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For our final From the Archives photo this semester, we look way, way back to the Archives’ oldest photo of campus.  Where is this?  Can you identify any of the buildings?  When would this have been taken? Share your ideas in the comments and check back on Friday to learn the details about this photo.



This early view of Purdue was captured in 1876, only two years after Purdue first offered classes.

The buildings are, from left to right:

  • Ladies Hall, which served as a residence for faculty members and their families before becoming the home of art classes and residence for female students
  • Building Number 2, later known as the Pharmacy Building, which was the first classroom building on campus
  • The Gas and Boiler House, which kept campus running
  • A barn
  • Men’s Dormitory, which was later turned into a classroom building known as Purdue Hall
  • Military Hall and Gymnasium

Just visible in the middle of the picture is the construction site that would become University Hall, which opened the following year.  University Hall became the oldest building still standing on campus when Purdue Hall was demolished in 1960.

Many photos of campus were taken from this exact angle over the years, but this is the only one that does not yet have University Hall in the center.

Purdue in 1891

Purdue in 1891

Purdue in 2005

Purdue in 2005

Thank you to everyone who has joined us for this series of mystery photos.  We will have many more exciting highlights from the Archives to share during Purdue’s sesquicentennial celebrations beginning this fall!

9 Responses to “From the Archives: At the Beginning”

  1. Eleanor

    In the far background – Purdue Hall and power plant

  2. Nina Haghighi

    The taller building on the right is probably University Hall. The smokestack is from the older Purdue power building (which has been replaced with the Bell Tower). I think the picture was taken in the 1870s.

  3. Sally Carter

    The building to the extreme left of Ladies Hall, the first building constructed north of State Street, in 1874; razed 1925.

    Wouldn’t know, if I hadn’t attended Angie Klink’s lecture at Duncan Hall, a couple of weeks ago.

  4. Tim

    Just to the left (but closer) than the stack appears to be the Vet Pathology building. No sure of the timeframe but the stack could be the incinerator attached to the Post Mortem building, now located at ADDL.

  5. Tim

    Actually, if that is the incinerator stack, it’s not further away than Vet Path. Bit of an illusion perhaps.

  6. Adam

    Ladies Hall, Building #2 (Pharmacy), Boiler and Gas House, Workshop, Purdue Hall, Military Hall. Photo is circa 1874 and was taken from across State Street (near Pfendler and Ag Ad) facing northwest.

  7. Greg Simmons

    Far left is Ladies Hall. Far right is Military Hall (I think?), and to the left of Military Hall, the Mens’ Dormitory (Purdue Hall). Photo is probably from 1874-75, because it looks like ground has been broken on University Hall in the middle.

  8. Randy Bond

    This is a view of the Memorial Mall from the direction of St. Tom’s. The building on the far right is where the Recitation Bldg is now. The far left is the site of Stone Hall now. Since Univ. Hall is not there, this photo predates it. I think that makes it pre-1879.

  9. Ray Wilson

    University Hall on the main campus! Sometime around 1869!

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