Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute History

Posted by John Dojka on December 3, 2013
Following the Great Troy Fire of 1862, which completely destroyed Rensselaer’s physical plant, all of the Institute’s new buildings moved steadily east up the hill overlooking the city and Hudson River.
Posted by Jenifer Monger on November 5, 2013
Today is the 189th birthday of Rensselaer and weR: The Spirit of Rensselaer Society had a fabulous idea - to serve cake in front of the Troy Building!
Posted by Jenifer Monger on April 5, 2013
On April 3, Rensselaer lost a true patriot of the Institute, Carl Westerdahl.  Carl’s passing hits close to home to many in the RPI community due to his enduring relationships with students, alumni, staff, and especially those of us in the Institute Archives and Special Collections department
Posted by John Dojka on January 23, 2013
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.
Posted by John Dojka on November 8, 2012
Following the completion of the Main Building in 1864 planning was initiated for a chemical laboratory for the Institute. Construction was started in 1865 and work on the brick structure was completed the following year.
Posted by Jenifer Monger on August 28, 2012
With the new academic year approaching I decided to stage an exhibition of signs, seals, & symbols designed and used by the Institute’s offices and students throughout its history. The main point emphasized is that Rensselaer reaches its community through numerous visual methods.
Posted by Jenifer Monger on July 10, 2012
We have a visually unique collection of 40 fraternity party posters from the mid-1960’s, representing twenty two different RPI fraternities.
Posted by John Dojka on June 8, 2012
Rendering of the proposed gymnasium as it appeared in the 1912 Transit. As we noted in our Commencement 1912 post, the ’87 Gymnasium was dedicated in June 1912.
Posted by John Dojka on December 8, 2011
The Rensselaer Pup has some wonderful examples of graphic design and student art from the first half of the 20th century.  As a student-generated humor magazine it possesses some questionable content as well as beautiful covers.  Often the images from the covers play toward other popular magazines or comics of the time.  A few covers sport photographs, but the majority
Posted by John Dojka on September 3, 2008
When did the first students from China come to RPI?  This question was asked during our open house event recently.  A quick answer was readily available in an alumni directory, but my curiosity was piqued and I decided to dig a little deeper to find out who these students were.  Two students from Guangzhou (once referred to as Canton) arrived at RPI in the fall of 1878 and roomed together at a boarding house on Second St.  The students names are listed as Kwok S.
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