Old Main has actually been a significant landmark for the Penn State College Park campus for many years. On cold winter nights, you can discover students catching snowflakes on its lawn, and in the spring an excellent game of Frisbee. It also is among the many photographed locations in University Park, second just to the Lion Shrine. The path Old Main took with its 150 year history was riddled with obstacles, fires, and rebuilds, however the structure still holds the exact same symbol of Penn State pride.

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1855: Upon receiving its charter, Penn State (Farmers High School of Pennsylvania) chose Hugh McAllister to architecture a “Key Building,” which he did after Princeton University’s famed Nassau Hall and was collection to encompass student residences, lecture halls, office room, a chapel, a library, and rudimentary scientific research libraries.

The extremely initially Old Main in 1859. Photograph courtesy of the Penn State Alumni Library.

1857: Construction started 2 years before the initially classes started, however the short financial crisis in the time of this time prevented the new college from collecting money from pledges making it impossible to end up building in time.

1859: 69 students relocated in and also arrived for classes once just the west wing of the structure was finiburned.

1861: Penn State President Evan Pugh, convinced the Pennsylvania state legislature to allot the $50,000 necessary to end up the “Key Building,” allowing construction to resume.

1863: The “Main Building” was totally opened however was still incredibly primitive even by today’s requirements. It contained oil lamps for candle light, water fetched from wells, and coal-fire heaters in the basement.

1887: The building was remodeled and also included electrical lights and central steam warmth.

1892: After a fire razed part of the building, Penn State hired J. Robert Cole, an architect and also builder to reversion the upper area of the structure. The redesign contained a new Gothic-style roof and clock tower, although a bit of mystery surrounds the story of the bell. Documents show that the bell was ordered from the West Troy (New York) Foundry, yet if you visit the existing one on campus today, the bell you will certainly see was cast by the Boston foundry of the William Blake and Company type of. What occurred to the West Troy bell is still lost in background.

1904: The course gift of 1904 was a brand-new bell for the “Key Building.” During this time, students and also faculty started calling the “Main Building” “Old Main” because it was literally falling acomponent.

1928: Old Key had actually so many type of problems that only the president’s and governmental workplaces were housed in it, and students no much longer resided tright here. It ultimately had to be completely torn down and rebuilt.

1930: Old Main was reopened after Charles Z. Klauder remodeled it. Some of the original stone and also embodiment of the building was maintained, including the bell. The brand-new addition integrated eight limerock pillars encountering College Avenue, symmetrical walk means, and 30 elm trees.

1940-1949: Old Key ended up being house to Henry Varnum Poor’s land-approve frescoes, which depict Penn State’s founding and also early on advance through murals.

Henry Varnum Poor’s land-approve frescoes portraying Penn State’s beginning and early on breakthrough with murals in Old Main.

1955: Old Key quickly ended up being a huge component of students’ life and no longer offered as simply an bureaucratic building. It consisted of a dispensary, rehearsal room for theatre students, student lounge, sandwich shop, ticket sale booth for reflects and also athletic occasions, and also even housed the Collegian for a while.

1969-1970: Old Key quickly became a place of protest considering that it strictly hooffered administrators by this time. Students came to protest the war, racism, and also social injustice among other points.

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Today: Old Main remains an governmental structure, but is still related to as one of the many renowned structures that embodies the extremely heart and also spirit of Penn State. From its humble starts of serving as a building for all College operations with its assorted renovations and functions, Old Key stands as a reminder of Penn State’s background and also traditions. It symbolizes the roots, tradition, hard job-related, and also undying pride of the institution.