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Many buildings have been part of Purdue’s campus landscape over the years.  Some became institutional landmarks while others were here only briefly, built to serve a specific purpose for a limited period of time.  Can you identify the structures in this photograph, their purpose, and where they were located?  Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the whole story!


Purdue was a military training location during World War I and men from across the country traveled to West Lafayette before shipping out to other parts of the world.  To accommodate the influx of so many new people on campus, many of whom stayed for just a few weeks before being replaced by the next group of recruits, the university constructed temporary military barracks on the north side of campus in what had been farmland.  This photograph looks south toward the barracks that sat on the site of the current Mechanical Engineering Building with the tower of Heavilon Hall visible in the background.  They were demolished shortly after World War I ended in 1918.

Interior scene of Company 5 Barracks photographed in Fall 1918.

Please join us again for our final From the Archives photo of the year on Monday, December 4.

11 Responses to “From the Archives: A Temporary View”

  1. Blaire Westall

    World War I barracks in front of old Heavilon Hall?

  2. Lauren Lee

    I believe this picture shows temporary housing or labs for Purdue researchers? Possibly agronomy, given the fields. Location, close to Heavilon Hall…. given the distinct shape of it’s tower is a giveaway.
    As a Purdue grad, with a BA is history, and a former public library coordinator, I really enjoy the blog! Keep up the great work.

  3. Brittany

    Looks like military barracks

  4. Ryan

    I would say these are barracks for ROTC cadets around the time of WWI located somwhere behind Heavilon Hall.

  5. alazar

    it s look bead room and café and a research field . I feel good about it . .

  6. Ally Goodrich

    My guess – temporary housing for military/ROTC, etc. during WWI.

  7. Jim Russell

    Military training barracks during World War I on the site where the Purdue Memorial Union would later rise.

  8. Michele Bassett

    I agree that it looks like temporary military or ROTC barracks, probably during WWI. It appears the photo was taken looking south toward Heavilon Hall, so the field in the foreground is the current location of Potter or Wilmeth.

  9. Mont Handley

    Those are the Camp Purdue training barracks, built on campus for the Student Army Training Corps of WWI. Purdue had a contract with the U.S. Army to train about 4500 soldiers to be mechanics and radio operators. The camp was located north of Heavilon Hall about where Purdue Polytechnic is located and the fallow field in the picture is now likely the site of the Mechanical Engineering building or part of the Purdue (Engineering) Mall.

  10. mark hickman

    Military barracks

  11. Terry D West

    I believe Mont is correct about the WWI barracks. It seems to me they were located on the south side of Stadium Avenue about where the Neil Armstrong statue is now. They were last used for housing Arts and demolished in the late 1970s.

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