Campus Construction: Then and Now

From the time the construction company Cope and Stewardson laid the cornerstone of the first buildings of the Danforth campus over a century ago to now, Washington University in St. Louis has undergone dozens of large construction projects to increase the size and scope of the University. The current East End Transformation is the largest capital project in recent University history and will eight major components — three new academic buildings, an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, two new multi-use facilities, an underground parking garage, and the expansive new Ann and Andrew Tisch Park. For more information on this project, see the Campus Next website.

University Archives has taken care to document many of the construction projects on campus over the last century, including the original construction of Brookings Hall. Below is a photo of this early construction from 1900, paired with a photo of the current construction near Brookings from the beginning of the school year. The cranes pictured in these photos document not only the change in our campus, but also the change in building tools and technology.

Then: Construction of Brookings Hall, 1900. Photo from Washington University Photographic Services Collection.

Now: View of Brookings and East End Construction from Inside Givens Hall September 11, 2017. Photo by James Gardner, Art and Architecture Library Associate.

If you would like to see more historic photos of campus, you’re welcome to stop by Special Collections Monday – Friday,  from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and explore these images for yourself. You can also check out the “Transformative Visions: Washington University’s East End, Then and Now” on display in the Garen Gallery at the Kemper Art Museum through May 21, 2018.

About the author

Rose is a PhD candidate in English and American Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. When she is not working on her dissertation on post-1945 asylum novels or blogging about the amazing materials in Special Collections, she fills much of her time reading, writing, gardening, and wrestling.