Campus Construction: Then and Now

The spring semester has officially begun, and as you have undoubtedly noticed, construction at the front end of campus continues on. One of the functions of University Archives is to document changes to our campus through the years. Our holdings contain historic photos that cover over a century of transformation to the buildings on campus, including many of their construction.

The three photographs below show the view of the front of campus from Brookings Hall. The first of these photos is from the 1904 World’s Fair for which Brookings Hall served as the administration complex, while the second two are from July 24 and October 5, 2017.

Photo taken through the Brookings Hall arch during the World’s Fair, 1904. Photo from Washington University Photographic Services Collection.


Photo taken through the Brookings Hall arch, July 6, 2017. Photo by James Gardner, Art and Architecture Library Associate.

Photo taken from the top of the steps of Brookings Hall, October 5, 2017. Photo by James Gardner, Art and Architecture Library Associate.


As you can see, the landscape has changed quite a bit in over a century. Forest Park, which appears on the other side of Skinker Boulevard in the first two pictures, is much more of a forest now than it was at the time of the World’s Fair, with matured trees blocking the view of the park from Brookings.

When construction is completed, the new Ann and Andrew Tisch Park will increase the number of trees and the amount of green space at the front of campus. The project will also provide increased underground parking, three brand new academic buildings, and an extension of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

If you would like to see more historic photos of campus, check out our previous blog posts on the East End transformation and library renovations. You are also welcome to stop by Special Collections Monday – Friday,  from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and explore these images for yourself. We will also have more of these “Then and Now” posts here on our blog as construction continues, so stay tuned!

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.