The Main Building

On May 20, 1862, 10 days after Rensselaer’s physical plant was completely destroyed in The Great Troy Fire, the Institute’s trustees began planning a new home for Rensselaer.  Under the leadership of John Flack Winslow, the trustees quickly accepted a building site on 8th Street at the head of Broadway (the present-day location of the Approach), which was donated by former student and trustee Joseph M. Warren.  The trustees then initiated a campaign to raise a $50,000 building fund. (Click “Play” for the slideshow below)

Front view of Main building.

Front view of Main building.

Main building completed in 1864.

Main building completed in 1864.

Descriptive Geometry class in Main building.

Descriptive Geometry class in Main building.

Classroom of students in the Main building.

Classroom of students in the Main building.

Class of students in the Main building.

Class of students in the Main building.

Classroom of students in the Main building.

Classroom of students in the Main building.

Physics class in the Main building.

Physics class in the Main building.

Classroom with geological specimens in the Main building.

Classroom with geological specimens in the Main building.

Classroom, Main Building.

Classroom, Main Building.

Classroom with geological and natural specimens in the Main building.

Classroom with geological and natural specimens in the Main building.

Library, inside the Main building.

Library, inside the Main building.

Assembly Hall, Main Building

Assembly Hall, Main Building

Main building, view from 8th Street.

Main building, view from 8th Street.

On John Winslow’s recommendation, plans for a new building were approved in August 1862.  This was to be the first building specifically designed and built for the needs of the Institute. Construction began in the fall of 1862 and work was completed in 1864. The approximate cost was $44,000.

The structure measured 115 x 50 feet and had a five story central section flanked by two wings four stories high. Facilities included lecture and recitation rooms, drawing rooms, an assembly hall, a physics laboratory, and a library.  Geological and natural history collections were housed in a large hall on the top floor.

The Main Building, as it came to be called, was destroyed by fire on June 9, 1904. For details see Burning of the Institute, The Polytechnic June 22 1904.

Share
This entry was posted in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute History, Troy NY and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Main Building

  1. Ellen Katzman says:

    Thanks so much for bringing to light this valuable piece of Institute history. I’ve seen a number of articles on the fire, but I don’t remember seeing a first-hand account. I love this series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

(Spamcheck Enabled)