently stands was in too busy a place for the presidential residence. After this decision, the new presidential residence—now the Kuhn Honors and Scholars House—was constructed on 12th Avenue. The Rickly House then became classrooms for the Department of Music. In 1949 after the construction of the new music building, Hughes Hall, the Rickly House was torn down.

Rickly House, 1892

Today, all Buckeyes know the ‘Shoe, but the original home of OSU Football was much different. In 1898, the Ohio Field was constructed where the Arps parking garage now stands and was originally intended to hold only 500 people. Over the next twenty-five years, the field would be expanded several times to a final capacity of around 14,000 seats.

This expansion, however, was still far too small to accommodate the rapidly growing football program. At the 1919 Western Conference championship, the stadium saw 20,000 people in the bleachers and along the field’s perimeter, an estimated 40,000 more standing farther out from the field, and an undetermined number paying nearby homeowners for permission to set up camp on their roofs to watch the game. The Ohio Field was razed in 1923 after the construction of the stadium, which saw 71,385 attendees at its inaugural game, a far cry from the 14,000 seats of its predecessor.

Ohio Field, 1916

For more information about these buildings and others that still stand on OSU’s campus, check out Buckeye Stroll [hyperlink: ] and the John H. Herrick Archives [hyperlink: ].

Written by Hannah Nelson.

Scrapbook provides insights to early student life

Esther McGinnis Scrapbook, 1915

Today, college scrapbooks simply contain photos of one participating in various university events, friends hanging around on the weekends, and maybe a graduation cap tassel or diploma at the very end. However, the almost 200 page scrapbook that Esther McGinnis made to commemorate her time at the Ohio State University may not contain any photos of herself, but tells us much more.

Makio 1915

McGinnis started at Ohio State in the fall of 1911 as a Home Economics major and was actively involved throughout the Ohio State community during her undergraduate career. The journey through her scrapbook begins with the various organizations that she participated in during her four years. The Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) appears to have been a major organization during McGinnis’ collegiate years.

YWCA Membership Card

Her membership card stating her affiliation and fee of one dollar to join is one of the first items glued into the book with a news article about her appointment as treasurer. She also belonged to the Philomathean Literary Society, one of the oldest existing literary societies among universities. Her scrapbook contains her invitation to join and several invitations to attend events held by the group. Additionally, as a member of the Women’s Glee Club she cut out Lantern news articles about her acceptance and their concerts that followed.

Athletic Tags, c. 1911

During McGinnis’ time at Ohio State she also participated in quite a few organizations pertaining to her major, home economics. She was a member of the Home Economics Club, inducted into Phi Upsilon Lambda – a national home economics honorary, andworked as a student assistant in the Home Economics department.

Dance card, 1912

While this scrapbook is significantly dated, it is similar to today’s scrapbooks by what it contains next. The first half of the book reads like a yearbook mainly because it involves her inclusion in school activities, while the second half of the book is more about the various events she participated in outside of her organizations. One such activity is a Co-Ed prom she attended with Dorothy Griggs in 1913 at The Armory. Inside the scrapbook McGinnis attached a dance card, which lists the dances followed by the name of whomever she danced with. In addition, there are tags that were used for various athletic events around campus with captions underneath them such as, “Girls Basket Ball Tournament.”

Valentine c. 1911

Continuing to flip through the pages will allow one to see all the parties, luncheons, plays, and concerts that McGinnis attended by means of invitations, playbills, tickets, and programs glued inside. One page we found to be interesting within the scrapbook was a cut-out heart valentine that reads “’E’ is for Esther, Please don’t molest her.” While we may not know the context behind it, this clever rhyme allows us to think about a different time in history and what the valentine could have meant to her at the time. Whether it is an inside joke among friends or a gift she received, we may never know but this is what makes the scrapbook intriguing and an asset to our collection at the archives.

The rest of McGinnis’ scrapbook is filled of news clippings about what was going on around campus. While some of these articles acknowledged her induction into an organization or her tryouts for the Glee Club, most of them were just current events or updates on individuals’ lives. Many were about new faculty and staff, engagement and event announcements, event recaps, and the occasional news clipping about Dr. Thompson; such as the Christmas greeting that he wrote in 1914.

Alumni Magazine, 1951

This scrapbook contains the memories and moments that Esther McGinnis wanted to remember beyond her days at Ohio State. In doing so, Esther provided the archives with an inside story of what the life of an Ohio State student was like at the beginning of the 20th century. It highlights the events that took place, what students valued and found to be of importance, and gives us the chance to learn about Ohio State from a new, fascinating perspective.

As for Esther McGinnis, she continued on to receive her master’s in nutrition at Columbia University and her Ph.D in child development at University of Minnesota, but eventually returned to the Ohio State University. In 1951, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was granted upon her at the Ohio State University and the following year she became a professor in the Home Economics department at Ohio State. She was the member of several honorary societies within her discipline and the author of many books as well. Her scrapbook will remain in the University’s collection to allow our patrons to enjoy it as much as we have!

A bounty of Buckeye-themed goodies, thanks to Trademark and Licensing

It’s likely many of you have never have heard of one of OSU’s most influential offices, but boy, have you sure seen its imprint.

Trademark and Licensing has been around for more than 30 years, “protecting the University’s name and identifying marks,” according to its web site.  It all started in 1982, with a proposal of a program to ensure OSU received a royalty from each sale of OSU-themed merchandise. The program also would regulate which products were allowed to use Ohio State’s trademark, to make sure the University’s image remained unsullied. (By the way, the Libraries receives a percentage of each royalty, so we are particularly grateful for this program.)

Now, vendors who want to use OSU’s  name or logo on their merchandise must undergo a rigorous application process with the Trademark and Licensing Office to get approval.  While the office is strict about its standards, it does approve a wide variety of items to be sold.  We thought we’d take you down memory lane to show what kind of items once adorned the shelves of various retail outlets around town back in the ’80s. The material in these photos is from a collection transferred to the Archives in 1989 by the office.

Our models in the photos were Brandon Abbott, Britain Wetzel and Jimmy Zimmerman. Brandon, a Math major who was a summer-only Archives student assistant, returned to classes last week. Britain and Jimmy graduated last spring, and this fall, Jimmy is starting his second year of courses at OSU’s School of Dentistry. Meanwhile, Britain is beginning her first year of coursework at Kent State University’s College of Podiatric Medicine. Thanks and good luck to all three!

So let’s get to the photos!


[metaslider id=5122]

Older posts