100 years ago

There are several centennials to mark this year at RPI so I’ve been doing a lot of research in the period 1907 to 1909. I just installed a new exhibit in the Folsom Library titled Russell Sage Laboratory 100 Years: A Glance Back at the Beginning. One hundred years ago this month, ground was broken for the construction of Russell Sage Laboratory. Funding for the new building was made possible through a $1 million gift from Margaret Olivia Sage. The gift was used for building costs and an endowment for building maintenance and faculty salaries. Sage Lab was designed to house the mechanical engineering and electrical engineering departments which were established at RPI in 1907. So, this is the one hundredth academic year for those departments.

There were a lot of changes to the Rensselaer campus during the 1907-1908 academic year. A new Student Clubhouse was finished that year. This club house was designed to be the center of student extracurricular activity and was located at the west end of the 86 Field. A new power plant was under construction to supply more power to an expanding campus. The Institute also acquired more property which doubled the size of the existing campus. Ten acres from St. Joseph’s Seminary, along with several other small parcels of land from other neighbors, were purchased to extend the campus from 8th Street to 15th Street. Avenue B (now known as Sage Avenue) was constructed to allow passage from one end to the other. Notice that the southern boundary ran just past the football field and the Carnegie Hall roadway. 1909 Campus Map

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