Continuing up the Hill: Ranken House

Following the construction of the Main Building and Winslow Laboratory, Rensselaer’s trustees began planning for a third instructional facility—an astronomical observatory. In order to erect the observatory more land was needed and in 1877 the Ranken property, situated on the east side of Eighth Street across from the Winslow building was purchased. The property had a 150 foot frontage on Eighth Street and extended about 500 feet to the top of the hill. The purchase included a house and stable. The Ranken House was about 40 feet square by two stories high and built of brick. The building was used by the Department of Mechanics for recitation rooms and eventually to house the Institute’s first materials testing equipment. Both the house and stable were razed in 1910 when the Pittsburgh Building was erected. Click on the image below to begin the slideshow!

Ranken House

Ranken House

The Ranken House with West Hall in the background, circa 1875. The Pittsburgh Building is situated in this spot today.

Mechanics Room, Ranken House

Mechanics Room, Ranken House

Interior view of Mechanics room in the Ranken House.

Ranken House

Ranken House

Looking up at the Ranken House. The stairway up the hill follows a similar path to the current stairway which runs from 8th Street to the Pittsburgh Building today.

8th Street & Ranken House

8th Street & Ranken House

Woman walking along 8th Street with the Ranken House situated behind her through the trees, in the background. This is now the home of the Pittsburgh Building.

8th Street & Ranken House

8th Street & Ranken House

Students sitting on stone wall along 8th Street with the Ranken House in the background on the left-hand side. To the right and up on the hill behind is the Troy University (not visible here), now the home of Folsom Library.

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3 Responses to Continuing up the Hill: Ranken House

  1. Ellen Katzman says:

    I absolutely love this series. These are photos I have never seen before.

  2. Adrienne Birchler says:

    I, too, love this series, John. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jeff Miner says:

    Archivists, this is a great series! Please let me know if you find information on Parkway Villa Estates in the 1930′s (adjacent to the Admissions Building).

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