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From the Archives: A Beginning

August 27th, 2017


The From the Archives photo series returns with the start of the new school year. On alternating Mondays throughout the academic year, we will feature a photo from Purdue Libraries Archives and Special Collections in conjunction with Purdue Today and give readers a chance to answer what’s taking place in the image. The full story behind the photo will be revealed on the following Friday.

To kick off a new year, we look at a beginning.  Can you identify this Purdue location and tell us what – aside from crowds of students – is missing from the finished space?  Share your theories in the comments and we’ll reveal the full story on Friday!


In 1954, construction began on Purdue’s Memorial Center, a new campus building that would incorporate the existing University Library, a newly reconstructed Fowler Hall, and new classroom and activity space.  Construction finished in 1958 and crowds filled the new space for its dedication ceremony.

When Memorial Center first opened it was missing its most striking feature, “The Spirit of the Land Grant College” mural above what is now the entrance to the Humanities, Social Science, and Education Library.  The mural was completed and dedicated on October 4, 1961.

In 1972, the building was renamed in honor of University Treasurer R.B. Stewart, becoming the Stewart Center we know today.

Congratulations to everyone who commented and recognized this building!  Please join us again on Monday, September 11, and on alternating Mondays throughout the semester as we present mystery photos From the Archives.

28 Responses to “From the Archives: A Beginning”

  1. Renee Thomas

    Stewart Center, missing the Land Grant mural.

  2. Wendy Madore

    The Spirit Mural is missing.

  3. Dann VanHoosier

    The picture is of the west entrance lobby of Stewart Center. What is missing is the mural on the east wall of the lobby.

  4. David Bunte

    That is the West Lobby of Stewart Center… looking South. What is missing is the Mural on the East wall.

  5. Logan Jordan

    Stewart Center lobby and the mural is missing.

  6. Carlene Quirk

    The mural is missing in the west entrance of Stewart center.

  7. Sean McLane

    This is the west lobby of Stewart Center. What’s missing is the large mural on the wall above the entrances to the HSSE library. The doors to that library also appear to be missing. In addition, the lettering over the box office is not present on the left side of the image.

  8. Ethan Chitty

    Stewart Center lobby outside of HSSE. The muraling is not yet complete.

  9. Lisa B.

    stewart center, circa?

  10. Sally Carter

    Wow! STEW, looking towards Loeb, before HSSE/HSSE entrance.

  11. Nina Haghighi

    This is the main entrance to the Stewart Center, and it’s missing the “Spirit of the Land Grant College” mural.

    Also, HSSE library isn’t there.

  12. Brenda Sheets

    Stewart Center west entryway/ The ticket windows.

  13. Susan Kirts

    Stewart Center West Entrance into Loeb Playhouse and HSSE Library.

    The beautiful mural is missing form above the door to the library.

  14. David Kish

    Stewart Center, west entrance. The mural is missing, and the sprinklers haven’t been installed yet.

  15. Carol Houston

    The mural is missing from the wall.

  16. Sean McLane

    Ah, one thing I missed. Judging from the edges of this picture showing that it is shot through a round hole in the wall, I’m going to guess that the hands of the south clock are missing as well. 🙂

  17. Debbie Rishel

    This is Stewart Center by HSSE Library.

  18. Andy Robison

    Originally called Memorial Union Annex, then Memorial Center,and later renamed Stewart Center. Others have pointed out this photo is pre-mural; it is also missing the portrait of R.B. Stewart, a 1958 gift to Purdue by Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Lynn.

  19. James Britton

    The unrepaired, peeling paint on the ceiling that has been there for years is missing. STEW needs some more love.

  20. Jessica

    I can think of a few things that are there now that aren’t shown in the picture, but I’m guessing the mural is what we’re going for…

  21. DeEtte Starr

    It’s the west entrance to Stewart Center, before the mural was installed.

  22. Juliet Nguyen

    Stewart Center, West Foyer. The Land Grant Mural

  23. Ryan B

    Purdue Memorial Union – Elliot Hall Annex – Later named Stewart Center after R.B Stewart a long time Purdue University Treasurer. This picture is the West Foyer facing North towards what is now Loeb Hall. The doors to what would eventually become the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education Library are on the right side of the image. The photo must have been taken somewhere between 1958 when the building was built and 1961 when the “Spirit of a Land Grant College” mural was painted by Eugene Francis Savage. It dedicated on Oct. 2nd 1961.

  24. Trudi Horner

    The unique Mural…where so many students ‘meet’.

  25. Ally Goodrich

    It’s Stewart Center west entrance … and the mural is missing.

  26. Jon Laswell

    Missing a large mural on the right side wall (east)

  27. Alan Holtman

    The west entrance to STEW and the mural is missing.

  28. Bob Miindrum

    This is the west lobby of Stewart Center, facing north. Among the items missing is the “Spirit of the Land Grant College” mural painted by Eugene Francis Savage in 1961, the portrait of R.B. Stewart, the plaque commemorating the naming of Stewart Center for Robert B. Stewart and Lillian V. Stewart by the Trustees on 3/1/61, including the acknowledgement of the gift by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bruce Stewart and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Scholer, various pieces of signage for the Box Office, HSSE Library and Loeb Playhouse, and of course, the ubiquitous student organization tables along the east wall.

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